Does Interest Begin to Accrue from the Date Liability Is Established ?
In Love v. State of New York (78 NY2d 540), which involved a bifurcated trial, the Court of Appeals interpreted this statute as requiring that prejudgment interest be calculated from the date that liability is established, irrespective of the fact that damages were awarded at a later date, and regardless of who was at fault for the delay between the liability verdict and the damages verdict (see, id., at 544).
By the same token, when a plaintiff is awarded summary judgment on the issue of liability, interest begins to accrue on the date that the summary judgment order is entered, because that is the time that the plaintiff's right to compensation is "fixed in law" (Hayes v. City of New York, 264 AD2d 610, 611).
This is true even when several years have elapsed between the date of the summary judgment order and the trial on damages (see, Rohring v. City of Niagara Falls, 84 NY2d 60, 68).
Similarly, when a plaintiff is awarded a default judgment, interest begins to accrue from the date on which the order of default is entered, "because that order established defendant's liability" (Sinn v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 245 AD2d 1096).