MICHELLE DILIETO et al. v. COUNTY OBSTETRICS & GYNECOLOGY GROUP, P.C., et al., SC 18838

Judicial District of Waterbury

 

Whether the Trial Court Properly Denied the Plaintiff's Claim for Postjudgment Interest Under General Statutes 37-3b. In 2006, a money judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff in this medical malpractice action. The defendants appealed, and, in 2010, the judgment was reversed and the case remanded to the trial court with direction to reduce the award of offer of judgment interest. On remand, the plaintiff moved for an award of postjudgment interest under General Statutes 37-3b, which, at the time this action was commenced, provided that "interest at the rate of ten percent a year, and no more, may be recovered and allowed in [any negligence action], computed from the date of judgment." The plaintiff claimed that the length of time that it took to resolve the appeal was inequitable and that she should be compensated with interest for the four year period that she was without the use of the money due to her. The trial court denied the motion. In reaching its decision, the court relied on Carrano v. Yale-New Haven Hospital, 112 Conn. App. 767 (2009), which determined that the wrongful detention of the money due is an element of an award under 37-3b. The court also noted that General Statutes 37-3a, which applies to matters other than negligence actions, condemnation actions and offers of judgment, specifically refers to the "detention of money after it becomes payable" as a basis for the recovery of interest. The court pointed out that that phrase has been interpreted as requiring a wrongful detention of money, meaning a detention without the legal right to do so. Finding that the defendants' appeal from the judgment was bona fide and taken in good faith, the court ruled that the plaintiff was not entitled to an award of postjudgment interest because she failed to show that the defendants were legally obligated to pay the judgment while the appeal was pending or that they had wrongfully detained the money. The plaintiff appeals, claiming that 37-3b does not require a finding of wrongful detention to support an award of postjudgment interest.