Prejudgment interest is owed when money judgment issues, even if judgment was delayed by plaintiff
The owner of Primetime Landscaping sued Damico Development for snow plowing and salting it performed during the prior winter. Ultimately, after a bench trial, the court awarded Primetime more than $33,000.00 owed under the contract. The judge refused to award pre-judgment interest, however, finding that Primetime had been the first party to breach a term of the contract and that trial of the matter was delayed by a dispute between Primetime's owner and his attorneys.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals unanimously held that pre-judgment interest is a statutory right, owed by reason of the plaintiff's loss of use of money owed. Since the Defendant enjoyed the use of money owed to another by reason of the judgment, the interest was payable regardless of the cause of any delays in achieving finality.
The Court also held that for pre-judgment interest on a contract to be denied by the "first breach" rule, the breach must be substantial.