Where neither party requested an instruction on prejudgment interest, neither party requested a verdict form asking the jury to determine pre-judgment interest and neither party objected to the court’s final verdict form that omitted any question of pre-judgment interest, both parties were denied pre-judgment interest on their respective jury awards.
When the jury returned its verdict in this case on Aug. 5, 2022, it found in favor of plaintiff Monogram Snacks Martinsville LLC on its breach of contract claim, and awarded damages in the amount of $569,903.91. The jury also found for defendant Wilde Brands Inc. on its conversion claim, and awarded damages in the amount of $379,132.00. In their pleadings, both parties requested pre- and post-judgment interest. The court directed the parties to brief their respective positions and they have done so, making the matter ripe for disposition and entry of final judgment.
As the Supreme Court of Virginia explained, “the principal distinction between pre-judgment and post-judgment interest is that the decision whether to award pre-judgment interest is discretionary with the trier of fact, while the application of post-judgment interest for all money damages in mandatory.”
In this case, neither party requested an instruction on prejudgment interest. Neither party requested a verdict form asking the jury to determine pre-judgment interest, and neither party objected to the court’s final verdict form that omitted any question of pre-judgment interest. Accordingly, the court cannot and, in any event, would exercise its discretion not to award pre-judgment interest in this case.
“[I]n contrast to the … court’s discretion in the awarding of pre-judgment interest, federal law mandates the awarding of post-judgment interest.” Congress has codified the post-judgment interest rate. Accordingly, the court will award post-judgment interest pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961. The judgment will reflect this award.
Monogram Snacks Martinsville LLC v. Wilde Brands Inc., Case No. 4:20-cv-00030, Sept. 16, 2022. WDVA at Danville (Cullen). VLW 022-3-408. 3 pp.