Post-Judgment Interest Rate Applies When Judgment is "Meaningfully Ascertained"

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In NML Capital Ltd v. The Republic of Argentina, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that Argentina was liable for prejudgment contract interest only through the date on which the District Court first determined liability in a final judgment, and not through to a later date on which that judgment was partially modified as a result of the appeals process.

In 1998, Argentina issued a series of Floating Rate Accrual Notes scheduled to mature in April 2005. The Notes provided for a semiannual interest payment to the bond holder “until the principal hereof is paid or made available for payment.” In December 2001, Argentina declared a debt moratorium and refused to make the interest payments, and in April 2005 it refused to pay the principal on the Notes. Plaintiff bondholders sued, and while Argentina conceded that some amount was due to the bondholders, it contested the inclusion of interest payments scheduled after April 2005 (or, where the bondholders validly exercised the right to accelerate the Notes, scheduled after the date of acceleration). In June 2009, the District Court held that only those bonds which were not accelerated had continued to accumulate interest at the high rate set forth in the bond – the remaining bonds accumulated interest at the lower statutory rate. The New York Court of Appeals, on questions certified to it by the Second Circuit, disagreed and answered that all of the bonds accumulated interest at the note-prescribed rate.

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