In lengthy disputes where a judgment is entered as of a date several years in the past, prejudgment interest may constitute a more than trivial amount. In Levey v. Brownstone Asset Management, Consolidated C.A. No. 5714-VCL, the plaintiff, who prevailed at trial, sought to recover interest on the judgment amount at the constant rate of 10.25 percent from Jan. 26, 2006, forward. The defendants took the position that the interest rate should float, i.e., change whenever the Federal Reserve discount rate changed. The court agreed with the defendants and found that an award of a fluctuating rate of interest serves the dual purposes of compensating the judgment creditor for the loss of use of its capital during the pendency of the action and causes the disgorgement of the benefit the judgment debtor has enjoyed during the same period of time.
In Levey, the court awarded the plaintiff damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest at the legal rate, compounded quarterly, from Jan. 26, 2006, forward. The parties, however, could not agree on how the legal rate of interest should be applied. The plaintiff maintained that the interest rate as of Jan. 26, 2006, was 10.25 percent and that such rate should be used to calculate both pre- and post-judgment interest until the date of payment. The defendants countered that the rate of interest should fluctuate based on changes in the Federal Reserve discount rate. The court analyzed the parties’ respective positions by applying the purposes underlying an award of interest.
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