PREJUDGMENT INTEREST MAY ONLY BE INCLUDED UP TO THE TIME OF THE OFFER THEN COMPUTING THE THRESHOLD AMOUNT OF A FINAL JUDGMENT FOR PROPOSAL FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES.
Petri Positive Pest Control v. CCM Condominium Association, 44 Fla. L. Weekly D1135 (Fla. 4th DCA May 1, 2019):
In this case involving the computation of the final judgment amount for triggering fees pursuant to a proposal for settlement, the Fourth District explained that if it were writing on a clean slate, it would interpret the plain meaning of “judgment obtained” in section 768.79, to include prejudgment interest through the date of judgment.
However, as the Florida Supreme Court held in White v. Steak & Ale, 816 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2002), the amount of a plaintiff’s total recovery as included in its proposal amount, are fees, costs and prejudgment interest, but only those amounts which have accrued until the date of the offer of judgment. In this case, the difference in the calculation of the prejudgment interest meant the difference between plaintiffs having triggered the right to attorney’s fees, versus having falling short of that.
Because the Fourth District felt constrained by the law, it ruled that the plaintiff was not entitled to attorney’s fees pursuant to its proposal for settlement. However, the court did certify conflict with two cases which have computed prejudgment interest until the time of judgment, and also certified the question about the point at which prejudgment interest gets calculated until to the Florida Supreme Court.