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Trucker’s widow entitled to prejudgment interest, COA decides

December 31, 2015

The widow of a truck driver killed in an accident is entitled to collect more than $622,000 in prejudgment interest on a $6 million verdict, but is otherwise barred from an award of attorney fees, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled on rehearing Thursday.

The panel in Hoker Trucking, LLC and Linda L. Phillips v. Pamela K. Robbins, as Adminstratrix of the Estate of Mike Douglas Robbins, Deceased, 89A01-1411-CT-468, recognized a misinterpretation in its prior ruling.

“In our original opinion, we concluded that based on SCI Propane v. Frederick, 39 N.E.3d 675 (Ind. 2015), ‘Robbins, as the surviving spouse, was not entitled to recover attorneys’ fees and prejudgment interest as compensable damages’ under the general wrongful death statute,” Judge Patricia Riley wrote for the panel.

“Robbins has now filed a petition for rehearing in which she contends that the prejudgment interest was not awarded on the attorneys’ fees, as we alluded to in our opinion, but on the $6,000,000.00 jury verdict. As such, she asserts SCI Propane is not applicable, and instead we should have followed the directives of the prejudgment interest statute, I.C. Ch. 34-51-4, which notes in section 1 that prejudgment interest ‘applies to any civil action arising out of tortious conduct.’  We agree. Thus, we grant rehearing for the limited purpose of addressing the prejudgment interest award; in all other respects, we affirm our original opinion.”

 

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