SIKORSKY FINANCIAL CREDIT UNION, INC.
April 9, 2018
seeking to recover damages for, inter alia, breach of
contract, and for other relief, brought to the Superior Court
in the judicial district of Ansonia-Mil-ford, where the
defendant was defaulted for failure to appear; thereafter,
the court, Hon. John W. Moran, judge trial referee,
granted the plaintiff's motion for judgment and rendered
judgment for the plaintiff; subsequently, the court,
Markle, J., denied the plaintiff's motion for an
order of postjudgment interest, and the plaintiff appealed to
this court. Reversed; judgment directed.
William L. Marohn, for the appellant (plaintiff).
DiPentima, C. J., and Alvord and Flynn, Js.
plaintiff, Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc., appeals
from the judgment of the trial court denying its motion for
postmaturity postjudgment interest. On appeal, the plaintiff
claims that the trial court improperly denied the motion in
light of General Statutes § 37-1 and our Supreme Court's
decision in Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc. v.
Butts, 315 Conn. 433, 108 A.3d 228 (2015). We agree and,
accordingly, reverse the judgment of the trial
following facts and procedural history are relevant to this
appeal. The plaintiff is a credit union chartered under the
laws of this state with its principal place of business in
Stratford, Connecticut. On or about January 26, 2007, the
plaintiff and the defendant, Bernardino Pineda, entered into
a credit agreement for a personal loan, whereby the defendant
agreed to repay the loan in monthly installments.
Subsequently, the defendant defaulted on the agreement, and
the plaintiff brought an action for recovery in the Superior
Court, returnable to the judicial district of Ansonia-Milford
on Tuesday, September 14, 2010. Among the plaintiff's
prayers for relief was interest. After the defendant failed
to file an appearance, the plaintiff by a motion dated and
filed on September 20, 2010, sought a default for failure to
appear, which the clerk granted on October 5, 2010. On
November 17, 2010, the plaintiff filed a motion for judgment,
seeking a sum of $11, 923.78, inclusive of $2521.08 in
interest through the date of that motion. According to the
plaintiff's affidavit of debt, the principal remaining at
the time was $7851.22, accruing interest at the rate of 15.99
percent. After a hearing in damages, taken on the
papers, the court, Hon. John W. Moran, judge trial
referee, on November 19, 2010, entered the following
judgment: ‘‘[T]he defendant(s) owe the
plaintiff(s) the following: Amount due on claims: $7851.22;
interest: $2521.08; attorney fees: $1, 177.68; costs:
$373.80; total amount of judgment: $11, 923.78.'' As
part of the judgment, Judge Moran entered a nominal order of
weekly payments for $35. The plaintiff subsequently filed two
applications for financial institution execution respectively
dated February 11, 2015, and March 18, 2016. Neither
application noted that Judge Moran's judgment contained
an award of postjudgment interest and both were issued by the
clerk and returned partially satisfied by a state marshal in
the amount of $475.87 and $2085.02, respectively.
8, 2017, the plaintiff filed a third application for
financial institution execution, noting that postjudgment
interest was awarded upon entry of judgment by Judge Moran.
This application was rejected by the clerk on the ground that
postjudgment interest had not been awarded. Thereafter, the
plaintiff, on July 31, 2017, filed a motion for order of
postmaturity postjudgment interest, claiming that Judge Moran
had awarded such inter- est at the contractual rate of 15.99
percent and the clerk, therefore, improperly had rejected the
application for financial institution execution. In his
motion, the plaintiff also cited Sikorsky Financial
Credit Union, Inc. v. Butts, supra, 315 Conn. 433, for
the position that postmaturity interest continues to accrue
after judgment, at the rate of 15.99 percent, which was the
rate that the borrower had contracted to pay as long as any
loan balance was due. In considering the plaintiff's
motion, the trial court, Markle, J., made the
following findings: ‘‘[T]he judgment was entered
after a hearing in damages before the court (Moran,
J.) on [November 19] 2010. . . . In the six years and
eight months following the entry of said judgment the
plaintiff never filed a motion to open judgment pursuant to
[Practice Book §] 17-43. . . . The plaintiff never filed
an appeal of the judgment pursuant to [Practice Book §]
61-2. . . . The plaintiff did not supply in its motion any
evidence supporting contractual rights to postjudgment
interest such as loan documents. . . . The plaintiff did not
support its motion by submitting transcripts of the hearing
in damages supporting that there had been in fact a claim for
postjudgment interest (in fact there are many cases where
debt collectors waive that claim). . . . The complaint does
not mention a claim for postjudgment interest under the
statutory provisions. . . . [T]he court is not able to make
any findings that the plaintiff is entitled to the statutory
postjudgment interest under [General Statutes §] 37-1a
based on the record.'' The court then denied the
plaintiff's motion. On September 1, 2017, the plaintiff
filed a motion to reargue/reconsider, which also was denied
by the court. This appeal followed.
appeal, the plaintiff claims that the trial court erred in
concluding that postmaturity interest does not accrue after
judgment. Specifically, the plaintiff argues that the trial
court failed to recognize that pursuant to § 37-1, and
our Supreme Court's decision in Sikorsky Financial
Credit Union, Inc. v. Butts, supra, 315 Conn. 433,
postmaturity contractual interest continues to accrue after
entry of judgment.
support of this argument, the plaintiff relies on language
from the contract that provides, ‘‘[i]f immediate
payment is demanded, you will continue to pay interest until
what you owe has been repaid at the applicable interest rates
in effect, or if applicable, at the default rate disclosed on
the Addendum.'' The addendum in turn lists an
interest rate of 15.99 percent for loans payable over
twenty-four months, which rate also appears on a transaction
receipt supplied by the plaintiff and the affidavit of debt.
Throughout its brief, the plaintiff asserts that Judge Moran,
upon entry of judgment, on November 19, 2010, had granted
postmaturity interest. Consequently, in the plaintiff's
view, the trial court, in denying its motion for postjudgment
interest, improperly considered the sufficiency of the
record. Although the plaintiff frames its claim of error in
definitive terms, suggesting that postjudgment interest was
awarded upon entry of judgment by Judge Moran on November 19,
2010, the judgment itself contains no express mention of such
an award. We, nevertheless, agree with the plaintiff that the
November 19, 2010 judgment itself, § 37-1, and our
Supreme Court's decision in Sikorsky Financial Credit
Union, Inc., interpreting § 37-1, should have
guided the trial court.
begin by setting forth the standard of review and applicable
legal principles. ‘‘The interpretation and
application of a statute . . . involves a question of law
over which our review is plenary.'' (Internal
quotation marks omitted.) Meadowbrook Center, Inc. v.
Buch-man, 328 Conn. 586, 594, 181 A.3d 550 (2018).
Additionally, because the plaintiff's claim
‘‘involves the interpretation of definitive
contract language, our review is plenary.''
American First Federal, Inc., v. Gordon,
173 Conn.App. 573, 592, 164 A.3d 776, cert. denied, 327 Conn.
909, 170 A.3d 681 (2017).
Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc. v. Butts,
supra, 315 Conn. 438, our Supreme Court addressed, squarely,
the issue of whether contractual postmaturity interest
terminates upon entry of judgment. In resolving that inquiry,
the court noted that both §§ 37-1 and 37-3a relate
to interest, but that the former governs interest, usually by
agreement, as compensation for a loan (interest eo nomine),
while § 37-3a applies to interest as damages for the
detention of money. See id., 439-40. Specifically
with reference to § 37-1, the court noted that
subsection (a) of that provision sets a default rate of 8
percent, but allows the parties to contract for a different
rate. Id., 440. Subsection (b), on the other hand,
allows the parties to forgo postmaturity interest altogether.
Id., 441. The court explained, however, that
‘‘if the parties fail to specify whether interest
will accrue after maturity, or fail to specify the rate of
postmaturity interest, § 37-1 (b) mandates that interest
eo nomine shall continue to accrue after maturity at the
legal rate.'' Id. Accordingly,
‘‘an award of prejudgment and post-judgment
interest on a loan that carries postmaturity interest is not
discretionary; it is an integral part of enforcing the
parties' bargain. . . . The trial court must,
therefore, as part of any judgment enforcing a loan, allow
prejudgment and postjudgment interest at the agreed rate, or
the legal rate if no agreed rate is specified. The trial
court is relieved of this obligation only if the parties
disclaim any right to interest eo nomine after
maturity.'' (Citations omitted; emphasis added.)
recently, this court, in American First Federal, Inc. v.
Gordon, supra, 173 Conn.App. 592-93, applied and
reaffirmed the principle from Sikorsky Financial Credit
Union, Inc. In that case, the plaintiff argued on appeal
that the trial court erroneously awarded interest on the
unpaid principal rather than the total judgment amount.
Id., 592. This court affirmed the judgment of the
trial court, reiterating that, unless the parties disclaim
postmaturity interest, the trial court has no discretion to
apply it in terms other than those agreed by the parties.
Id., 593. Consequently, we held that the trial court
correctly awarded interest on the principal balance only, as
had been agreed by the parties. Id.; see also
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