Brandywine Smyrna, Inc. v. Millennium Builders, LLC, No. 53, 2011 (Del. Supr., Dec. 9, 2011), read Delaware Supreme Court opinion here.
Issue Addressed: This decision addresses the issue of when prejudgment interest is appropriate in a breach of contract case, as compared to being part of a tort recovery.
This decision reversed a judgment of the Superior Court which awarded damages after an eight-day trial. The sole issue on appeal was whether the decision not to grant prejudgment interest on the amounts awarded by the jury was appropriate. The Supreme Court in this decision remanded for the trial court to determine the amount of prejudgment interest. The Supreme Court distinguished Section 2301(d) of Title 6 of the Delaware Code which relates to prejudgment interest in tort actions only and only applies to require the award of prejudgment interest when a settlement offer by a plaintiff is less than the amount of damages awarded at trial.
In this case, however, the claims were also based on contract theories, and the demand letter sent prior to the trial specifically clarified that the right to prejudgment interest was not being waived and that the prejudgment interest claim was not limited to Section 2301(d). The Delaware Supreme Court cited to one of its prior decisions to support its conclusion that one is entitled to prejudgment interest under the Delaware law even in breach of contract cases.