Mariculture Products LTD. v. Those Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's London Individually Subscribing To Certificate No. 1395/91
In Connecticut, a prevailing party may move for postjudgment interest following a remand after an appeal. In 1991, Hurricane Bob destroyed much of the Maine fish hatchery business of the plaintiff, Mariculture Products Ltd. The defendant, Those Certain Underwriters At Lloyd's London Individually Subscribing To Certificate No. 1395/91, insured the plaintiff's inventory of fish and denied the plaintiff's formal claim of loss of $729,672 as "excessive," paying $150,000 in a settlement with the bank financing the business. The plaintiff filed an action against the defendants. Following trial, the jury returned a plaintiff's verdict on breach of contract and late payment claims awarding $445,000 in damages. The court awarded the plaintiff attorneys' fees of $487,194 and interest of $768,515. In a 2004 decision, Mariculture I, the Appellate Court reversed the judgment, in part, pertaining to prejudgment interest. In Mariculture II, the Appellate Court, in 2008, reversed the trial court's supplemental judgment granting the plaintiff postjudgment interest under C.G.S. §37-3a, holding that the parties' stipulation limited the issue of postjudgment interest to Maine law. Thereafter, the trial court granted the plaintiff postjudgment interest under a Maine statute, Me. Rev. Stat. Ann tit. 14, §1602-C. The defendants appealed challenging the postjudgment interest award. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendants first contended that the court improperly considered the plaintiff's motion for postjudgment interest under Maine's procedural law and should have applied the procedural law of the forum state, Connecticut. In Mariculture II, the defendants maintained that Maine law governed this controversy and did not distinguish between substantive and procedural laws. The Appellate Court previously stated that the interest would be decided under Maine law and was bound by that precedent. Further, the plaintiff consistently sought and did not waive its right to postjudgment interest. It was not required to request postjudgment interest under §1602-C in its complaint, during trial or the prior appeals and had the ability to move for interest following a remand under Connecticut law. The defendants' claims of surprise and prejudice were rejected. The court properly determined that the defendants failed to demonstrate the cause necessary to waive payment of interest. Large commercial insurance carriers engaged in business do not act in a vacuum, but rather are aware of the risks entailed by failing timely to pay policy awards or judgments.