Swanson-Houston, et al. v. Sutter County Superintendent of Schools, et al.

Filing 65

ORDER signed by District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on 4/6/2017 GRANTING 61 Bill of Costs Submitted including defendants' request for reimbursement of $219.30 for the cost of the administrative transcript. (Washington, S)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 9 FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 10 11 12 DAVID SWANSON, through his guardian ad litem HEATHER SWANSONHOUSTON, and on her own behalf, 13 14 15 16 17 18 Plaintiffs, No. 2:14-cv-01431-KJM-DB ORDER v. YUBA CITY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT, SUTTER COUNTY SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, Local Education Agencies, Defendants. 19 20 After the court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 59, 21 and issued judgment against plaintiffs, ECF No. 60, defendants submitted to the court a Bill of 22 Costs on October 26, 2016, ECF No. 61. Plaintiffs opposed on November 10, 2016, ECF No. 62, 23 and defendants filed a reply, ECF No. 64. For the following reasons, the court GRANTS 24 defendants’ request for costs. 25 Plaintiffs argue that imposition of costs is inappropriate because their case was not 26 frivolous or brought for an improper purpose. ECF No. 62 at 2–4 (citing C.W. v. Capistrano 27 Unified School District, 784 F.3d 1237 (9th Cir. 2015)). However, as the Ninth Circuit’s 28 discussion in C.W. makes clear, the frivolousness standard applies to the shifting of attorneys’ 1 1 fees. C.W., 784 F.3d at 1244. In contrast, the imposition of costs are governed by Federal Rule of 2 Civil Procedure 54. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1). Rule 54 creates a presumption that costs be 3 allowed to the prevailing party, and the losing party has the burden to show why costs should not 4 be imposed. Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit, 335 F.3d 932, 944–45 (9th Cir. 2003); Nat'l Info. 5 Servs., Inc. v. TRW, Inc., 51 F.3d 1470, 1471–72 (9th Cir. 1995). In light of this presumption, a 6 district court need not specify reasons for its refusal to tax costs to the losing party. See, e.g., 7 Assoc. of Mexican–American Educators v. California, 231 F.3d 572, 591 (9th Cir. 2000). 8 Nonetheless, a district court should consider factors such as the losing party’s limited financial 9 resources and the chilling effect on future civil rights litigants of imposing high costs. Stanley v. 10 U. of S. California, 178 F.3d 1069, 1079 (9th Cir. 1999). A court may tax as costs several 11 categories of expenses, including for printed materials that are “necessarily obtained for use in the 12 case.” 28 U.S.C. § 1920. 13 Here, the court finds plaintiffs have failed to satisfy their burden to show why 14 costs should not be awarded. In their untimely opposition, plaintiffs argue their case was not 15 frivolous. ECF No. 62 at 2–4. As noted above, this argument addresses an inapplicable standard. 16 Plaintiffs next argue that costs should not be imposed because plaintiffs are of limited financial 17 means. Id. at 4. Plaintiffs do not provide a declaration supporting this argument, and apparently 18 rely only on the court’s granting of plaintiffs’ request to proceed in forma pauperis. Id. (citing 19 court’s order at ECF No. 9). Plaintiffs’ two-sentence assertion, without supporting evidence or 20 further substantiation, is not enough to meet their burden at this point to show costs would be 21 “inappropriate or inequitable.” Assn. of Mexican-Am. Educators, 231 F.3d at 593 (en banc); see 22 also id. at 599 (Fernandez, J., concurring in part) (citing Cherry v. Champion Intern. Corp., 186 23 F.3d 442, 447–48 (4th Cir. 1999) (holding that there should not be an exception to the 24 presumption in favor of awarding costs to prevailing party because losing plaintiff is of “modest 25 means”). Plaintiffs finally argue the cost of $219.30 to print the administrative transcript should 26 not be imposed because plaintiffs ultimately provided these materials to defendants. ECF No. 62 27 at 5. However, plaintiffs provided these materials more than a year after the case was filed and 28 long after defendants incurred the costs for obtaining the administrative transcript for themselves. 2 1 See ECF No. 64 at 3. Because early access to the administrative transcript was reasonably 2 necessary to defendants’ defense, the court finds it was “necessarily obtained for use in the case.” 3 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Plaintiffs have failed to show why imposition of this final cost would be 4 inappropriate or inequitable. 5 Accordingly, the court GRANTS defendants’ request for costs, including 6 defendants’ request for reimbursement of $219.30 for the cost of the administrative transcript. 7 The clerk of court is directed to tax costs consistent with this order. 8 This resolves ECF No. 61. 9 IT IS SO ORDERED. 10 DATED: April 6, 2017. 11 12 UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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