May 15, 2018
damages for the diminished value of the plaintiff's motor
vehicle caused by the defendants' alleged negligence, and
for other relief, brought to the Superior Court in the
judicial district of Middlesex and tried to the court,
Domnarski, J.; judgment in favor of the plaintiff, from which
the plaintiff appealed to this court. Affirmed.
Matthew Julian Forrest, for the appellant (plaintiff).
Roderick R. Williams, for the appellees (defendants).
DiPentima, C. J., and Prescott and Eveleigh, Js.
DIPENTIMA, C. J.
plaintiff, David Muckle, appeals from the judgment of the
trial court denying his claim for prejudgment interest
against the defendants, Ronald Pressley and the city of New
Haven. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court
improperly concluded that General Statutes § 37-3b
permits only postjudg-ment interest in negligence actions. We
disagree with the plaintiff and, accordingly, affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
following facts and procedural history, as set forth in the
court's March 30, 2017 memorandum of decision, are
relevant to our discussion. On July 20, 2014, the
plaintiff's 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek vehicle was parked
on a street in New Haven. Pressley, an employee of the city
of New Haven, struck the plaintiff's vehicle while
operating a motor vehicle in the course of his employment.
The collision caused significant damage to the
plaintiff's vehicle, which was repaired at a cost of $15,
096.60. ‘‘According to the experts who testified
at trial, the [plaintiff's] vehicle had a value between
$20, 037 and $23, 500 prior to the accident. The experts also
testified that the value of the vehicle after repairs was
between $14, 500 and $21, 150.''
plaintiff sought damages for the diminished value of his
vehicle following the postcollision repair work. After
considering the evidence from the parties' experts, the
court credited the defendants' expert that the diminished
value of the plaintiff's vehicle was $2350, which amounts
to ‘‘a 10 percent reduction in the vehicle's
valuation because of the accident.'' The court
further found that the plaintiff had incurred damages for the
repair of the vehicle and for a rental car for which he had
not been reimbursed. The court awarded the plaintiff $1067.77
for these damages in addition to the $2350 for vehicle's
diminished value, for a total of $3, 417.77.
court did not award the plaintiff damages ‘‘for
the inconvenience of having to contend with submission of the
claim to his insurance company, obtaining a rental car, and
dealing with the auto body shop regarding the repair of his
vehicle.'' The court also rejected the
plaintiff's claim of interest from the date of the
accident, July 20, 2014, stating: ‘‘The
plaintiff's claims are grounded in the negligence of the
defendants. In negligence actions, interest is allowed only
after judgment. General Statutes § 37-3b.''
April 17, 2017, the plaintiff filed a motion for
reconsideration of the denial of prejudgment interest. In his
motion, the plaintiff alleged that he was entitled to $915.77
in prejudgment interest. In their objection, the defendants
argued, inter alia, that the cases relied on by the
plaintiff, Hammarlund v. Troiano, 146 Conn. 470, 152
A.2d 314 (1959), Stults v. Palmer, 141 Conn. 709,
109 A.2d 592 (1954), and Littlejohn v. Elionsky, 130
Conn. 541, 36 A.2d 52 (1944), predated the 1981 enactment of,
and 1997 amendment to § 37-3b. Accordingly, the
defendants claimed that these cases did not constitute good
law on the issue of prejudgment interest in negligence cases.
The court granted the plaintiff's motion, but denied the
relief requested. This appeal followed.
appeal, the plaintiff claims that in diminished value cases,
the court is required to include prejudgment interest in the
damages award. He contends that General Statutes §§
37-3a and 37-3b do not extinguish the common-law right to
prejudgment interest in this type of civil action. The
defendants counter that following the 1981 amendment to
§ 37-3a and the enactment of § 37-3b, only
postjudgment interest is available in negligence cases. We
agree that, under the present statutory framework, the court
properly denied the plaintiff's request for prejudgment
interest in the present case.
begin with our standard of review. ‘‘When
construing a statute, [o]ur fundamental objective is to
ascertain and give effect to the apparent intent of the
legislature. . . . In other words, we seek to determine, in a
reasoned manner, the meaning of the statutory language as
applied to the facts of [the] case, including the question of
whether the language actually does apply. . . . In seeking to
determine that meaning, General Statutes § 1-2z directs
us first to consider the text of the statute itself and its
relationship to other statutes. If, after examining such text
and considering such relationship, the meaning of such text
is plain and unambiguous and does not yield absurd or
unworkable results, extratextual evidence of the meaning of
the statute shall not be considered. . . . The test to
determine ambiguity is whether the statute, when read in
context, is susceptible to more than one reasonable
interpretation. . . . When a statute is not plain and
unambiguous, we also look for interpretive guidance to the
legislative history and circumstances surrounding its
enactment, to the legislative policy it was designed to
implement, and to its relationship to existing legislation
and common law principles governing the same general subject
matter . . . . In cases in which more than one [statutory
provision] is involved, we presume that the legislature
intended [those provisions] to be read together to create a
harmonious body of law . . . and we construe the
[provisions], if ...