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12/15/88 Pauline Aper, v. National Union Electric

December 15, 1988

PAULINE APER, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT AND CROSS-APPELLEE

v.

NATIONAL UNION ELECTRIC CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE AND CROSS-APPELLANT



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

533 N.E.2d 398, 177 Ill. App. 3d 118, 127 Ill. Dec. 526 1988.IL.1798

Appeal from the Circuit Court of McLean County; the Hon. Ronald C. Dozier, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE GREEN delivered the opinion of the court. McCULLOUGH, P.J., and LUND, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE GREEN

In this appeal we consider the issue of the proper computation of interest on a workers' compensation award. The facts are straightforward.

On April 29, 1987, a panel of the Industrial Commission Division entered an order affirming, in part, and reversing, in part, the Industrial Commission (Commission) award to plaintiff, Pauline Aper. National Union Electric Corp. v. Industrial Comm'n (1987), 154 Ill. App. 3d 1163 (order under Supreme Court Rule 23) (Aper I).

On June 1, 1987, plaintiff filed a petition for judgment on the award pursuant to section 19(g) of the Workers' Compensation Act (Act) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 138.19(g)). At the time, the parties disputed the amount of interest which was due on the judgment. Plaintiff contended interest should have been calculated at the statutory rate of 9% from the date of the arbitrator's decision through the date of judgment on the petition for judgment under section 19(g) of the Act. Defendant contended no interest was due because the Commission reduced the arbitrator's award. On the date of the hearing on the section 19(g) petition, June 30, 1987, plaintiff accepted a check in the amount of $16,501.08 which, the parties agreed, constituted the full amount of the Commission award. That sum, however, did not include any amount for accrued interest on the award.

The trial court granted interest to plaintiff at the rate of 9% but only from the date of the Commission decision on the theory the appellate court affirmed the Commission not the arbitrator. Based on the trial court's ruling, both parties appealed resulting in this court's decision in Aper v. National Union Electric Corp. (1988), 165 Ill. App. 3d 482, 519 N.E.2d 117 (Aper II). On that appeal, this court agreed with plaintiff on the question of interest, vacated the award previously made, and remanded to the circuit court "for a recomputation of interest, which should be accrued from the date of the arbitrator's award." 165 Ill. App. 3d at 488, 519 N.E.2d at 121.

Following remand, defendant attempted to tender an amount representing 9% interest on the award due claimant from the date of the arbitrator's decision through June 2, 1987, the date defendant made its original tender to plaintiff which was initially refused., Plaintiff, by letter, refused to accept the offer, stating in part:

"You tendered partial payment of $16,501.08 on June 30, 1987. On that date $5,981.63 of interest was due. Your partial payment satisfied that amount of interest, plus the $220 of medical expense, plus $10,299.45 of the compensation that was due, leaving $5,981.63 of compensation unpaid. That sum is accruing $1.475 of interest per day from June 30, 1987, until paid. . . .

I will accept $6,501.78 ($5,981.63 plus $520.15) interest at 9% on $5,981.63 from June 30, 1987, until the date of payment as satisfaction in full of 87-MR-42."

As this position was unacceptable to defendant, the parties proceeded to hearing before the trial Judge, who substantially agreed with defendant and declined to award plaintiff interest beyond June 30, 1987, the date she accepted $16,501.08. The parties agree the amount actually awarded on remand after Aper II constituted 9% interest from the date of the arbitrator's decision through June 30, 1987. Both parties have again appealed.

Plaintiff contends interest continued to accrue after June 30, 1987, because the amount she accepted did not satisfy the entire judgment, including interest, then due her. Plaintiff asks this court to apply the general rule that when a party accepts partial payment of the judgment and that amount is not sufficient to satisfy the full amount of judgment plus any costs or interest then due, the party is entitled to apply the amount to the interest due as of that date with any balance then credited to reduce the amount of judgment principal. This is a general principle of law. (Scales v. McMahon (1936), 364 Ill. ...


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