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The post below was published on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 9:27 AM.

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Florida Supreme Court: Interesting

The Florida Supreme Court was almost brusque in this decision on prejudgment interest. The court quashed a district court ruling disallowing prejudgment interest for lost profits. The district court viewed the loss as unliquidated, and therefore not appropriate for prejudgment interest, because the amount was uncertain until fixed at trial. The supreme court rejected that analysis, holding that under clear supreme court precedent, whenever losses are wholly economic, and a verdict liquidates their amount and the date of loss, the plaintiff is entitled to prejudgment interest from that date.

The supreme court maintained a significant exception for personal injury cases. The court stated that the “speculative” and “indefinite” nature of some damages in personal injury cases, such as pain and suffering, justifies precluding prejudgment interest for the plaintiff’s recovery.

In my view, that exception’s rationale has led to confusion and perhaps to decisions like the one the supreme court quashed. By some measure, lost profits damages may be less speculative than pain and suffering damages, but that does not mean the former are more knowable than the latter until a trial resolves the matter.

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