By: Thomas S. Tripodianos Published: August 2008

Preverdict Interest

Question. On July 1st the parties entered into a contract under which Supplier agreed to provide Builder over the course of two years, various building supplies needed for a multi-unit development. Supplier provided Builder with materials on various dates between September 27th and November 20th but failed to do so thereafter. Builder seeks to fix the date of interest as of July 1, the contract date. Supplier, in turn, argues that interest should be computed on a monthly basis between December of the first year and December of the second year or from January 1, of the second year, the intermediate date of the contract. What’s the correct date?

Answer. It depends on how the judge feels that day. The statute vests the court with broad discretion in determining a reasonable date from which to award interest

CPLR 5001(b) provides that in a case like this where damages are incurred at various points in time, pre-verdict interest “shall be computed upon each item from the date it was incurred or upon all of the damages from a single reasonable intermediate date”.

In the case at hand, January 1st, is the approximate halfway point between the time that Builder initially began to incur damages due to Supplier's breach of the contract and the time that Builder ceased to incur damages due to the expiration of the contract. Arguably, the selection of this date makes logical sense under the facts of this case.

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