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The post below was published on Sunday, January 2nd, 2011 at 8:22 AM.

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Florida Supreme Court: Rewriting The Rules On Prejudgment Interest

Earlier this year, in this case, the Florida Supreme Court held that prejudgment interest is generally available for pecuniary losses, whether liquidated or unliquidated, because prejudgment interest is “merely another element of pecuniary damages.”

The supreme court being supreme, it can amend that statement. The court effectively did so just three months later. This decision receded from prior case law holding that, as an element of damages, prejudgment interest must be specifically awarded in a final judgment or it is waived. The new decision holds that prejudgment interest may be addressed post-judgment, similar to attorney’s fees and costs.

Perhaps most interesting about the new decision is that the court chose to depart from stare decisis based on the court’s perception that, too often, the right to prejudgment interest was being waived inadvertently because attorneys who recovered judgments for their clients did not know the law. The new approach avoids that situation.

The new approach may spur further changes. For instance, attorney’s fees and costs are governed by rule 1.525, which requires that motions for fees or costs be served no later than 30 days after entry of a final judgment. Perhaps prejudgment interest will eventually be subject to the same requirement.

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