Even after winning
a judgment, payment (and justice) may be further
delayed. “Post-judgment interest”
compensates the successful party for the loss
of use of money from the trial court’s original
judgment until the time the judgment is actually
paid—including the period during which appeals
are pending. Post-judgment interest compensates
the successful party for the delay in receiving
the judgment owed.
Unlike pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest
is governed exclusively by statute. Many states
have adopted a fixed rate of postjudgment interest.
However, these statutory prescriptions do not
necessarily mean that post-judgment interest is
always a straightforward affair—as shown
in the example below.
Here are some states' approaches to the question
of awarding post-judgment interest:
- California provides for a fixed interest rate
of 10% per annum for postjudgment interest.
Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 685.010 (2001).
- North Carolina applies a statutory rate of
8%. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 24-4 to -5.
- Massachusetts provides that post-judgment
interest shall be the same rate as the prejudgment
interest rate set by the trial court. Mass.
Ann. Laws ch. 235, § 8 (2002).
- Under federal law, postjudgment interest is
set at the 52 week Treasury Bill rate. 28 U.S.C.
Plaintiff wins a jury verdict in her favor on
an employment discrimination suit. The district
court enters judgment, awarding plaintiff $90,000
in damages.The court also awards attorney’s
fees, but postpones setting the fees until a later
time (presumably after the court reviews the attorneys’
billing records). Because of court backlog and
delay, the court determines the fees and related
expenses 16 months after the judgment date. (More>>)