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Paul Bashkin v. San Diego County; et al

October 5, 2012

PAUL BASHKIN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SAN DIEGO COUNTY; ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Anthony J. Battaglia U.S. District Judge

ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO RE-TAX COSTS [Doc. No. 186]

The Plaintiff, Paul Bashkin, filed a motion to re-tax Defendants' bill of costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) and Local Civil Rule 54.1.h. (Doc. No. 186.) The hearing set for October 12, 2012 is hereby VACATED as the Court finds ths motion appropriate for submission on the papers without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7.1.d.1. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is DENIED.

Background

Upon application of County of San Diego, Howard Kluge, and Brett Garrett ("Defendants"), a hearing for taxation of costs was held on August 2, 2012 at 10:00am. Plaintiff Paul Bashkin appeared. James Chapin, representing Defendants, appeared telephonically. (Doc. No. 179.) On August 8, 2012, Paul Bashkin brought to the attention of the Clerk's Office that the amount taxing costs did not coincide with the written indications of the Order Taxing Costs. After further review of the Order Taxing Costs (Doc. No. 179), the Order was amended to reflect the written indications. (Doc. No. 181.)

On August 31, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion to re-tax Defendants' bill of costs (Doc. No. 186), which were taxed in an Amended Order Taxing Costs on August 8, 2012 (Doc. No. 181.) Specifically, Plaintiff objects to the following portions of the Court's order: (1) taxation of Defendants' deposition costs; (2) taxation of Defendants' claimed witness fee; and (3) taxation of Defendants' "CD Transcription" Exhibit. (Doc. No. 186, p. 2-3.) On September 17, 2012, Defendants filed an opposition to the motion to re-tax costs. (Doc. No. 189.)

Legal Standard

Under Rule 54(d), this Court has broad discretion to vacate or amend the Clerk's decision to tax costs. Dawson v. City of Seattle, 435 F.3d 1054, 1070 (9th Cir. 2006). In exercising this discretion, the Court is mindful that a losing party bears the burden of establishing a reason to avoid taxation of costs. Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit, 335 F.3d 932, 944--45 (9th Cir. 2003). Although a district court must "specify reasons" for its refusal to tax costs to the losing party, the Court need not "specify reasons for its decision to abide the presumption and tax costs to the losing party." Assoc. of Mexican-American Educators v. California, 231 F.3d 572, 591 (9th Cir. 2000); Save Our Valley, 335 F.3d at 945.

Under Rule 54(d), trial courts do not have discretion to tax whatever costs seem appropriate. Courts are limited by 28 U.S.C. § 1920 in which costs they can tax. Section 1920 "enumerates the expenses a federal court may tax as costs under the discretionary authority found in Rule 54(d)." Alflex Corp. v. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. 914 F.2d 175, 176 (9th Cir. 1990) (citing Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437 (1987). Section 1920 provides:

A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as costs the following:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;

(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;

(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;

(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily ...


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