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Procedural Posture

Defendant testator appealed the judgment from the Superior Court, Riverside County (California) that granted plaintiff expectant beneficiary’s motion for postjudgment, compound interest on plaintiff’s award for defendant’s breach of a contract to make a will. Defendant claimed that the interest violated Cal. Const. art. XV, § 1(2) and Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 685.010(a).

California Business Lawyer & Corporate Lawyer, Inc. explains HS 11364

Overview

Defendant testator made a will in favor of plaintiff, an expectant beneficiary, pursuant to a contract to make a will, then revoked the will. Plaintiff sued, the trial court entered judgment for plaintiff on a jury verdict, defendant lost his appeal, and the trial court granted plaintiff’s motion for postjudgment, compound interest. On appeal, the court held that Cal. Const. art. XV, § 1(2) and Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 685.010(a) limited postjudgment interest to 10 percent simple interest, that the trial court had no inherent power to award any amount in excess of that rate, and that compound interest was in excess of that rate. However, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 683.110 (1982) and Cal. R. Ct. 875 allowed interest on interest when a judgment was renewed or when prejudgment interest was incorporated in an judgment that bore interest. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment and remanded the case with instructions to award simple, postjudgment interest from the date of judgment to the date that the judgment was affirmed, to add that interest to the award, then to award simple interest on the new amount until paid.

Outcome

The court reversed the judgment granting plaintiff expectant beneficiary’s motion for compound postjudgment interest on his award for defendant testator’s breach of contract to make a will and remanded the case to grant simple interest, and to add the interest accrued to the date of the first appeal to the principal before calculating the interest, in order for the award to comply with the state constitution and laws.

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