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Cooper v. United Air Lines, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. California

June 5, 2015




Now pending before the Court is Defendant United Air Lines, Inc.'s Motion for Review of the Clerk's Taxation of Costs. (Dkt. No. 94.) After carefully considering the arguments and briefing submitted, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary, see Civ. L.R. 7-1(b), and hereby DENIES the motion for the reasons set forth below.


Plaintiff Drucilla Cooper brought this employment discrimination action against United Air Lines, Inc. ("United") alleging violation of the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206, et seq., retaliation, and discrimination on account of her age and disability. (Dkt. No. 70.) The Court granted summary judgment in United's favor and entered judgment. (Dkt. Nos. 83 & 84.)

Pursuant to the judgment, United submitted a bill of costs as required by 28 U.S.C. Section 1920, which authorizes the Court or its Clerk to tax as "costs" various "minor, incidental [litigation] expenses...." Taniguchi v. Kan.Pac. Saipan, Ltd., 132 S.Ct. 1997, 2006 (2012). United sought $9, 764.16 in costs. (Dkt. No. 85.) Plaintiff filed objections to $5, 773.47 of the costs claimed. (Dkt. No. 92.) The Clerk declined to tax $2, 416.20 of the transcript costs sought as "outside the ambit of Civil Local Rule 54-3(b)-(c)" and struck $165.61 sought in "other costs, " thereby taxing a total of $7, 182.35 in costs against Plaintiff. (Dkt. No. 93.)

United thereafter filed the underlying motion for review of the taxation of costs, which Plaintiff opposes. (Dkt. Nos. 94 & 95.)


28 U.S.C. § 1920 authorizes a judge or clerk of the district court to tax costs. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), "costs-other than attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). "Rule 54(d) creates a presumption in favor of awarding costs to prevailing parties, and it is incumbent upon the losing party to demonstrate why the costs should not be awarded." Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 178 F.3d 1069, 1079 (9th Cir. 1999). Taxable costs are listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 as follows:

(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 obtained for use in the case; (5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title; (6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

Civil Local Rule 54-3 provides additional "standards for interpreting the costs allowed under section 1920." Intermedics v. Ventritex, Co., No. 90-20233, 1993 WL 515879, at *1 (N.D.Cal. Dec. 2, 1993). Specifically, the Local Rules require a party's bill of costs to "state separately and specifically each item of taxable costs claimed." Civ. L.R. 54-1(a). Further, a party must provide an affidavit stating that the items listed are "correct and [have] been necessarily incurred in the case and that the services for which fees have been charged were actually and necessarily performed." 28 U.S.C. § 1924; see also Civ. L.R. 54-1(a) (requiring a supporting affidavit stating that "the costs are correctly stated, were necessarily incurred, and are allowable by law"). "With regard to individual itemized costs, the burden is on the party seeking costs... to establish the amount of compensable costs and expenses to which it is entitled." City of Alameda v. Nuveen Mun. High Income Opportunity Fund, No. 08-4575, 2012 WL 177566, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 23, 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).

Upon motion for review of the Clerk's taxation of costs, the Clerk's actions may be reviewed by the Court de novo. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1); Lopez v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 385 F.Supp.2d 981, 1000-1001 (N.D. Cal. 2005). The taxation of costs lies within the trial court's discretion. In re Media Vision Tech. Sees. Litig., 913 F.Supp. 1362, 1366 (N.D. Cal. 1996). "However, a district court's discretion to award costs is limited to particular types of costs enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920." In re Online DVD-Rental Antitrust Litig., 779 F.3d 914, 926 (9th Cir. 2015).


The Clerk struck two categories of costs: (1) transcript costs, and (2) costs for providing chambers copies of pleadings. United challenges both ...

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