pre-judgment interest: CPLR 5001(a)

Scotti v Barrett, 2018 NY Slip Op 07477 [2d Dept. 2018]

On a prior appeal in this action, this Court awarded summary judgment to the plaintiff, inter alia, on the cause of action to recover damages for conversion in the sum of $69,500, representing the amount of estate funds that were wrongfully converted by the defendant Rick Barrett. The Supreme Court subsequently entered an amended judgment that awarded the plaintiff the sum of $69,500 but failed to award prejudgment interest at the statutory rate of 9% per annum on that sum. The plaintiff appeals from so much of the amended judgment as failed to award prejudgment interest at the statutory rate on the $69,500 damages award.

“The usual measure of damages for conversion is the value of the property at the time and place of conversion, plus interest” (Fantis Foods v Standard Importing Co., 49 NY2d 317, 326; see Hoffman v Dorner, 86 AD2d 651). Indeed, CPLR 5001(a) provides for the award of prejudgment interest upon sums awarded for the deprivation of or interference with another’s property, and relevant case law clearly establishes that such interest is properly awarded as part of the recovery on a cause of action sounding in conversion (see 23 E. 39th St. Mgt. Corp. v 23 E. 39th St. Dev., LLC, 134 AD3d 629, 632; Hunt v Hunt, 13 AD3d 1041, 1043; Zimmerman v Tarshis, 300 AD2d 477, 478; Eighteen Holding Corp. v Drizin, 268 AD2d 371, 372; Phillips v Catania, 188 AD2d 1029, 1030). Moreover, interest is to be awarded at the statutory rate of 9% per annum (see CPLR 5004; Zimmerman v Tarshis, 300 AD2d at 478; Phillips v Catania, 188 AD2d at 1030; Long Playing Sessions v Deluxe Labs., 129 AD2d 539, 540).

Accordingly, we remit the matter to the Supreme Court, Nassau County, for the entry of a second amended judgment that includes an award of prejudgment interest at the statutory rate of 9% per annum on the damages awarded in favor of the plaintiff on the cause of action to recover damages for conversion.

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