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In Brown v. Office of the Commissioner of Probation, decided yesterday, the Appeals Court addressed “the novel issue of whether a plaintiff who recovers punitive damages as part of a judgment under the provisions of G. L. c. 151B, § 9, against a subdivision of the Commonwealth may be awarded postjudgment interest on that award and on the award of attorney’s fees and costs, or whether sovereign immunity bars such interest.”

After discussing earlier cases involving compensatory damages, the court said, “In our view, the considerations that apply to the loss of use of money awarded to compensate for lost earnings are significantly different from those involving a delay in receiving a punitive damage award which is not designed to compensate but rather to punish.”

The court went on to hold that sovereign immunity had not been waived for postjudgment interest on awards of punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs, and thus the plaintiff could not be awarded that interest.

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