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Mau v. Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc.

United States District Court, District of Hawaii

November 3, 2014

LAUREL J. MAU, Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant,
v.
MITSUNAGA & ASSOCIATES, INC., Defendant and Counter-Claimant. MITSUNAGA & ASSOCIATES, INC., Defendant and Counter-Claimant,
v.
LAUREL J. MAU, Plaintiff and Counter-Defendant

For Laurel J. Mau, Plaintiff, Counter Defendant: Carl H. Osaki, Honolulu, HI.

For Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc., Defendant, Counter Claimant: Myron H. Takemoto, LEAD ATTORNEY, Takemoto & Shimozono LLC, Honolulu, HI; Sheri J. Tanaka, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Office of Sheri J. Tanaka, Honolulu, HI.

ORDER ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S SEPTEMBER 17, 2014 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION DENYING BILLS OF COSTS

Derrick K. Watson, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Defendant Mitsunaga & Associates, Inc. (" MAI") objects to a portion of the Magistrate Judge's September 17, 2014 Findings and Recommendation, denying MAI's bill of costs. Because the Magistrate Judge properly found that no party clearly prevailed and that fees were not warranted pursuant to Local Rule 11.1, the Court ADOPTS the Findings and Recommendation and overrules MAI's objections.

BACKGROUND

Mau filed a complaint against MAI, her former employer, alleging claims of: sex and age discrimination in violation of Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA"), and state law (Counts I & II); retaliation (Count III); negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress (" NIED" and " IIED") (Counts VI & V); and punitive damages (Count VI). MAI filed the following counterclaims against Mau: breach of the duty of loyalty, intentional or tortious interference with prospective business or economic advantage, negligence, conversion, fraud, and punitive damages. The parties did not file any dispositive motions in this matter. Prior to trial, Mau dismissed her age discrimination claims.

A jury trial commenced on July 14, 2014. At the conclusion of Mau's case in chief, the Court granted MAI's Rule 50(a) motion with respect to Mau's claims for NIED and IIED. Before the case was submitted to the jury, the Court granted MAI's oral motion to dismiss its counterclaims for tortious interference and conversion. The jury found MAI not liable on each of Mau's claims. With respect to MAI's counterclaims, the jury found in favor of MAI on the first counterclaim for breach of the duty of loyalty and awarded MAI nominal damages in the amount of $1.00. The jury found for Mau on the remainder of MAI's counterclaims.

MAI and Mau each filed a Bill of Costs. In the September 17, 2014 Findings and Recommendation, the Magistrate Judge found that no party clearly prevailed and recommended that neither party be awarded costs. The Magistrate Judge also found that Mau's counsel did not fail to comply with the Court's Local Rules, and recommended the denial of MAI's request for $600.00 in attorney's fees as a sanction under Local Rule 11.1.

MAI now objects to the Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation in part, and asks the Court to modify it by (1) granting MAI's Bill of Costs in its entirety because MAI is the prevailing party; and (2) ordering Mau's counsel to pay MAI's attorneys' fees in the amount of $600.00, incurred in preparing the opposition to Mau's Bill of Costs.[1]

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When a party objects to a magistrate judge's findings or recommendations, the district court must review de novo those portions to which the objections are made and " may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); see also United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 673, 100 S.Ct. 2406, 65 L.Ed.2d 424 (1980); United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc) (" [T]he district judge must review the magistrate judge's findings and recommendations de novo if objection is made, but not otherwise.").

Under a de novo standard, this Court reviews " the matter anew, the same as if it had not been heard before, and as if no decision previously had been rendered." Freeman v. DirecTV, Inc., 457 F.3d 1001, 1004 (9th Cir. 2006); see also United States v. Silverman, 861 F.2d 571, 576 (9th Cir. 1988). The district court need not hold a de novo hearing. However, it is the Court's obligation to arrive at its own independent conclusion about those portions of the magistrate judge's ...


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