United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
BRIAN GOODRICH, PATRICIA GOODRICH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND OF S.M.G. and S.L.G., Plaintiffs,
CIMLINE, INC., and GARLOCK EQUIPMENT COMPANY, INC., Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFFS MOTION TO ADD
INTEREST TO THE JUDGMENT (Docket No. 161)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN DISTRICT JUDGE
April 11, 2018, a jury found in favor of the Plaintiffs and
awarded a total of $8, 250, 000 in damages. The Plaintiffs
subsequently filed a motion requesting prejudgment interest
of 12% for the entire award from February 25, 2015 through
the date of judgment. The Defendants filed an opposition arguing
that the amount of damages awarded for future lost earnings
($600, 000) and future medical and personal care ($5, 000,
000) are not subject to prejudgment interest.
is no dispute that the Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of
prejudgment interest for loss of consortium, past lost
earnings and pain and suffering totaling $2, 650, 000.
However, Defendants contend that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231,
§ 6B does not entitle them to prejudgment interest on
the remaining $5, 600, 000 awarded for future damages.
Applying Massachusetts law, I find that the Plaintiffs are
entitled to prejudgment interest as to the entire award of
$8, 250, 000.
interest is a substantive remedy governed by state law when
state-law claims are brought in federal court…”
Tobin v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 553 F.3d 121, 146
(1st Cir. 2009) (internal citations omitted). The
interest should be calculated from the commencement of the
action through the date of final judgment. Com. v.
Johnson Insulation, 425 Mass. 650, 664 (1997). Incurring
interest from the beginning of the action and not from the
time of the injury allows uniformity while balancing the
absence of interest from the date of the plaintiff's
injury to the date of filing and limiting a windfall of
recovery for the plaintiff. Charles D. Bonanno Linen
Serv., Inc. v. McCarthy, 550 F.Supp. 231, 246-247
(D.Mass.1982), aff'd. in part (on this point), and
rev'd in part, 708 F.2d 1 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 464
U.S. 936 (1983).
law states that
In an action in which a verdict is rendered…for
pecuniary damages for personal injuries to the plaintiff or
for consequential damages, …there shall be added by
the clerk of court to the amount of damages interest thereon
at the rate of twelve per cent per annum from the date of
commencement of the action even though such interest brings
the amount of the verdict or finding beyond the maximum
liability imposed by law.
Gen. Laws ch. 231, § 6B. The Massachusetts Supreme
Judicial Court has found that this statute “is
unequivocal in requiring that the clerk add interest on the
entire amount of the verdict.” Griffin v.
Gen. Motors Corp., 380 Mass. 362, 368 (1980)(emphasis
added) (citing Carey v. Gen. Motors Corp., 377 Mass.
736, 746 (1979)). The Defendants attempt to challenge this
statement arguing that future damages are not subject to
prejudgment interest. I am not convinced.
Defendants argument relies on Conway v. Electro Switch
Corp., where the SJC held that damages for future lost
wages in employment discrimination cases are not subject to
prejudgment interest. 402 Mass. 385 (1988). The court
reasoned that because the primary purpose of awarding
interest is “to compensate a damaged party for the loss
of use or the unlawful detention of money” there is
“no justification for adding interest to damages which,
by definition, are for losses to be incurred in the
future.” Id. at 390. However, Conway
did not overturn Carey but distinguished between
future damages sought in an employment discrimination action
and a personal injury action. Kuppens v. Davies, 38
Mass.App.Ct. 498, 500 (1995). It is therefore clear that
there is a distinction between the applicability of
prejudgment interest for loss of future wages in an
employment discrimination case and a tort case in
that said, the caselaw suggests that following
Carey, the total damages awarded in a personal
injury action are “unequivocally” subject to
prejudgment interest. 377 Mass. at 746. For example, in
Kuppens v. Davies, the court awarded interest on the
entire verdict, which included past and future damages for
lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. 38
Mass.App.Ct. 498, 498 (1995). The court held that as a tort
case for personal injury Carey was applicable and
prejudgment interest on the entire award was required.
Id. at 500.
Defendants owed the Plaintiffs damages at the time Mr.
Goodrich was injured as a result of their conduct which gave
rise to this action. See Com. v. Johnson Insulation,
425 Mass. 650, 665-66 (1997)(generally, damages in a tort
action occur and are due at the moment of injury) (citations
omitted)). Consistent with Massachusetts law, I find
that § 6B “unequivocally require[s]” that
the Plaintiffs be awarded prejudgment interest on the entire
verdict. Carey, 377 Mass. at 746. Accordingly, the
clerk shall add 12% interest to the entire verdict of $8,
 The complaint was filed on February
25, 2015 and is the date the action ...