Florida Supreme Court Rules Trial Courts Must Reserve Jurisdiction to Award Prejudgment Interest

Recently, a certified question essentially asking the Florida Supreme Court whether it should recede from its precedent in order to avoid the inadvertent waiver of prejudgment interest was addressed.  The question arises from the case of McGurn v. Scott, 596 So. 2d 1042 (Fla. 1992), in which the court held that the reservation of jurisdiction to award prejudgment interest in an order purporting to be a final judgment is improper because prejudgment interest is an element of damages.  Id. at 1044.  The court explained that although such a judgment is technically not a final order, it will be deemed to be final for purposes of appeal because the order grants the plaintiff the right to execute against the defendant’s assets.  Id. at 1044-45.  Further, the court stated that once an appeal is taken, the trial court then lacks jurisdiction to rule on the issue of prejudgment interest and the plaintiff will be deemed to have waived the matter of prejudgment interest.  Id. at 1045.

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