CPLR 5001 and 5002

Kachkovskiy v Khlebopros, 2018 NY Slip Op 05671 [2d Dept 2018]

We agree with the Supreme Court's determination that the plaintiff was not entitled to prejudgment interest. CPLR 5001(a) provides that interest shall be recovered upon a sum awarded for a breach of contract. CPLR 5001 further mandates that "[i]nterest shall be computed from the earliest ascertainable date the cause of action existed" (CPLR 5001[b]). "Where such damages were incurred at various times, 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" (CPLR 5001[b]; see Baer v Anesthesia Assoc. of Mount Kisco, LLP, 57 AD3d 817, 819; Hayden v P. Zarkadas, P.C., 18 AD3d 500, 501; 155 Henry Owners Corp. v Lovlyn Realty Co., 231 AD2d 559, 560-561). CPLR 5001 further provides that "[t]he date from which interest is to be computed shall be specified in the verdict, report or decision" (CPLR 5001[c]). With limited exception, "[i]f a jury is discharged without specifying the date, the court upon motion shall fix the date" (id.). The party seeking prejudgment interest bears the burden of demonstrating the date from which interest should be computed (see Matter of Kelligrew, 63 AD3d 1064, 1066; see also Siegel, NY Prac § 411 at 720 [5th ed 2011]).

Here, the plaintiff failed to demonstrate when the damages were incurred. Under the particular circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court's determination that the damages were not incurred until the jury rendered its verdict was warranted (see generally Lee v Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, Inc., 592 F2d 39 [2d Cir]; accord Siegel, NY Prac § 411 at 720 [5th ed]; cf. Matter of Kelligrew, 63 AD3d at 1066). Accordingly, we agree with the court's determination to deny that branch of the plaintiff's posttrial cross motion which sought prejudgment interest pursuant to CPLR 5001.

We also agree with the Supreme Court's determination to deny that branch of the plaintiff's posttrial cross motion which sought prejudgment interest pursuant to CPLR 5002. That statute provides that "[i]nterest shall be recovered upon the total sum awarded . . . from the date the verdict was rendered . . . to the date of entry of final judgment" (CPLR 5002). Here, however, the defendant tendered the total amount due under the verdict, $81,000, on the same date that the verdict was returned. Under the circumstances, the defendant's tender of the verdict amount prevented the accrual of interest under CPLR 5002 (see O'Rourk v Berner, 249 AD2d 975, 976; Meiselman v Allstate Ins. Co., 197 AD2d 561, 561-562; see also 10-5001 Weinstein-Korn-Miller, NY Civ Prac CPLR ¶ 5001.10).

Furthermore, the Supreme Court properly declined to award the plaintiff an attorney's [*4]fee. "Under the general rule, the prevailing party in litigation may not collect his or her counsel fees unless supported by statute, court rule, or written agreement of the parties" (Rosenthal v Rosenthal, 151 AD3d 773, 774; see Markham Gardens, L.P. v 511 9th, LLC, 143 AD3d 949, 953). Here, the plaintiff failed to establish that he was entitled to recover an attorney's fee under the parties' agreements (see Fitzpatrick v Animal Care Hosp., PLLC, 104 AD3d 1078, 1081). Moreover, the court properly concluded that the plaintiff did not receive substantial relief, so as to warrant the conclusion that he prevailed on a central claim (see Chainani v Lucchino, 94 AD3d 1492, 1494).

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