The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA
Rather than opting for a new trial on Count I, for breach of contract, Roboserve has accepted remittitur to $ 1,053,784 in compensatory damages, as suggested by the Seventh Circuit. See Roboserve, Inc. v. Kato Kagaku Co., Ltd., 78 F.3d 266, 280 (7th Cir. 1996). Having accepted remittitur, Roboserve now asks the court to order Kato to pay the $ 1,053,784. Kato apparently does not object to this request. However, Roboserve also asks the court to order Kato to pay Roboserve $ 25,000 in costs, and post-judgment interest on costs and damages from December 21, 1993, until the present. Kato strongly objects to the latter request.
Roboserve contends that because judgment was entered on Count I on December 9, 1993, it is due interest on the judgment from December 21, 1993, to the present at a rate of 3.61 percent pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961. Roboserve also contends that after judgment was entered, the court taxed $ 25,000 in costs against Kato, and provided that the costs be paid with interest from December 21, 1993, if the judgment was affirmed on appeal. Roboserve believes that the court of appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment, and therefore that Roboserve is entitled to interest on the costs.
Kato, on the other hand, argues that under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 37, Roboserve is not entitled to interest from December 21, 1993, because the court of appeals did not include an instruction with respect to interest in its mandate. Kato also contends that the trial court taxed costs of $ 25,000 against Kato only if the trial court's judgment was affirmed on appeal. Since the entire judgment was not affirmed on appeal, in Kato's eyes, Roboserve is not entitled to costs.
Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure provides:
Unless otherwise provided by law, if a judgment for money in a civil case is affirmed, whatever interest is allowed by law shall be payable from the date the judgment was entered in the district court. If a judgment is modified or reversed with a direction that a judgment for money be entered in the district court, the mandate shall contain instructions with respect to allowance of interest.
Roboserve contends that because the Seventh Circuit affirmed the trial court's judgment on liability and effectively affirmed the damages if Roboserve would accept a remittitur, Roboserve is entitled to interest on its damages awards from the time of the original judgment in December 1993. Kato contends that because the Seventh Circuit vacated the damages awards and remanded the case, and did not include an instruction regarding interest in its mandate, Roboserve is not entitled to interest from the time of the original judgment.
The seminal case about what a district court is to do when the court of appeals does not give interest instructions in its mandate is Briggs v. Pennsylvania R. Co., 334 U.S. 304, 68 S. Ct. 1039, 92 L. Ed. 1403 (1948). In Briggs, the jury returned a verdict and awarded damages to plaintiff, but the district court then dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The court of appeals reversed and directed the district court to enter judgment on the verdict for plaintiff. The district court did, and also added to the verdict interest from the date of the verdict to the date of judgment, even though the court of appeals ...