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Following a jury verdict in favor of the plaintiffs, awarding prejudgment interest was not appropriate where the defendants' failure to settle could not be deemed irrational.

October 1, 2010
Pruszynski v. Reeves, 2010 Ohio 3677 (Ohio Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2010)

The plaintiffs-appellants, a passenger and his parents, sought review of the trial court that denied their motion for prejudgment interest against the appellee-insurers in a case arising from a motor vehicle accident in which the passenger suffered permanent injuries. The passenger was injured when the driver of his motor vehicle swerved and flipped the car while attempting to avoid two bicyclists. The plaintiffs-appellants brought suit against the driver, the bicyclists and their parents. Following a trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $231,540.26. The appellants' motion, seeking prejudgment interest against the insurers for the two bicyclists and their parents, was denied. On appeal, the court held that the trial court did not err in denying the motion as the defendants could rationally conclude that the driver of the vehicle in which the passenger was riding at the time of the accident was either the proximate cause, or at least, the primary proximate cause of the passenger's injuries. As such, their failure to settle could not be deemed irrational and formed no basis for an award of prejudgment interest pursuant to R.C. 1343.03(C).

Case Law Alert - 3rd Qtr 2010

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