SLOAN v. 3M COMPANY et al
ORDER denying 189 Motion. Signed by JUDGE M CASEY RODGERS on 05/09/2022. (jb)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
IN RE: 3M COMBAT ARMS
Case No. 3:19md2885
This Document Relates to:
Judge M. Casey Rodgers
Magistrate Judge Gary R. Jones
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Ronald Sloan’s Rule 59(e) Motion
for Pre-Judgment Interest. ECF No. 189. Having now fully considered the parties’
arguments and applicable Kentucky law, the Court concludes that Plaintiff’s motion
is due to be DENIED.
A party may move to alter or amend a judgment to include prejudgment
interest pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). See Alhassid v. Bank of
Am., N.A., 688 Fed. App’x 753, 761 (11th Cir. 2017) (citing Osterneck v. Ernst &
Whinney, 489 U.S. 169, 175–78 (1989)). “The only grounds for granting a [Rule
59(e)] motion are newly discovered evidence or manifest errors of law or fact.”
Arthur v. King, 500 F.3d 1335, 1343 (11th Cir. 2007) (quoting In re Kellogg, 197
F.3d 116, 1119 (11th Cir. 1999)) (alterations in original). “The decision whether to
alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Rule 59(e) is ‘committed to the sound
discretion of the district judge.’” Mincey v. Head, 206 F.3d 1106, 1137 (11th Cir.
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2000) (citing Am. Home Ins. Co. v. Glen Estess & Assocs., 763 F.2d 1237, 1238–39
(11th Cir. 1985)).
Here, the Clerk entered judgment in favor of Sloan on all claims, awarding
$15,000,000 in noneconomic compensatory damages, $40,000,000 in punitive
damages, and post-judgment interest. ECF No. 186. Sloan argues that the judgment
should be altered to include prejudgment interest on his noneconomic compensatory
damages. ECF No. 190. The Court disagrees.
In a diversity case, the availability of prejudgment interest is governed by state
law. See, e.g., SEB S.A. v. Sunbeam Corp., 476 F.3d 1317, 1320 (11th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Royster Co. v. Union Carbide Corp., 737 F.2d 941, 948 (11th Cir. 1984)).
Under Kentucky law, prejudgment interest is required for liquidated claims but is
only available for unliquidated claims “in the discretion of the trial court.” Osborn
v. Griffin, 865 F.3d 417, 456 (6th Cir. 2017) (quoting Hale v. Life Ins. Co., 795 F.2d
22, 24 (6th Cir. 1986)) (applying Kentucky law). Personal injury claims for bodily
injury and pain and suffering are unliquidated claims because bodily injury and pain
and suffering cannot be “determined or calculated . . . prior to” the incident that
caused harm. See id. (quoting 3D Enters. Contracting Corp. v. Louisville & Jefferson
Cty. Metro. Sewer Dist., 174 S.W.3d 440, 450 (Ky. 2005)).
While the Kentucky Supreme Court has not answered the question of whether
prejudgment interest is available for unliquidated personal injury claims, the court
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has adopted Restatement (Second) of Torts Section 913(1), which allows
prejudgment interest for liquidated tort claims “except as stated in Subsection (2).”
See Nucor v. Gen. Elec. Corp., 812 S.W.2d 136, 144 (Ky. 1991) (quoting
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 913(1) (Am. L. Inst. 1979)). Subsection (2) states
that “[i]nterest is not allowed upon an amount found due for bodily harm, for
emotional distress or for injury to reputation.” Restatement (Second) of Torts
Absent binding precedent to the contrary1 and considering that the
Kentucky Supreme Court has already adopted Section 913(1), which explicitly
mentions “Subsection (2),” the Court finds that the Kentucky Supreme Court would
similarly adopt Section 913(2) if given the opportunity, disallowing prejudgment
interest for unliquidated personal injury claims under Kentucky law. Since all of
Sloan’s claims are unliquidated personal injury claims, the Court will not alter the
judgment to include prejudgment interest.
Accordingly, Sloan’s Rule 59(e) Motion for Pre-judgment Interest, ECF No.
189, is DENIED.
The only personal injury case Sloan cites is Countryway Ins. Co. v. Oakes, an
unpublished appellate court decision that provides no guidance on whether prejudgment interest
is available for unliquidated personal injury claims. See 2010 WL 2787915, at *2, *6 (Ky. App.
July 16, 2010) (affirming a trial court’s order to change the date of prejudgment interest from the
date of the verdict to the date of the final judgment). It is unclear from Oakes whether the trial
court even granted prejudgment interest for the noneconomic damages portion of the jury’s
award because the issue was not presented on appeal. See id. at *2. Therefore, the Court finds
this case unpersuasive in determining how the Kentucky Supreme Court would rule.
CASE NO. 7:20cv001-MCR-GRJ
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DONE AND ORDERED this 9th day of May 2022.
M. Casey Rodgers
M. CASEY RODGERS
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CASE NO. 7:20cv001-MCR-GRJ
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