This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Lone Star Technologies, Inc.,
Filed June 28, 2005
Hennepin County District Court
File No. CT-01-18740
Thomas W. Tinkham, Daniel J. Brown, Dorsey & Whitney, LLP, 50 South Sixth Street, Suite 1500, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondents)
Jeffrey J. Keyes, Robin Caneff Gipson, Briggs & Morgan, P.A., 80 South Eighth Street, Suite 2200, Minneapolis, MN 55402; and
David F. Herr, Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand, LLP, 3300 Wells Fargo Center, 90 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402-4140; and
George C. Lamb, III,
Baker Botts, LLP,
Considered and decided by Randall, Presiding Judge; Kalitowski, Judge; and Huspeni, Judge.
Appellants challenge the awards of preverdict interest and costs to respondents. Because we conclude that respondents are entitled to preverdict interest and see no abuse of discretion in the award of costs, we affirm.
Inc., North Star Steel Co., and Universal Tubular Services, Inc. brought this
action for breach of an asset purchase agreement against appellants Lone Star
Technologies, Inc. and Star Seamless, Inc.
Respondents claimed damages of approximately $50 million. A jury awarded them $32 million; that award
was appealed and affirmed. Cargill,
Inc. v. Lone Star Technologies, Inc., No. A03-1381 (Minn. App.
Before the decision of this court affirming the jury award was filed, the district court awarded respondents $993,933.08 in preverdict interest, with postverdict interest of $3,506.85 per diem, and $72,191.06 in costs. Appellants now challenge the preverdict interest and costs awards on the grounds that respondents are not entitled to preverdict interest and that the district court abused its discretion in awarding as costs the travel expenses for depositions and one-half the mediator’s fee.
D E C I S I O N
1. Preverdict Interest
award of interest pursuant to
(a) [w]hen a judgment or award is for the recovery of money, including a judgment for the recovery of taxes, interest from the time of the verdict, award, or report until judgment is finally entered shall be computed by the court administrator or arbitrator as provided in clause (c) and added to the judgment or award.
(b) . . . preverdict . . . interest on pecuniary damages shall be computed as provided in clause (c) from the time of the commencement of the action . . . .
The word “shall” is mandatory. Minn. Stat. § 645.44, subd. 16 (2004). Therefore, respondents had a statutory entitlement to the preverdict interest awarded by the district court.
Appellants argue that respondents waived their entitlement to preverdict interest by not requesting it “in [their] initial pleadings, or anytime during trial.” We conclude, however, that respondents asserted their claim of preverdict interest sufficiently in an interrogatory answer approximately four months prior to trial. Thus, the record does not support appellants’ argument.
Appellants argue in the alternative that respondents, in presenting to the jury evidence that they had suffered losses from “the delay in getting paid,” sought from the jury “relief tantamount to pre[verdict] interest.” Therefore, argue appellants, an award of preverdict interest would give respondents “either . . . a double recovery . . . or a second chance at a claim the jury rejected.” We disagree. The decision to award preverdict interest is not the jury’s; preverdict interest is awarded pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 549.09 (2004). Moreover, denying preverdict interest on the basis urged by appellants could result not in respondents receiving a double recovery but rather in respondents receiving no recovery at all for losses it incurred as a result of having, for a period of time, no use of funds ultimately awarded by the jury. Appellants offer no support for the view that, by presenting evidence on its loss from the delay in getting paid, a party waives its right to preverdict interest.
Appellants also challenge the preverdict interest award on a procedural basis, arguing that respondents could not seek preverdict interest when they appealed the court administrator’s decision regarding their notice for “Taxation of Costs, Disbursements, and Interest” under Minn. R. Civ. P. 54.04. Appellants argue that rule pertains only to awards of costs and disbursements, not interest, and respondents should have sought preverdict interest under Minn. R. Civ. P. 52.02, which pertains to amendment of judgments.
Again, we disagree. Minn. R. Civ. P. 54.04 refers implicitly, if
not explicitly, to interest when it mentions costs. See
2 David F. Herr & Roger S. Haydock,
Appellants provide no basis for reversing the award of statutory preverdict interest.
review a district court’s award of costs and disbursements under an
abuse-of-discretion standard. Carlson
v. Mut. Serv. Cas. Ins. Co., 527 N.W.2d 580, 584 (
The district court found that “the
$11,382.57 for travel expenses, while not itemized, seems reasonable for eleven
out-of-state depositions in
The district court also awarded respondents one-half the cost of mediation in accord with Minn. Stat. § 549.04 (2004), providing that a “prevailing party . . . shall be allowed reasonable disbursements paid or incurred.” Appellants appear to argue that any award of costs incurred for court-ordered mediation would be improper, but they cite no basis for such an argument, and we are disinclined to judicially engraft such an exclusion on to the statute. See Ullom v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 112, 515 N.W.2d 615, 617 (Minn. App. 1994) (courts cannot add to a statute what the legislature either deliberately or inadvertently omitted).
But our affirmance of the award of half the mediation costs is
not an endorsement of the district court’s reason for the award. See Katz
v. Katz, 408 N.W.2d 835, 839 (
Respondents were entitled to the awards of preverdict interest, the costs of deposition travel, and one-half the mediation fee.
* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.
 While both parties refer in their briefs to prejudgment interest, i.e., interest from the time of the verdict until the entry of judgment, their dispute actually concerns preverdict interest, i.e., interest from the commencement of the action.
 Arguably, this issue is not properly before us. This court does not address issues not presented to the district court, Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580, 582 (Minn. 1988), and respondents contend that appellants raise the issue for the first time on appeal. In their reply brief, appellants claim to have raised the issue in their memorandum opposing respondents’ motion to amend the judgment, but that document includes only one reference to Minn. R. Civ. P. 54.04: “[Respondents’] motion to add costs and disbursements to the Judgment is untimely as they did not [seek to] have them added to the original Judgment as contemplated by Minn. R. Civ. P. 54.04.” That reference does not encompass the precise issue raised on appeal. Therefore, the record does not reflect that the issue was before the district court.
 We note the de minimis nature of this award: $1,871.16 is approximately .2% of the award of preverdict interest.
 We note that, if such evidence were admissible, appellants’ good faith in the settlement process could be inferred from presence of the $10 million termination fee clause in the parties’ agreement.