Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Inc. v. Fieldbrook Foods Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

December 4, 2018

600 LB GORILLAS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
FIELDBROOK FOODS CORP. and MISTER COOKIE FACE, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff 600 lb Gorillas, Inc. (“Gorillas”) brought this lawsuit against Defendants Fieldbrook Foods Corp. (“Fieldbrook”) and Mister Cookie Face, LLC (“MCF”), alleging that Defendants failed to manufacture ice cream for Gorillas' ice cream sandwiches consistent with the parties' agreed-upon specifications. On August 17, 2018, following a fourteen-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict finding that MCF breached the parties' contract and that MCF and Fieldbrook breached the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and were liable for negligent misrepresentation. [ECF No. 294]. In addition, the jury determined that Gorillas also breached the contract and that MCF was entitled to recover from Gorillas based on quantum meruit. [Id.]. The jury awarded Gorillas $580, 000 in damages against MCF and $145, 000 in damages against Fieldbrook, and determined that MCF was entitled to $270, 785.37 in damages from Gorillas. [Id.]. The jury also rendered an advisory verdict, finding that neither Gorillas nor MCF had proven that any party had committed an unfair or deceptive act or trade practice pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A, id., which the Court adopted when it entered its findings of fact and conclusions of law concerning the Chapter 93A claims. [ECF No. 295].

         Gorillas now seeks to recover prejudgment interest, postjudgment interest, and costs. [ECF Nos. 296 and 301]. Defendants oppose Gorillas' motion and move to disallow Gorillas' bill of costs. [ECF Nos. 298 and 306]. Defendants separately seek to recover prejudgment interest, postjudgment interest, and costs, and request that the Court setoff the damages awarded to Gorillas by the damages awarded to MCF. [ECF Nos. 299 and 305]. Gorillas opposes Defendants' motion. [ECF No. 304]. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the parties' motions for prejudgment interest, grants in part and denies in part Gorillas' motion for costs, grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to disallow Gorillas' request for costs, denies Defendants' motion for costs, grants the parties' motions for postjudgment interest, and orders that the judgment against MCF be setoff by the judgment against Gorillas.[1]

         I. DISCUSSION

         A. Interest

         1. Prejudgment Interest

         Gorillas argues that it is entitled to prejudgment interest totaling $425, 949.32 on its damages award which reflects an interest rate of 12 percent beginning on September 26, 2013, the date Gorillas contends that Defendants breached the contract. [ECF No. 297 at 2-5 (citing Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, § 6C)]. In the alternative, Gorillas proposes several other dates from which prejudgment interest might accrue, which would yield prejudgment interest ranging from $397, 107.76 to $412, 362.80. [Id. at 5 n.2]. Defendants assert that prejudgment interest should not be awarded on Gorillas' damages award because it would be inequitable and punitive, and because the damages that the jury awarded to the parties accounted for the time value of money, making them whole as of the verdict date. [ECF No. 298 at 3-6]. To the extent that the Court awards prejudgment interest, MCF requests prejudgment interest on its damages as well at a rate of 12 percent, running for each unpaid invoice as of 30 days after the invoice date, which would total $98, 048.70. [ECF No. 300 at 1-2]. MCF also requests additional interest of $89.03 for each day between September 28, 2018 and the date that the Court enters judgment. [Id.].

         The Court finds that neither party is entitled to prejudgment interest on its damages award. All parties correctly recognize that Massachusetts law applies to the Court's award and the calculation of prejudgment interest. [ECF No. 298 at 3; ECF No. 300 at 1]; see Crowe v. Bolduc, 365 F.3d 86, 90 (1st Cir. 2004) (“When a plaintiff obtains a jury verdict in a diversity case in which the substantive law of the forum state supplies the rules of decision, that state's law governs the plaintiff's entitlement to prejudgment interest.”). The relevant Massachusetts prejudgment interest statute provides:

In all actions based on contractual obligations, upon a verdict, finding or order for judgment for pecuniary damages, interest shall be added by the clerk of the court to the amount of damages, at the contract rate, if established, or at the rate of twelve percent per annum from the date of the breach or demand. If the date of the breach of demand is not established, interest shall be added by the clerk of the court, at such contractual rate, or at the rate of twelve percent per annum from the date of the commencement of the action.

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, § 6C. “The statute, however, is not as ‘straightforward' or ‘mechanical' as may appear.” Spiritual Trees v. Lamson & Goodnow Mfg. Co., 424 F.Supp.2d 298, 300-01 (D. Mass. 2006) (quoting Interstate Brands Corp. v. Lily Transp. Corp., 256 F.Supp.2d 58, 62 (D.Mass.2003)). The Supreme Judicial Court stated that Section 6C:

is designed to compensate a damaged party for the loss of use or unlawful detention of money. An award of interest is made so that a person wrongfully deprived of the use of money should be made whole for his loss. The common law was particularly sensitive to the possibility that a liberal award of prejudgment interest could result in a windfall for plaintiffs amounting, in essence, to an award of punitive damages. There is nothing in G.L. c. 231, § 6C, indicating that the Legislature intended to abandon this long-standing concern.

Sterilite Corp. v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 494 N.E.2d 1008, 1011 (Mass. 1986) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

         Applying these principles, in Interstate Brands Corp. v. Lily Transp. Corp., the court found that the prevailing counterclaimant was not entitled to prejudgment interest on an award of lost contractual profits where the jury was specifically instructed “to award the present value of [the party's] lost profits, i.e., a figure that would make [the party] whole as of the date of the verdict.” 256 F.Supp.2d 58, 62 (D. Mass. 2003). The court noted that awarding prejudgment interest where the “jury's award was already adjusted to reflect the ‘time value' of money . . . would give [the counterclaimant] a double recovery windfall, which would be an inappropriate result under the statute.” Id. at 62-63; see also Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Black & Decker, Inc., No. 04-cv-10648 DPW, 2004 WL 1941352, at *8 (D. Mass. Aug. 25, 2004) (“Where the damages award to the prevailing party has itself included compensation for the lost time value of money, prejudgment interest is considered duplicative and thus inappropriate.”).

         Here, the verdict form asked the jury to award the “amount of money [that] will fairly and adequately compensate” Gorillas and MCF “for damages caused by the claims you found proven.” [ECF No. 294 at 3, 6]. As in Interstate Brands, the Court infers that the jury intended to make Gorillas and MCF whole by compensating them for the full amount of damages that each had suffered at the time of the verdict. Thus, the Court declines to award either party prejudgment interest on top of the verdict awards because “the jury effectively made ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.