Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

When is a plaintiff/creditor entitled to pre-judgment interest under Texas law?

Prejudgment interest is recoverable as a matter of right when an ascertainable sum of money is found due and payable at a definite date before judgment. Jarrin v. Sam White Oldsmobile Co., 929 S.W.2d 21, 24 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1996, writ denied); see, e.g., Henry Bldg., Inc. v. Milam, No. 05-99-01400-CV, 2001 WL 246882, at *3–4 (Tex. App.—Dallas Mar. 14, 2001, pet. denied) (holding that trial court erred by awarding contractor six-percent-per-year prejudgment interest instead of one and one-half percent per month prejudgment interest under section 28.004(b)).

A general prayer for prejudgment interest sufficiently invokes a statutory right to such interest. Benavidez v. Isles Constr. Co., 726 S.W.2d 23, 25 (Tex.1987); Olympia Marble & Granite v. Mayes, 17 S.W.3d 437, 441 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2000, no pet.). Because the plaintiff is entitled to prejudgment interest based on a prayer for general relief alone, a plaintiff need not specifically plead prejudgment interest if the claim falls within the scope of a statute authorizing pre-judgment interest. Olympia Marble & Granite, 17 S.W.3d at 441; see e.g. Talley Constr. Co. v. Rodriguez, 01-03-01147-CV, 2006 WL 908180 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 6, 2006, no pet.) (holding that trial court did not err in awarding claimant eighteen percent per year in pre-judgment interest under section 28.004(b) because claimant’s pleading included prayer for general relief).
SOURCE: HOUSTON COURT OF APPEALS   - 01-10-00704-CV - 10/27/11

The Finance Code provides that the consumer credit commissioner shall determine the postjudgment interest rate to apply to money judgments. TEX. FIN. CODE ANN. § 304.003(c)(2). The interest rate published by the consumer credit commissioner for judgments issued in May 2010 was five percent per year.