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4.5-15  Interest Pursuant to General Statutes § 37-3a

Revised to January 1, 2008

In addition to damages on the ___ count, you may award interest.  This is intended to compensate the plaintiff for the loss of use of money that was not paid when it was due.  To award interest, you must find that the plaintiff is entitled to an award of damages in the first place, and you must find under all of the circumstances that the defendant wrongfully detained money due to the plaintiff.  There is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes wrongful detention.  The question is whether justice requires that the plaintiff be paid interest for the loss of use of money. 

If you decide to award interest, then you must compute the amount.  Your verdict form will help you to do this.  You must first determine the time period that the money was wrongfully detained.  In this case, it is claimed that the wrongful detention began <the date the defendant breached the contract or when the money under the contract became due and payable>, and the end date would be <date of the verdict>.  You need to determine the total number of days.  Under our statutes you must divide that number of days by 360 days.  You should then multiply that by __ percent, which is our annual interest rate.  You should then multiply that percentage by the total amount of damages to come up with the amount of interest.

Authority

Blakeslee Arpaia Chapman, Inc. v. EI Constructors, Inc., 239 Conn. 708, 734-38 (1997) (holding that wrongful detention is determined "in view of the demands of justice rather than through application of an arbitrary rule"); West Haven Sound Development Corp. v. West Haven, 207 Conn. 308, 321 (1988); Scribner v. O'Brien, Inc., 169 Conn. 389, 405-406 (1975); Southern New England Contracting Co. v. State, 165 Conn. 644, 664-65 (1974); Bertozzi v. McCarthy, 164 Conn. 463, 467 (1973); Rapin v. Nettleton, 50 Conn. App. 640, 651 (1998); Sperry v. Moler, 3 Conn. App. 692, 695-96 (1985).  See General Statutes §§ 37-3a and 37-1.

Notes

Since some appellate decisions suggest that the jury, not the court, should calculate the interest, the court should provide the jury with a verdict form to guide the jury through that calculation.  See, e.g., Canton Motorcar Works, Inc. v. DiMartino, 6 Conn. App. 447, 463-64, cert. denied, 200 Conn. 802 (1986).

Do not give this instruction if the contract provides for interest.
 


 

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