March 25, 2021
To the Honorable
The Illinois House of
Today I veto House
Bill 3360 from the 101st General Assembly,
which provides for the
recovery of prejudgment interest on all damages set forth in a judgment in any action brought to
recover damages for personal injuries or wrongful death, whether by
negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, intentional conduct, or strict liability
of the other person or entity. HB 3360 would be effective immediately.
While I support
joining the majority of states that allow prejudgment interest in personal injury cases in order
to encourage their prompt resolution, the provisions of HB 3360 would be
burdensome for hospitals and medical professionals beyond the national norm,
potentially driving up healthcare costs for patients and deterring physicians
from practicing in Illinois.
The majority of
Illinois hospitals are self-insured, and, as a result, would be required to pay
the costs of this legislation directly, at a time when they can least afford
this added expense.
HB 3360 imposes a rate of 9% per annum prejudgment interest,
which would begin to accrue on the date the defendant has notice of the injury. Even states with
prejudgment interest, such as Michigan or Wisconsin, provide a more reasonable rate structure by
tying the interest rate to market conditions such as the federal prime
rate, as opposed to a flat rate. The proposed 9% flat rate is higher than many of these
market-based rates adopted by other states, even when accounting for additional
many states add
to the market-based rates as part of the calculation of prejudgment interest. Because many businesses have been severely and
negatively affected by today’s
economic climate, 9% interest is high and tying to market conditions would be less onerous. A 9% rate could similarly be damaging to
entities like hospitals.
Further, HB 3360 would allow
for prejudgment interest to be calculated on non-economic damages
such as pain and suffering and loss of normal life. Again, when we compare
this legislation to states that have prejudgment interest, many of them
exclude non-economic damages from the calculation. For example, the prejudgment interest
statutes in Massachusetts and Minnesota limit the application of prejudgment interest in personal injury
cases to pecuniary damages. Minnesota law
explicitly excludes future, punitive or noncompensatory damages.
While I appreciate the
hard work of the House and Senate sponsors of the bill and their commitment to
advocate for injured Illinoisans, HB 3360 simply didn’t receive sufficient input from some of the most
impacted parties, including health care providers. At a time when the
health care industry and the medical professionals who have dedicated their
lives over the past year to combating a deadly virus are in need of support, I cannot in good
conscience sign a bill that would place these individuals and entities in further financial distress.
I have urged the
sponsors to return to negotiate a compromise that includes stronger protections for health
care providers while encouraging the faster resolution of these cases that can leave families
devastated for years. It is in the best interest of all Illinoisans for this
issue to be fully negotiated with an opportunity to for input from all
stakeholders, advocates, and other interested parties.
I understand that this
compromise legislation is now advancing through the
with these suggested changes and additional feedback from stakeholders.
Therefore, pursuant to
Section 9(b) of Article IV of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby
return House Bill 3360, entitled “AN ACT concerning civil law,” with the foregoing
objections, vetoed in its entirety.
Governor JB Pritzker