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4.5-16  Interest Based on Contract

Revised to January 1, 2008

In addition to any damages you may award on the __ count, the terms of the contract may entitle the plaintiff to interest.  The contract provides <insert contract terms re: interest>.  If you find that the contract provided for the award of interest and that the conditions set forth in the contract for an award of interest have been met, you should award interest.

If you decide that the terms of the contract have been met for awarding interest, you must compute the amount.  The verdict form you have been given will help you to do this.  First, you should determine the start date for any award of interest.  This is the date (the money became due and payable / the defendant breached the contract).  The end date is <probably the date of the verdict>.  You must determine the total number of days.   Then you must divide that total by _________ days [for a year].

[<If the language is clear on the rate:>  The contract states that the rate of interest is __ percent.]

[<If the language is not clear:>  Using the instructions I have given you on interpreting contract language, you should determine the rate of interest that the parties intended.]

You must then multiply that percentage rate by the number you came up with earlier for the total number of days interest was due divided by _____ days.  Finally, you must multiply that percentage by the total amount of damages to come up with the amount of interest.

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).

When the contract purports to provide for interest, the court should first determine whether, under the principles of contract interpretation, the language is clear as to whether interest should be awarded and the rate for that interest.  If either of these issues is unclear, the question should go to the jury.

If there is no contractual provision for interest, give the instruction for Interest Pursuant to General Statutes § 37-3a, Instruction 4.6-15.
 


 

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