Oreal v. Steven Kwartin, P.A.

Oreal v. Steven Kwartin, P.A., 189 So.3d 964 (Fla. 4th DCA 2016)

This appeal deals with a claimant's attempt to collect interest due the claimant on a promissory note.  The claimant filed a timely statement of claim in the estate, seeking payment due on a note plus interest.  The probate court disallowed the claimant's request for default interest under the terms of the note and imposed a setoff to lower the amount of default interest because the court believed that the claimant should have filed a motion to compel payment earlier than it did.

The Court reversed, holding that pursuant to F.S. 733.705(9), which provides that "[i]nterest shall be paid by the personal representative on written obligations of the decedent providing for the payment of interest," the claimant was entitled to the full default interest under the terms of the note.  It found that the probate court had erred by imposing a setoff, because a court cannot rewrite a contract to relief a party from a hardship of a bad bargain.  Because the statute plainly and unambiguously provides for the payment of interest and does not allow for judicial discretion, the Court directed the probate court to award the full amount of interest due to the claimant.

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