Calculation of Prejudgment Interest In Texas

In Zamarripa v. Sifuentes, 929 S.W.2d 655, 657 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1996, no writ), a default judgment was silent on the issue of prejudgment interest and the plaintiffs (appellees) argued the omission did not render the judgment interlocutory because prejudgment interest was mandatory in personal injury cases. The plaintiffs contended prejudgment interest was recoverable, even if not specifically awarded in the judgment, because the calculation of prejudgment interest was purely a ministerial function. Although the court of appeals agreed with this argument as a general concept, it noted that Article 5069-1.05 provided for a tolling period when a settlement offer was pending. 929 S.W.2d at 657. The tolling provisions of section 6(b) and (c) require the court to compare the amount of the settlement offer to the amount of the judgment. The provisions also require exact information on the period of time the settlement offer was pending. The record in Zamarripa indicated that written settlement offers were exchanged by the parties on more than one occasion before entry of the default judgment. Because the pending dates and amounts of such offers were not clear as part of the record, it was no mere ministerial act to calculate prejudgment interest. Id. Taking these provisions into consideration, the court of appeals was unable to ascertain from the judgment when prejudgment interest would begin to accrue. Because the calculation of prejudgment interest involved fact issues that remained unresolved by the default judgment, the judgment was not final. Zamarripa, 929 S.W.2d at 657-58.