Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Does Postjudgment Interest on an Attorneys’ Fee Award Run from the Date of the Merits Judgment or the Date of the Quantum Judgment? Circuit Split

From Fryer v. ASAP Fire & Safety Corp., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 132613 (D. Mass. Dec. 15, 2010):

In pertinent part, section 1961 reads:

Interest shall be allowed on any money judgment in a civil case recovered in a district court . . . Such interest shall be calculated from the date of the entry of the judgment, at a rate equal to the weekly average 1-year constant maturity Treasury yield, as published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, for the calendar week preceding the date of the judgment.

28 U.S.C.A. § 1961. The statutory language using the word "judgment" establishes that it is a judgment as opposed to a jury verdict that provides the applicable date to calculate postjudgment interest on a verdict. *** Likewise, use of the term "money judgment" demonstrates that "section 1961(a) does not provide for interest until a money judgment has been entered." *** "The existence of a 'money judgment'" under section 1961(a) "requires damages to have been ascertained in a 'meaningful way.'" ***

[Footnote 5] A "'merits judgment' . . . grants the prevailing party the right to recover attorney's fees" whereas "the 'exact quantum judgment' . . . defines the precise amount of the fee award." McDonough v. City of Quincy, 353 F.Supp.2d 179, 192 n.12 (D.Mass. 2005).

A circuit split exists as to whether postjudgment interest on an attorneys' fee award runs from the date of the merits judgment or the date of the quantum judgment. See Haddad Motor Group, Inc. v. Karp, Ackerman, Skabowski & Hogan, P.C., 716 F.Supp.2d 161, 162 (D.Mass. 2010). Courts in this district calculate fees from the date of the merits judgment. ***

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