Case Caption: Vlaun vs. Dr. Warren Briscoe & GVI through JFL HospitalCase Number: SCT-CIV-2021-0032Date: 09/06/2022Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2022 VI 18Summary: In a medical malpractice action arising from plaintiff’s treatment at the Governor Juan F. Luis Hospital, in which the plaintiff-patient entered into a mediated settlement agreement with the defendant doctor and the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, as his employer, on June 7, 2019, in which they agreed to pay plaintiff $170,000.00 in full settlement of all claims within 90 ninety days and to forgive her hospital bill in full in exchange for her release of all claims, the Superior Court erred when it declined to direct the defendants to pay interest at the 9% rate for the period from September 5, 2019 to the date they ultimately paid the $170,000 to the plaintiff, based on its mistaken belief that 5 V.I.C. § 426(b) precluded an interest award. In this case, § 426(b) is not applicable and plaintiff was therefore entitled, pursuant to § 951(a)(1) and (4), to interest at a rate of 9% per annum for the period between September 5, 2019, and the date the monies were ultimately paid to her. Under 11 V.I.C. § 951, interest awards are mandatory, and not within the discretion of a court. To hold that the Superior Court possesses the discretion to refuse to award interest at the 9% statutory rate on “all monies which have become due” or “money due or to become due where there is a contract and no rate is specified” would be tantamount to permitting the Superior Court to exercise discretion to not award damages that were proven by the prevailing party. Therefore, the Superior Court erred when it declined to order the defendants to pay such interest. Accordingly, the Superior Court’s February 19, 2021 order is reversed and the July 22, 2021 dismissal order is vacated as moot.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion