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Santiago v. State

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

October 29, 2018

JONATHAN K. SANTIAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF HAWAII; COUNTY OF HAWAII-HAWAII POLICE DEPARTMENT; JOHN DOES 1-100; JANE DOES 1-100; DOE GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES 1-10; BRYSON MIYOSE, and KIMO VEINCENT, in their official capacities and individual person, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION TO GRANT IN PART AND DENY IN PART DEFENDANT KIMO VEINCENT'S LOCAL RULE 54.3 MOTION FOR RELATED NON-TAXABLE COSTS

          KEVIN S.C. CHANG UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Kimo Veincent's (“Defendant Veincent”) Local Rule 54.3 Motion for Related Non-Taxable Costs (“Motion”), filed on September 27, 2018. Defendant requests an award of $8, 488.16 in non-taxable costs.

         The Court finds this matter suitable for disposition without a hearing pursuant to Local Rule (“L.R.”) 7.2(d) of the Local Rules of Practice for the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii. Based on the following, and after careful consideration of the submissions and the record in this action, the Court FINDS AND RECOMMENDS that Defendant's Motion be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jonathan Kimo Santiago (“Plaintiff”) filed this action in the Circuit Court of the Third Circuit, State of Hawaii on October 20, 2016 against Defendants County of Hawaii-Hawaii Police Department, State of Hawaii, Bryson Miyose and Kimo Veincent (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendant County of Hawaii-Hawaii Police Department filed a Notice of Removal to the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii on October 28, 2016. On December 20, 2017, Judge Derrick K. Watson issued an Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on All Claims. This Order granted summary judgment “with respect to all claims against all Defendants, other than Santiago's Section 1983 excessive force claim as to Officer Veincent.” ECF No. 123.

         Trial began on September 10, 2018 and a jury verdict in favor of Defendant Veincent was reached on September 13, 2018. Also, on September 13, 2018, judgment was issued in favor of Defendant Veincent. ECF No. 211.

         On September 27, 2018, Defendant Veincent filed the instant Motion. ECF No. 222. Defendant Veincent seeks an award of $8, 488.16 for non-taxable expenses pursuant to Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”), L.R. 54.3, and Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) §607-9. On October 10, 2018, Defendant Veincent filed a Statement of Consultation. ECF No. 224. Plaintiff's Opposition to the Motion was filed on October 11, 2018. Defendant Veincent did not file a Reply Memorandum.

         DISCUSSION

         Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 54(d)(1) provides that costs, other than attorneys' fees, “should be allowed to the prevailing party.” The Local Rules provide that “[t]he party entitled to costs shall be the prevailing party in whose favor judgment is entered . . ..” L.R. 54.2(b). Courts have discretion to award costs to the prevailing party. See Yasui v. Maui Elec. Co., 78 F.Supp.2d 1124, 1126 (D. Haw. 1999). The burden is on the losing party to demonstrate why costs should not be awarded. Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 178 F.3d 1069, 1079 (9th Cir. 1999). HRS § 607-9 authorizes, the recovery of “[a]ll actual disbursements, including but not limited to, intrastate travel expenses for witnesses and counsel, expenses for deposition transcript originals and copies, and other incidental expenses . . . sworn to by an attorney or party and deemed reasonable by the court.” Id. Moreover, L.R. 54.3(d)(3) mandates that, “[i]n addition to identifying each requested non-taxable expense, the moving party shall set forth the applicable authority entitling the moving party to such expense and should attach copies of invoices and receipts, if possible.”

          It is undisputed that Defendant Veincent is the prevailing party in this action. Moreover, Plaintiff does not dispute the recovery of non-taxable costs, only the reasonableness of the requests.

         The Court will assess the reasonableness of the requested costs by grouping the requests into three categories: (1) Attorneys; (2) Defendant; and (3) witnesses.

         1. Attorneys Andrew D. Son and Laureen Martin

         Defendant Veincent seeks a total of $4, 984.49 in costs for Attorneys Andrew D. Son and Laureen Martin, this includes airfare, car rentals, lodging, and meals. These expenses have been adequately documented by Attorney Son's Affidavit and receipts. See Exhibits B and C of the Motion. Plaintiff's main argument is that the costs sought are excessive because two attorneys were not necessary for the Final Pre-trial, Motions in Limine and Trial. Plaintiff also objects to the use of a rental car instead of a taxi service. Plaintiff has not produced any authority ...


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