A Florida appellate court recently held that an insured is not entitled to prejudgment interest when the amount of loss is determined at trial. Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp v. Alvarez, 2015 WL 6575711 (Fla. 2d DCA Oct. 30, 2015).
The insurer issued an all-risk homeowners’ policy to the insureds under which the insureds made a claim. The insurer denied the claim. The insureds filed a breach of contract suit, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of the insureds finding that the insurer did not meet its burden of proving that an excluded peril caused the damage. The trial court entered judgment in favor of the insureds, but denied the insureds’ request for prejudgment interest. The insureds appealed the prejudgment interest ruling.
On appeal, the insureds argued that they were entitled to prejudgment interest from a point prior to the verdict. The appellate court disagreed, noting that the claim for prejudgment interest was first raised with the trial court after the jury had returned its verdict. The appellate court concluded that because the jury instructions and the verdict form asked the jury to determine the amount of loss by establishing the cost to repair the damage, there was no evidence to support the position that the jury was determining the amount of the loss for a date other than the date of the verdict. Thus, the appellate court held that the jury resolved the dispute as to the cost of the repair and liquidated the claim as of the date of the verdict.