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“Request for Prejudgment Interest Stops the Appeals Clock in Federal Court—Unlike Attorney Fees”

Appellate Lawyers Association - The Brief E. King Poor

Following is an excerpt:

A short opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit serves as a reminder that until a plaintiff’s entire case has been decided—including any claim for prejudgment interest—there’s no final judgment for appeal. In Dual-Temp of Illinois, Inc. v. Hench Control, Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2015 WL 304124 (7th Cir., 2015), the district court entered judgment after a trial and then checked a box on a judgment form indicating that no prejudgment interest would be awarded. Checking the box was an error, and 28 days later, the plaintiff moved the court to quantify prejudgment interest. But to avoid any issue about an untimely appeal, the defendant appealed the judgment following day.

Later, the district court agreed it would consider the plaintiff’s motion for prejudgment interest. As a result, the defendant informed the Seventh Circuit that its appeal should be deemed premature. The Seventh Circuit agreed and ruled that there was no final judgment because prejudgment interest “makes up part of a plaintiff’s damages.” Id. at * 1. The court explained that the district court must “quantify damages before a judgment can be final.” Also, it could not consider the judgment final on the ground that determining prejudgment interest is merely “mechanical and uncontroversial.” Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal for lack of a final judgment.