Jordan v. Macedo

2024 IL App (1st) 230079

Opinion Filed May 3, 2024

In the case Jordan v. Macedo, the First District Illinois Appellate Court was asked to determine whether plaintiff Irma Jordan was entitled to statutory costs and prejudgment interest after winning an arbitration award against defendant Esmeralda Macedo in a personal injury case.

Irma Jordan filed a lawsuit against Esmeralda Macedo, alleging that Macedo was negligent when she rear-ended Jordan’s vehicle.

After the case was referred to mandatory arbitration, the arbitrator ruled in favor of Jordan, awarding her $13,070.

Jordan then filed a motion in circuit court to recover statutory costs (such as filing fees) and prejudgment interest (interest on the awarded amount) as the prevailing party.

Prejudgment Interest:

Jordan's Argument: She was entitled to prejudgment interest based on Section 2-1303(c) of the Code.

Court’s Decision: The court reversed the lower court's decision and granted Jordan's request for prejudgment interest.

Reasoning: Prejudgment interest compensates for the delay in resolving a case. The court explained that interest is not considered additional damages but rather preserves the economic value of the award from being diminished due to delays. Therefore, it is a ministerial function of the court, and awarding interest does not constitute modifying the substantive provisions of the award.

Jordan's Argument: As the prevailing party, she was entitled to recover statutory costs under the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.

Court’s Decision: The court denied Jordan’s request for statutory costs, reasoning that she should have presented her request for these costs to the arbitrator. The court relied on the precedent Cruz v. Northwestern Chrysler Plymouth Sales, Inc., which established that all claims for relief (including statutory fees) should be submitted to the arbitration panel.

Reasoning: Once the arbitration panel made its award and neither party rejected it, the circuit court's function was limited to entering judgment on the award. The court could not modify the award or grant additional monetary relief.

Calculation of Interest: The judgment was $13,070, and Macedo’s highest settlement offer was $5,000. Jordan was entitled to interest at 6% per annum on the $8,070 difference between the judgment and the settlement offer, resulting in $524.55 in prejudgment interest.

Final Judgment:

The appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part the circuit court’s decision:

Granted her request for prejudgment interest.

Denied Jordan's request for statutory costs.

The case was remanded to the circuit court to enter an order awarding Jordan $524.55 in prejudgment interest.

Justice Mikva (Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part):

Agreed with the majority that Jordan should receive prejudgment interest.

Dissented on the issue of statutory costs, arguing that statutory costs are similar to prejudgment interest and should not need to be specifically requested before the arbitration panel. Instead, they should automatically be awarded to the prevailing party by the court.

If you’ve been struck by a motor vehicle you should seek assistance from a lawyer experienced in collision cases.

For more direct answers to your questions, call Steve Giacoletto at the Giacoletto Law Firm at 618-346-8841 or toll-free at 888-346-8841 to speak today with an experienced Madison County, St. Clair County, and Southern Illinois accident and injury lawyer  located in Collinsville, Illinois.

Steve Giacoletto
Collinsville Personal Injury Attorney