Requirements for Triggering Pre-Verdict Interest
On January 11, 2021, in Blehr v. Anderson, the court of appeals clarified the requirements for triggering pre-judgment interest under Minn. Stat. 549.09. Section 549.09 allows pre-verdict interest “from the time of the commencement of the action…or the time of a written notice of claim, whichever occurs first.” Often, claimants will send a written letter to the defendant or insurance company prior to making a demand or commencing suit to ensure pre-verdict interest begins to accrue during the investigatory and pre-litigation phase of a claim.
Prior to Blehr, debates occurred over what information was sufficient for a pre-suit letter to constitute a “notice of claim.” Blehr clarified that the notice “does not require a demand for a specific amount of money; but the written notice must be sufficient, in light of the circumstances known to the noticed party, to allow the party to determine its potential liability from a generally recognized objective standard of measurement.” Applied to the facts presented, the court deemed sufficient notice a letter which: identified the claimant’s attorney, advised the insurer that the attorney was representing the claimant, and provided contact information for the claimant’s attorney; asked for confirmation on the existence of liability insurance, insurance limits, and requested a claim number; and requested other investigatory information such as photographs, repair estimates, and witness statements.
For more information about this or any other civil litigation issues, please contact attorney Daniel J. Bellig at 507-625-2525 or by email.