United States District Court, D. Minnesota
C. Tostrud United States District Court.
matter is before the Court on the motion for default judgment
filed by Plaintiff Sunteck Transport Company, LLC
(“Sunteck”). ECF No. 9. The Court held a hearing
on the motion on March 18, 2019. The summons and complaint
were served on Defendant King's Express, Inc.
(“King's”) on November 2, 2018 via the
Secretary of State. ECF No. 5. King's has made no
appearance in this case. The clerk has entered King's
default. ECF No. 8. Sunteck has served that entry of default,
its motion for default judgment, and all papers filed in
support of its motion on King's. ECF No. 15. Sunteck has
shown that it is entitled to judgment as to carrier liability
under Count 1 of its Complaint arising under the Carmack
Amendment, 49 U.S.C. § 14706, see Compl.
¶¶ 5-15; Compl. Ex. A at 3 [ECF No. 1-1 at 3], and
for purposes of its default-judgment motion has assumed that
its breach-of-contract claim is preempted by its claim under
the Carmack Amendment, see Sunteck Br. at 5 n.1 [ECF
No. 12]. Default judgment is therefore appropriate under
after a defendant's liability is established, a plaintiff
seeking a default judgment “must still prove its actual
damages to a reasonable degree of certainty.”
Everyday Learning Corp. v. Larson, 242 F.3d 815 (8th
Cir. 2001). The evidence shows that Sunteck is entitled to
$27, 936.00 in damages, see, e.g., Compl. Ex. A at
3; Umstead Decl. ¶¶ 12, 21, 22 and Ex. A [ECF No.
13 and 13-1, respectively]; 49 U.S.C. § 14706. The
evidence further shows that Sunteck is entitled to recover
$3, 646.50 in attorney's fees and $635.20 in costs,
see Compl. Ex. A at 3; Umstead Decl. ¶ 25;
Umstead Decl. Ex. D [ECF No. 13-4].
also requests the Court award it pre- and post-judgment
interest. Specifically, it requests post-judgment interest at
a rate of 10% per annum, Compl. Prayer ¶ 3, and
pre-judgment interest at a rate of 8% per annum, as
calculated from the date of Sunteck's initial demand in
this matter, which was made on May 7, 2018, see
Sunteck Br. at 7 [ECF No. 12]; Compl. Prayer ¶ 2.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961(a), which governs
post-judgment interest rates in civil matters generally,
Sunteck will be awarded post-judgment interest “at a
rate equal to the weekly average 1-year constant maturity
Treasury yield, as published by the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System, for the calendar week
preceding”-currently 2.53%-and to be computed as
provided in 28 U.S.C. § 1961(b).
the request for pre-judgment interest, the Court possesses
broad discretion to determine such an award, and its
determination is be guided by the purpose such awards serve:
to compensate the judgment holder for the use of its money
between the date of injury and the date of judgment.
Oiness v. Walgreen Co., 88 F.3d 1025, 1033 (Fed.
Cir. 1996); Boeing Co. v. United States, 86 Fed.Cl.
303, 322 (Fed. Cl. 2009). “[C]ourts often use the
statutory interest rate of the state in which they sit,
” Glob. Traffic Techs., LLC v. Emtrac Sys.,
Inc., No. Civ. 10-4110 ADM/JJG, 2014 WL 1663420, at *16
(D. Minn. Apr. 25, 2014), aff'd in part, rev'd in
part and remanded sub nom. Glob. Traffic Techs. LLC v.
Morgan, 620 Fed. App'x 895 (Fed. Cir. 2015).
Minnesota law provides that, “[f[or a judgment or award
of $50, 000 or less . . ., the interest shall be computed as
simple interest per annum” at a rate calculated once
annually by the state court administrator using statutorily
described benchmarks. Minn. Stat. § 549.09(c)(1)(i). For
2018 and 2019, Minnesota's statutory rate on an award of
$50, 000 or less is 4%. See 2019 Interest Rates On
State Court Judgments And Arbitration Awards, available
(last accessed March 18, 2019). The Court sees no reason to
discount that statutory rate; Sunteck promptly pursued
litigation of this dispute, see Gen. Motors Corp. v.
Devex Corp., 461 U.S. 648, 655 (1983) (“undue
delay in prosecuting the lawsuit” may justify a lower
rate of pre-judgment interest), and its Complaint and
default-judgment brief provided notice to King's that it
was seeking pre-judgment interest at a higher rate than that
ultimately awarded here, Sunteck Br. at 7 [ECF No. 12];
Compl. Prayer ¶ 2. Accordingly, the Court will award
Sunteck pre-judgment interest at a rate of 4%.
on the foregoing, and on all of the files, records, and
proceedings herein, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
that Plaintiff Sunteck Transport Company, LLC's motion
for default judgment [ECF No. 9] is GRANTED IN PART
AND DENIED IN PART as follows:
1. The motion is DENIED insofar as it seeks
pre-judgment interest at a rate of 8% per annum and
post-judgment interest at a rate of 10%; the Court instead
will GRANT an award of pre-judgment
interest, calculated at a rate of 4% per annum from May 7,
2018, and also will GRANT an award of
post-judgment interest at a rate of 2.53% per annum, accruing
from the date judgment is entered in this case until the
judgment is satisfied, to be computed as described in 28
U.S.C. § 1961(b);
2. Plaintiff is ORDERED to file a
calculation of pre-judgment interest made in accordance with
this order within seven days of the date on which judgment is
entered in this matter;
3. The motion is GRANTED in all other
4. Defendant King's Express Inc. is liable to Plaintiff
in the amount of $32, 217.70, which amount includes $27,
936.00 in damages, $3, 646.50 in attorney's fees, and
$635.20 in costs, plus an amount of pre-judgment interest to
be determined following Plaintiff's post-judgment
submissions and post-judgment interest as described herein.
JUDGMENT BE ...