There are two separate bases for an award of prejudgment interest: an enabling statute, or general
principles of equity. Johnson & Higgins of Texas, Inc. v. Kenneco Energy, Inc., 962 S.W.2d 507 (Tex. 1998);
Granite Const. Co. v. Mendoza, 816 S.W.2d 756 (Tex.App.-Dallas 1991, writ denied).
If Elizabeth's recovery is predicated on a statutory right, she is not required to plead a claim for prejudgment
interest. City of Houston v. Fletcher, 166 S.W.3d 479, 493 (Tex.App.-Eastland 2005, pet.denied); Olympia
Marble & Granite v. Mayes, 17 S.W.3d 437, 441 (Tex.App.-Houston[1 Dist.] 2000, no pet.)(citing Benadividez
v. Isles Const. Co., 726 S.W.2d 23, 25 (Tex. 1987)).
Footnote 8 The Finance Code does not apply to prejudgment interest recoverable for delinquent taxes or
unpaid child support which are governed by Chapter 33 of the Texas Tax Code, and Texas Family Code
Section 157.265, respectively. Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 304.301, 304.302 (Vernon 2006).
Until its repeal in 1997, Article 5069-1.06 of the Texas Revised Civil Statutes provided for prejudgment
interest in contract cases. Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann. Art. 5069-1.03 (Vernon 1987 & Supp. 2007). The statute
now governing prejudgment interest is the Texas Finance Code. Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 301.001-304.302
(Vernon 2006); de la Garza v. de la Garza, 185 S.W.3d 924, 927-29 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.). The
Finance Code provides for the recovery of prejudgment interest in cases involving extensions of credit,
wrongful death, personal injury, property damage or condemnation. Tex. Fin. Code Ann. §§ 302.002,
304.101, 304.201 (Vernon 2006).
Unlike its predecessor, Finance Code § 302.002 is silent on contract cases not involving extensions
of credit. Accordingly, we believe the provision does not apply to contracts where there is no extension of
credit. de la Garza, 185 S.W.3d at 927-29. While the Agreement requires financial inventories and prescribes
the characterization and division of property, its terms do not contemplate any extensions of credit.
Therefore, we conclude Section 302.002 does not provide Elizabeth with the means to recover prejudgment
interest. Id.; Natural Gas Clearinghouse v. Midgard Energy Co., 113 S.W.3d 400, 413 (Tex.App.-Amarillo
2003, pet. denied). Since this case does not involve claims for wrongful death, personal injury, property
damage or condemnation, Elizabeth cannot seek support from either Section 304.101 (providing
prejudgment interest in cases of wrongful death, personal injury or property damage) or Section 304.201
(providing prejudgment interest in condemnation proceedings).
Because we have determined that neither the Agreement nor any enabling statute provides for Elizabeth to
recover prejudgment interest, we now turn to common law to see if Elizabeth's general prayer for relief will
support the trial court's award. Courts do have the equitable power to award prejudgment interest.
Perry Roofing Co. v. Olcott, 744 S.W.2d 929 (Tex.1988); Rio Grande Land & Title Co. v. Light, 758 S.W.2d
747 (Tex. 1988) (per curiam). However, where prejudgment interest is sought at common law as an
element of the damages, a plaintiff must plead for it. Benavidez, 726 S.W.2d at 25 (citing Republic Nat.
Bank v. Northwest Nat. Bank, 578 S.W.2d 109, 117 (Tex. 1978)). A prayer for general relief does not suffice.
Id.; Vidor Walgreen Pharm. v. Fisher, 728 S.W.2d 353 (Tex. 1987)(per curiam).
We conclude the trial court erred in awarding prejudgment interest to Elizabeth. We sustain Edward's sixth
issue. Issue six contends that an award of prejudgment interest is improper because Elizabeth did not plead
for prejudgment interest and there is no statutory basis to support her recovery. We agree. The trial court's
award of prejudgment interest, therefore, is reversed and judgment rendered that Elizabeth recover no
ELIZABETH W. BUFKIN v. EDWARD O. BUFKIN, JR.; from Dallas County; 5th district (05-06-01719-CV, 259
SW3d 343, 07-01-08) 2 petitions, pet. denied Nov. 2008)(prejudgment interest, admissibility of expert
testimony, harm analysis of evidentiary ruling by trial court, divorce fault grounds, prenup, stipulation