United States District Court, S.D. California
K.J.P. a minor, and K.P.P., a minor, individually, by and through their mother, LOAN THI MINH NGUYEN, who also sues individually and as successor in interest to her now deceased husband Lucky Phounsy, and KIMBERLY NANG CHANTHAPHANH, individually, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO et al., Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO
RE-TAX COSTS [DOC. NO. 201.]
MARILYN L. HUFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiffs' motion to re-tax costs.
On August 7, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a motion to re-tax costs
and asked this Court to “stay any award of costs to
Defendant pending resolution of Plaintiffs'
appeal.” (Doc. No. 201.) Santee and Lakeside Defendants
both opposed the motion. (Doc. Nos. 202 and 203.) Plaintiffs
replied to Defendants' oppositions on September 3, 2019.
(Doc. No. 203.) The Court, pursuant to its discretion under
Local Rule 7.1(d)(1), determines that Plaintiffs' motion
to re-tax costs is appropriate for resolution without oral
argument, submits the motion on the parties' papers, and
vacates the hearing currently scheduled for September 9,
2019. The Court, in its discretion, finds this is the kind of
extraordinary case that warrants denying costs and therefore
GRANTS in part the motion to re-tax costs.
Accordingly, each party must bear their own costs in this
Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the facts and
procedural history of this case, which are set forth in
detail in the Court's April 12, 2019 Opinion and Order.
(Doc. No. 171.) In that opinion the Court granted summary
judgment for the Santee and Lakeside defendants. Subsequently
on May 24, 2019, the Court entered judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) in favor of Santee and
Lakeside Defendants. (Doc. No. 180.)
29, 2017, Santee Defendants filed their bill of costs in the
amount of $29, 599.04. (Doc. No. 182.) On June 7, 2019
Lakeside Defendants filed their bill of costs in the amount
of $22, 229.14. (Doc. No. 191.) That same day, Plaintiff
filed a notice of appeal. (Doc. No. 185.) On July 5, 2019 an
opposition to the bill of costs was filed by Plaintiffs.
9, 2019 the Clerk of Court presided over a hearing regarding
taxation of costs. (Doc. No. 199.) On August 2, 2019 the
clerk awarded costs in the amount of $18, 705.64 for the
Lakeside Defendants and $23, 282.54 for the Santee
Defendants. (Doc. Nos. 199 and 200.)
district court reviews the Clerk's Bill of Costs de novo.
Jardin v. DATAllegro, Inc., No. 08-CV-1462-IEG WVG,
2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 117517, 2011 WL 4835742, at *1 (S.D.
Cal. Oct. 12, 2011). “Unless a federal statute, these
rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs-other than
attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing
party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1); see also 28
U.S.C. § 1920; CivLR 54.1(a). This rule creates a
presumption in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing
party. Champion Produce, Inc. v. Ruby Robinson Co.,
342 F.3d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 2003).
Court may, however, deny costs at its discretion, in cases
where it would be “inappropriate or inequitable to
award costs.” Ass'n of Mexican-Am. Educators v.
California, 231 F.3d 572, 593 (9th Cir. 2000).
“Proper grounds for denying costs include (1) a losing
party's limited financial resources; (2) misconduct by
the prevailing party; and (3) the chilling effect of imposing
. . . high costs on future civil rights litigants, as well as
(4) whether the issues in the case were close and difficult;
(5) whether the prevailing party's recovery was nominal
or partial; (6) whether the losing party litigated in good
faith; and (7) whether the case presented a landmark issue of
national importance.” Quan v. Comput. Scis.
Corp., 623 F.3d 870, 888-89 (9th Cir. 2010) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Champion Produce,
342 F.3d at 1022), abrogated on other grounds by Fifth
Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 134 S.Ct. 2459 (2014). If
a court refuses to award taxable costs to the prevailing
party, the court must provide its reasons for doing so.
Produce, Inc., 342 F.3d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 2003)
MOTION TO RETAX COSTS
argue, and the Court agrees, that costs should not be
assessed because (1) the issues in this case were
“close and complex”; (2) assessing costs under
these circumstances would chill future civil rights
litigation; and (3) Plaintiffs have very limited financial
resources. (Doc. No. 201-1 at 4-5.)
Whether the Issues in the Case were Close and
argues that because the issues of this case were “close
and complex” that the Court should decline to award
fees. Although there is no uniform standard as to what makes
a case “close and difficult, ” courts have
employed a variety of approaches in making this
determination. For instance, one court found a case
“close and difficult” after taking into account
the length of the decision (ninety-six pages) and the large
number of parties involved in the case (twenty-three
plaintiffs). Rivera v. NIBCO, 701 F.Supp.2d 1135,
1144 (E.D. Cal. 2010). Another court suggested that a case
might properly be deemed “close and difficult” if
it involved a “long and complicated trial” or
turned on a “determination of credibility at