District Courtroom Denies Prejudgment Curiosity Accrued Throughout COVID-19 Delay

In Pierce Manufacturing, Inc., et. al v. E-One, Inc. et. al, 8-18-cv-00617 (MDFL Feb. 16, 2022) (Thomas P. Barber) the Courtroom denied partially plaintiffs’ movement for pre-judgment curiosity that will have accrued throughout a keep as a consequence of COVID-19. Within the case, Defendants have been discovered answerable for infringing sure claims in Plaintiffs’ asserted patent and the jury awarded Plaintiffs damages of $1,287,854 in misplaced income and $170,500 in affordable royalties. The events didn’t dispute that an award of prejudgment and post-judgment curiosity was applicable together with the damages award. As an alternative, the dispute was to the accrual time, charge, and calculation of prejudgment curiosity.

Defendants argued that any prejudgment curiosity calculation ought to exclude the time period that the trial was continued as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. The case was initially schedule for trial on March 23, 2020.  Ten days earlier than trial, Plaintiffs moved to proceed the trial date due to a journey ban as a result of COVID-19 state of affairs effecting its witnesses. Defendants opposed Plaintiffs’ movement, citing their expended investments in preparation for trial and the truth that trial was lower than two weeks away.  At the moment, the Courtroom famous it was nonetheless working and trials have been going down. Nonetheless, the Courtroom nonetheless granted Plaintiffs’ movement for a continuance, and the rescheduled jury trial commenced the next 12 months on June 7, 2021.

In contemplating the problem, the Courtroom first famous it’s awarded broad discretion in awarding prejudgment curiosity. The Courtroom cited authority holding, “it could be applicable to restrict prejudgment curiosity, or maybe deny it altogether, the place the patent proprietor has been answerable for undue delay in prosecuting the lawsuit. There could also be different circumstances by which it could be applicable to not award prejudgment curiosity.” Thus, in awarding prejudgment curiosity, the Courtroom should be conscious that “[p]rejudgment curiosity has no punitive, however solely compensatory, functions.”

In different phrases, the aim of prejudgment curiosity is to put a plaintiff “within the state of affairs [it] would have occupied if the unsuitable had not been dedicated.”  The Courtroom additionally famous it’s granted broad discretion to restrict prejudgment curiosity when the celebration searching for prejudgment curiosity is the one which requested a keep or continuance that resulted in a delay of the trial. Subsequently, the Courtroom reasoned that Plaintiffs are usually not entitled to prejudgment curiosity for the interval of the continuance Plaintiffs’ requested.

Accordingly, the Courtroom held the award of prejudgment curiosity shall accrue from July 15, 2017 (the date of first alleged infringement) by way of March 23, 2020 (the unique trial date) and from June 7, 2021 (the date the reschedule trial started) by way of July 28, 2021 (the date of Judgment), excluding the interval from March 23, 2020, to June 7, 2021.

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