United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO REVIEW COSTS
Re: Dkt. No. 124
M. Ryu United States Magistrate Judge
Nyla Moujaes (“Plaintiff”) moves for review of
the $3, 517.25 cost bill that was taxed against her following
a jury trial in this case. [Docket No. 124]. Defendants
Officer David B. Wasserman and Sergeant Gary Buckner
(“Defendants”) oppose. [Docket No. 126]. The
court finds this matter appropriate for resolution without
oral argument. See Civ. L.R. 7-1(b). Having
considered the parties' submissions, the court GRANTS
Plaintiff's motion and DECLINES to award costs for the
reasons stated herein.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
filed this civil rights action alleging that Defendants
violated her federal constitutional rights in connection with
a traffic stop that took place on July 14, 2013. On that
night, Plaintiff was driving in a car with her girlfriend on
Mission Street in San Francisco, when she was pulled over
Defendants for making an illegal left turn. What occurred
during the traffic stop was the subject of much dispute.
However, it is undisputed that Plaintiff suffered a
dislocated shoulder from the incident that required emergency
brought claims against Defendants and other individual
officers pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for unlawful
seizure, wrongful arrest, and excessive force. Plaintiff also
asserted a Monell claim for municipal liability
against the City and County of San Francisco. The court
granted summary judgment on the claims against the City and
County of San Francisco, Plaintiff's unlawful seizure and
arrest claims, and claims against certain individual officer
defendants, but denied summary judgment on the excessive
force claims against Wasserman and Buckner. See Nyla
Moujaes v. San Francisco City & Cty., No.
15-CV-03129-DMR, 2016 WL 4702671, at *10 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 8,
case proceeded to a week-long trial, during which the parties
presented numerous witnesses, experts, and evidence. The jury
returned a verdict in favor of Wasserman and Buckner.
See Jury Verdict [Docket No. 114].
the jury's verdict, Defendants filed a timely bill of
costs in the amount of $9, 922.41. See Bill of Costs
[Docket No. 120]. Plaintiff objected. See
Plaintiff's Objections to Bill of Costs [Docket No. 121].
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920(3) and Civil Local Rule
54-3, the Clerk disallowed $6, 405.16, and reduced the cost
bill to $3, 517.25. See Bill of Costs [Docket No.
now moves this court to review the final cost bill of $3,
517.25, and requests that the court decline to award any
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), “[u]nless a
federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides
otherwise, costs -- other than attorney's fees -- should
be allowed to the prevailing party.” Rule 54(d)
therefore creates a “presumption for awarding costs to
the prevailing party.” Draper v. Rosario, 836
F.3d 1072, 1087 (9th Cir. 2016) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). However, this “allowance [of
costs] to the prevailing party is not . . . a rigid
rule.” Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock & Repair
Corp., 328 U.S. 275, 283-84 (1946); see also Ayala
v. Pac. Mar. Ass'n, No. C08-0119 TEH, 2011 WL
6217298, at *1 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2011) (“In order to
overcome the presumption, a losing party must show that to
award costs to the prevailing party would be unjust.”)
(citation omitted). A district court has “discretion to
refuse to award costs.” Ass'n of Mexican-Am.
Educators v. State of Cal., 231 F.3d 572, 591 (9th Cir.
2000) (en banc). “That discretion is not
unlimited.” Id. “A district court must
specify reasons for its refusal to award costs.”
Id. at 592 (citation and internal quotation marks
explained by the Ninth Circuit, “[a]ppropriate reasons
for denying costs include: (1) the substantial public
importance of the case, (2) the closeness and difficulty of
the issues in the case, (3) the chilling effect on future
similar actions, (4) the plaintiff's limited financial
resources, and (5) the economic disparity between the
parties.” Escriba v. Foster Poultry Farms,
Inc., 743 F.3d 1236, 1247-48 (9th Cir. 2014). This
list is not “exhaustive . . . of good reasons for
declining to award costs, but rather a starting point for
analysis.” Id. at 1248 (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted).
argues that the court should decline to award costs because
all five factors identified by the Ninth Circuit in
Escriba support such a result. Defendants oppose,
arguing that none of the Escriba factors weighs in
favor of denying costs in this case. As discussed below, the
court finds that at least four of the Escriba
factors support the denial of a cost award.
The Substantial ...