Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc. v. Butts
Post-judgment interest was governed by Connecticut General Statutes §37-3a, rather than the terms of a retail installment contract providing for an annual percentage rate of 9.14 percent when the contract did not explicitly address post-judgment interest. Sikorsky Financial Credit Union, Inc. brought this action against William Butts, alleging a default on a retail installment contract securing a loan of $24,740.42. The plaintiff took possession and sold the collateral, a 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer, at a public auction, netting $13,200. The plaintiff alleged that the fair market value of the collateral was $17,250, leaving a deficiency after credits due of $5673.58. The plaintiff sought a deficiency judgment plus interest, reasonable attorneys' fees and costs of suit. A default judgment entered. Following a hearing in damages, the court awarded the plaintiff $7501, constituting the difference between the sale proceeds and fair market value of the collateral, attorneys' fees and prejudgment interest at the contractual rate of 9.14 percent. Exercising its discretion pursuant to C.G.S. §37-3a, the court also awarded the plaintiff post-judgment interest at the rate of 2 percent. The court granted the plaintiff's motion for re-argument but denied relief and later articulated that its post-judgment interest award was not an award of interest under the contractual provision for "eo nomine interest" because post-maturity interest qualified as prejudgment interest. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the court improperly granted discretionary post-judgment interest of 2 percent under C.G.S. §37-3a rather than the contractually stipulated rate of 9.14 percent under C.G.S. §37-1 or, at the legal rate under that statute. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The contract did not explicitly address post-judgment interest. Accordingly, it was reasonable for the trial court to conclude that the rate of 9.14 percent applied only to prejudgment interest. Absent a contractual provision for the rate of interest to accrue post-judgment, the plaintiff's claim was unpersuasive that it was entitled to post-judgment interest at a rate of 9.14 percent. Further, the trial court properly determined that the "postmaturity" interest to be accrued under the contract should be characterized as prejudgment interest. Because the award of prejudgment interest included postmaturity interest at the contractual rate of 9.14 percent, the plaintiff was not entitled to additional postmaturity interest at the legal rate of 8 percent under C.G.S. §37-1.