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United National Maintenance, Inc., A Nevada Corporation v. Deny San Diego Convention Center Costs Entirely Corporation

January 2, 2013

UNITED NATIONAL MAINTENANCE, INC., A NEVADA CORPORATION,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
DENY SAN DIEGO CONVENTION CENTER COSTS ENTIRELY CORPORATION, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION,
DEFENDANT.



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

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO RETAX COSTS; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO

Defendant San Diego Convention Center Corporation, Inc. ("SDC") moves the Court to retax costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) and Local Civil Rule 54.1.h. (Doc. No. 273). Specifically, SDC seeks review of the following costs denied in the Clerk of Court's order: (1) $10,782.49 for hearing and trial transcript costs; (2) $21,350.40 for maintenance of a database containing e-discovery production; and (3) $1,968.74 for transcript and video editing for use at trial. Plaintiff United National Maintenance, Inc. ("United") opposes SDC's motion, and instead asks that the Court exercise its discretion in denying recovery of any costs by SDC. (Doc. No. 276). For the reasons set forth below, SDC's motion to retax costs is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and United's request for denial of all taxable costs is DENIED.

Background

The complaint in this case was filed on November 13, 2007. (Doc. No. 1). United pled four antitrust violations under the Sherman Act and three state law claims, including one under the California Business and Professions Code. The action arose in response to a July 1, 2007 policy by SDC that required all cleaning services at trade shows at the San Diego Convention Center be performed exclusively by SDC's in-house cleaning staff.

The case proceeded to trial on March 21, 2011. After a lengthy trial, on May 4, 2011, the jury returned a verdict for United on the Intentional Interference with Contract Claim. The jury did not reach a verdict on United's remaining claims. SDC subsequently filed a motion seeking a new trial and a motion for judgment as a matter of law. (Doc. No. 239). United also filed a motion for a permanent injunction (Doc. No. 240-1). By order entered September 5, 2012, the Court granted in part and denied in part SDC's motion for a new trial (Doc. No. 261), granted SDC's motion for judgment as a matter of law (Doc. No. 262), and denied United's motion for a permanent injunction (Doc. No. 263).

Thereafter, the Clerk issued an order taxing costs in favor of SDC and against United in the total amount of $62,532.02. (Doc. No. 272). SDC timely filed this motion to retax costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54 and Local Civil Rule 54.1.

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 by 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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