Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Verdict Against NOVA Upheld -- Prejudgment Interest Reversed

In Nova Southeastern University of the Health Sciences, Inc., d/b/a College of Osteopathic Medicine v. Sharick (3D08-2507), the Third District held that "we agree that the court below correctly refused to award prejudgment interest on the loss of past earnings award because the jury failed to fix a date of that loss," however, "Because no prejudgment interest was appropriate in this case, awarding such interest between the date of the verdict and the date of the judgment was error."
See Argonaut Ins. Co. v. May Plumbing Co., 474 So. 2d 212, 215 (Fla. 1985) (finding that prejudgment interest is awardable based on a mathematical computation “[o]nce a verdict has liquidated the damages as of a date certain”); cf. Herrero v. Pearce, 571 So. 2d 96, 97 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) (where a monetary judgment was entered against a father requiring him to pay back child support, ordering that prejudgment interest be calculated at the statutory rate “from each monthly date of loss when [the father] should have made each payment”); Metro. Dade County v. Bouterse, Perez & Fabregas Architects Planners, Inc., 463 So. 2d 526, 527 (Fla. 3d DCA 1985) (where a party breached a contract calling for progress payments over a period of time, finding that prejudgment interest should be calculated on each progress payment from the date it would have become due). We also agree that no such interest was proper in this case as to the loss of future earnings. See Mission Square, Inc. v. O’Malley’s, Inc., 783 So. 2d 1151, 1152 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001) (finding that prejudgment interest is not recoverable where a judgment awards the present value of lost future damages, explaining that “[b]ecause present value actually replaces future losses, and takes into account an interest rate, it would be incongruent to tack onto the present value figure an additional interest rate representing a time prior to the time future losses begin to occur”).
Prior appeals in the same underlying disputes can be found at Sharick v. Southeastern University of Health Sciences, Inc., 780 So. 2d 136 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000).  A retrial took place in January 2008 which led to the most recent dispute.  An article in the SunSentinel titled "Appeals court upholds $4.3 million judgment against Nova Southeastern" can be found here.


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