Monday, February 14, 2011

Defendant of Frivolous Lawsuit is Entitled to Award of Pre-Judgment Interest on Attorneys' Fee Award

The magistrate judge recommended granting defendant's motion for pre-judgment interest despite plaintiffs' argument that such an award would constitute "piling on." "Apart from the fact that the institution of the litigation by [plaintiffs] was, itself, wrongful and thus was the efficient cause of all that occurred thereafter, [plaintiffs'] argument fails to acknowledge that the purpose of an award of fees or of pre-judgment interest is compensatory, not punitive. Hence it is quite beside the point that the patent rights -- that were never [plaintiffs'] in the first place -- have been declared unenforceable. [Plaintiffs have] no more been punished . . . than is a person who is required to return stolen property to its owner. And [plaintiffs have] not been punished in the slightest by having to compensate [defendant] for the losses caused by [plaintiffs'] filing of a suit [they] had no right to bring."

Nilssen, et. al. v. General Electric Company, et. al., 1-06-cv-04155 (ILND February 10, 2011, Order) (Cole, M.J.)

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