RESPONDENT:Ernst & Whinney
LOCATION:Checker Gasoline Station
DOCKET NO.: 87-1201
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
CITATION: 489 US 169 (1989)
ARGUED: Nov 29, 1988
DECIDED: Feb 21, 1989
Gordon Lee Garrett, Jr. – on behalf of the Respondent
Laurie Webb Daniel – on behalf of the Petitioners
Media for Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney
Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – February 21, 1989 in Osterneck v. Ernst & Whinney
William H. Rehnquist:
The opinion of the Court in number 87-1201 Osterneck versus Ernst & Whinney will be announced by Justice Kennedy.
Anthony M. Kennedy:
This case number 87-1201 comes to us on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
After receiving a judgment partially in their favor, the petitioners filed a motion for prejudgment interest.
While the motion was pending, they also filed a notice of appeal.
That notice of appeal was ineffective if the petitioner’s motion for prejudgment interest is considered a motion to alter or amend the judgment, and the two relevant rules are the federal ruled of appellant procedures 4(a)(4) and the federal rule of civil procedure 59(e).
In an opinion filed today, we hold that a motion for discretionary prejudgment interest filed after the entry of judgment constitutes a rule 59(e) motion and therefore, petitioner’s notice of appeal was ineffective.
Our conclusion that a post-judgment motion for discretionary prejudgment interest is a rule 59(e) motion.
We help further the important goal of avoiding piecemeal of appellant review of judgments.
By preventing the appellant review before a motion for prejudgment interest is resolved.
The rule we adopt today gives added assurance that an appellant court will have the benefit of the District Court’s plenary findings with regard to the factual and legal issues that are subsumed in the decision to grant discretionary prejudgment interest.
We also reject on the record of this case petitioner’s claim that the Court of Appeals should have heard their appeal based on the unique circumstances doctrine.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.
The opinion is unanimous.