United States District Court, D. Hawaii
FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY DEFENDANT JOSE
FIESTA BAUTISTA, JR.'S OBJECTIONS TO PLAINTIFF'S BILL
S.C. CHANG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant Jose Fiesta Bautista Jr.'s
Objection to Plaintiff's Request for Bill of Costs, filed
September 18, 2018. The Court finds this matter suitable for
disposition without a hearing pursuant to Rule 7.2(d) of the
Local Rules of Practice for the U.S. District Court for the
District of Hawaii (“Local Rule”). After careful
consideration of the parties' submissions and the
applicable law, the Court HEREBY RECOMMENDS that the
Objections be DENIED, and that Plaintiff be awarded $3,
171.14 in costs for the reasons set forth below.
8, 2017 Plaintiff Transoceanic Cable Ship Company LLC
(“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint for Declaratory
Judgment against Defendant Jose Fiesta Bautista Jr.
(“Defendant”). The Non-Jury Trial, in this
matter, began on August 14, 2018. Judge Kay issued his
Findings of Fact and Conclusion of Law
(“Findings”) on September 5, 2018. ECF No. 86.
Pursuant to the Findings, the Clerk of the Court issued
Judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant on
September 5, 2018. ECF No. 87
timely filed its Bill of Costs on September 19, 2018.
Defendant Jose Fiesta Bautista Jr. (“Defendant”)
filed his objections to the Bill of Costs on September 18,
requests $3, 171.14 in costs as the prevailing party in this
action: (1) $400.00 in filing fees; (2) $1, 485.10 in service
fees; (3) $899.79 in deposition transcript fees; and $386.25
in copying costs. Defendant objects to the Bill of Costs
based on grounds that Plaintiff failed to prove the necessity
of the costs and a substantial hardship upon Defendant for
the amount sought.
Rule of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) 54(d)(1)
provides that “[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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). FRCP 54(d)(1)
“creates a presumption in favor of awarding costs to a
prevailing party, but vests in the district court discretion
to refuse to award costs.” Escriba v. Foster
Poultry Farms, Inc., 743 F.3d 1236, 1247 (9th Cir. 2014)
(citing Ass'n of Mexican-American Educ. v. State of
Cal., 231 F.3d 572, 591 (9th Cir. 2000) (en banc)).
consistently confirm that ‘[a] party in whose favor
judgment is rendered is generally the prevailing party for
purposes of awarding costs under Rule 54(d).'”
San Diego Police Officers' Ass'n v. San Diego
City Employees' Retirement Sys., 568 F.3d 725, 741
(9th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). The Local Rules similarly
provide that “[t]he party entitled to costs shall be
the prevailing party in whose favor judgment is entered, or
shall be the party who prevails in connection with a motion
listed in LR 54.2(b).” Local Rule 54.2(a). A party need
not prevail on all claims to be found the prevailing party.
San Diego, 568 F.3d at 741.
case, judgment was entered in Plaintiff's favor, thus it
is the prevailing party. Therefore, at issue is whether
Plaintiff is entitled to the requested costs.
Court's discretion to award costs pursuant to FRCP 54(d)
is not unlimited. Ass'n of Mexican-American Educators
v. Cal., 231 F.3d 572, 591 (9th Cir. 2000). Courts may
only tax the costs identified in 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
See Yasui v. Maui Electric Co., Ltd., 78 F.Supp.2d
1124, 1126 (D. Haw. 1999) (citing Alflex Corp. v.
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., 914 F.2d 175, 177 (9th
Cir. 1990); Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons,
Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987)); Kalitta Air
L.L.C. v. Cent. Tex. Airborne Sys. Inc., 741 F.3d 955,
957 (9th Cir. 2013) (“The general costs statute, 28
U.S.C. § 1920, defines the term ‘costs' as
used in Rule 54(d).”).
1920 enumerates the following costs:
(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts
necessarily obtained ...