The saga continues over prejudgment interest in Illinois. Although Governor Pritzker vetoed HB 3360, which would have imposed a 9% prejudgment interest on person injury and wrongful death action, a modified version of the bill is already speeding its way through the system. See letter from JB Pritzker in support of his Veto.
HA2 is in front of the Senate and would soften the blow to defendants. However, it still penalizes defendants for exercising their right to trial. For instance, in HA2 prejudgment interest would be 6% instead of 9% per annum and would not apply to punitive damages, sanctions, statutory attorneys’ fees, statutory costs, and the amount of the highest timely written settlement offer. Further, it would cut off interest at 5 years and toll interest if the case is voluntary dismissed. These are all improvements from the prior bill but still would penalize defendants who defend themselves and the interest rate is still arbitrary.
In Governor Pritzker’s letter he urges the sponsors of HB 3360 to negotiate a compromise which adds protection for health care providers while still encouraging a quick resolution to a case. HA2 seems to be just that, a compromise which still punishes only the defendant for a slow moving case, not considering the back log of the courts or what actions plaintiffs may take to delay a case just to make its value go up.
Defendants need to be mindful of the pre-judgment interest accrual that results from delays in litigation caused by either side or the court. If you have questions about how this development might impact you or your organization, please contact the author or Baker Sterchi.