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N.M. PATERSON & SONS LIMITED v. WILLIAM
January 11, 2005.
N.M. PATERSON & SONS LIMITED, Plaintiff,
M/V ETHEL E., WILLIAM C. SELVICK, CURLEY'S MARINE TOWING, and CRONIMET CORPORATION, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment, to Specify Amount of Pre-Judgment Interest. Plaintiff
seeks a finding that it is entitled to pre-judgment interest from
the date of the accident on that portion of the $234,558 judgment
previously awarded by this Court that is derived from repairs and
consequential/incidental damages ($163,404.40). Defendant
responds that it would be inappropriate to award pre-judgment
interest on unspent money when the injured party has, as in this
case, recovered for loss of use or demurrage. In the Peavey
Barge Line case, the Seventh Circuit held that prejudgment
interest, as part of the loss itself, is awarded to a victim who
has incurred out-of-pocket cash expenses and/or a loss of use of
property. United States v. Peavey Barge Line, 748 F.2d 395, 402
(7th Cir. 1984). However, prejudgment interest should not be
awarded before the injured party pays for the repairs if damages
include both demurrage costs and repair costs. Id. In this
case, Defendant concedes that prejudgment interest from the date
of the accident is appropriate for the loss-of-use award
($71,153.60). However, Defendant argues that because Plaintiff
has failed to establish any evidence at trial regarding when the
repair payments were made, it has failed to establish that
prejudgment interest should be paid for the repairs.
In response, Plaintiff contends that Exhibit 15 which was
admitted without objection at trial establishes when repair costs
were "incurred." It is unclear whether this exhibit tells us when
the payments were actually made. Plaintiff fails to explain what
specific evidence exists to establish when repair payments were
actually made. Neither party included Exhibit 15 as an attachment to its brief. However, the evidence is clear that the
ship was dry docked shortly after the accident and repairs were
promptly initiated. There was no substantial delay in the repair
of the ship. The consequential damages for repatriation of the
crew were also paid immediately after the accident in order to
get the crew home. Plaintiff should not be forced to present
detailed proof as to when every individual invoice was issued and
paid. In short, there are no unusual circumstances in this case
that would persuade the Court to exercise its discretion to deny
prejudgment interest with regard to the repairs.
Plaintiff's motion is granted. Prejudgment interest is awarded
from the date of the accident and the judgment is amended to
reflect a judgment in the amount of $315,144.23.
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