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Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois v. Accuire, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. California

December 13, 2019

ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY OF ILLINOIS, Plaintiff,
v.
ACCUIRE, LLC, and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND THE JUDGMENT TO AWARD PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AND COSTS

          JOHN A. MENDEZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On October 21, 2019, the Court granted Zurich American Insurance Company of Illinois's (“Plaintiff”) Motion for Summary Judgment in its breach of contract claim against Accuire, LLC. (“Defendant”). Order, ECF No. 20. Less than a month after judgment was entered (Judgment, ECF No. 21), Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend the Judgment to award prejudgment interest and costs. Mot. to Am. J. (“Mot.”), ECF No. 25. Defendant did not file an opposition to this motion. The Court GRANTS Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Judgment.[1]

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The parties are familiar with the events leading up to this motion, as they were described in depth in the Court's previously issued Order. See Order, ECF No. 20. They will not be repeated here.

         II. OPINION

         A. Prejudgment Interest

         1. Legal Standard

         Awards of prejudgment interest are governed by considerations of fairness and are awarded when it is necessary to make the wronged party whole. U.S. v. Cal. State Bd. of Equalization, 650 F.2d 1127, 1132 (9th Cir. 1981) (internal citations omitted). They are “intended to compensate for the loss of use of money due as damages from the time the claim accrues until judgment is entered.” Barnard v. Theobald, 721 F.3d 1069, 1078 (9th Cir. 2013). In a case arising under federal law, they are left to the discretion of the trial court. Bd. of Equalization, 650 F.2d at 1132. But state law generally governs awards of prejudgment interest in diversity actions as “prejudgment interest is a substantive aspect of a plaintiff's claim, rather than a merely procedural mechanism.” Oak Harbor Freight Lines, Inc. v. Sears Roebuck, & Co., 513 F.3d 949, 961 (9th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations and citation omitted).

         2. Analysis

         In a breach of contract matter where the contract does not specify the legal rate of interest, California law applies a ten percent interest rate per year from the date of the breach. Cal. Civ. Code § 3289(b). The agreement in this matter does not specify the legal rate of interest (Totzke Decl., ECF No. 25-2, ¶ 9), so the ten percent interest rate should be applied.

         The breach occurred on May 12, 2016, the day Defendant owed the additional premium to Plaintiff. Totzke Decl. ¶ 6, Ex. A, p. 5. The daily interest rate on the principal amount of $491, 614.00 at ten percent per year is $134.69 per day. And 1, 257 days passed between the breach and the entry of judgment. See Judgment, ECF No. 21. The daily interest rate of $134.69 multiplied by 1, 257 days is $169, 305.33.

         Thus, the Court finds that Defendant owes Plaintiff $169, 305.33 in prejudgment interest.

         B. Costs

         1. ...


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