Myers, et al v. USA, et al
ORDER granting Plaintiff's 588 Motion to Re-Tax Costs. Costs taxed in the amount of $ $13,271.06 against Plaintiff. Signed by Judge Roger T. Benitez on 3/22/2017. (fth)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
CHRISTINE MYERS, Acting as
guardian ad litem for L. Myers, a
CASE NO. 02cv1349-BEN
PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO
RE-TAX COSTS (Dkt. No. 588)
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiff moves the Court pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d) to re-tax costs
imposed against the Plaintiff in the amount of $13,271.06. Plaintiff’s motion is
granted. No costs are imposed.
Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure creates a presumption
in favor of awarding costs to a prevailing party. Nevertheless, the Court has
discretion to deny costs. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1) (“[C]osts other than attorneys’ fees
shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise
directs.”). The Court may deny costs where the circumstances are such that an
award “would be inappropriate or inequitable.” Champion Produce, Inc. v. Ruby
Robinson Co., Inc., 342 F.3d 1016, 1022 (9th Cir. 2003). Circumstances justifying
the denial of costs include the following: (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.’” Id. (quoting Association of
Mexican-American Educators v. California, 231 F.3d 572, 592 (9th Cir. 2000) (en
banc)). Other factors for denying costs include that the issues were close and
difficult, and that “the case presented a landmark issue of national importance.” Id.
The Court finds it would not be equitable to award the Government costs
against the Plaintiff. In other circumstances, the costs incurred by the Government
would be reasonably awarded. But, the issues in this case were close and difficult.
The Plaintiff is part of a military family with limited financial resources that is
already sacrificing in manifold ways for the benefit of the Government. Moreover,
an award of costs in favor of the Government and against Plaintiff could have a
chilling effect upon future military families living on military bases considering
suits where the Government undertakes potentially hazardous remediation projects.
Finally, the presented legal issue of when the discretionary function exception
applies is an issue of national importance. The Court finds these factors justify the
Court’s exercise of its discretion to deny costs to the Government in this case.
For the reasons set forth herein, the Court finds this is an unusual case where
an award of costs in favor of a prevailing party defendant would be inequitable.
Therefore, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion to re-tax costs, and vacates the
Clerk’s order taxing costs in favor of Defendant. No costs are awarded to the
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: March 22, 2017
Hon. Roger T. Benitez
United States District Judge
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