Hood v. King County et al

Filing 164

ORDER granting plaintiff's 158 , 159 Motions to Retax Costs ; The Clerk of Court's orders awarding costs to the hospitals (Dkt. ## 155 , 156 ) and the Clerk of Court's order awarding costs to King County (Dkt. # 157 ) are hereby VACATED. Signed by Judge Robert S. Lasnik. (SWT)

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1 2 3 4 5 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON AT SEATTLE 6 7 8 LUCI HOOD, Plaintiff, 9 10 11 12 v. No. C15-828RSL ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTIONS TO RETAX COSTS COUNTY OF KING, et al., Defendants. 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 This matter comes before the Court on plaintiff’s “Motion to Retax Costs Awarded to King County,” Dkt. # 158, and plaintiff’s “Motion to Retax Cost Bill of Defendants Highline Medical Center and Fairfax Hospital,” Dkt. # 159. On June 7, 2017, the Deputy Clerk of Court awarded King County costs of $3,360.47, Dkt. # 157, and awarded the hospitals costs of $2,235.20 and $2,989.80, respectively, Dkt. ## 155, 156. Having reviewed the documents that were before the Clerk as well as the parties’ memoranda, the Court finds as follows: (1) The Deputy Clerk properly noted that he lacks discretion to deny costs to the prevailing party based on considerations of the possible chilling effect that costs might have on future litigation by civil rights plaintiffs. (2) On appeal per LCR 54(d)(4), however, the Court has discretion to deny costs upon 24 considering the chilling effect on future similar actions, the plaintiff’s limited financial 25 resources, and the economic disparity between the parties. See Escriba v. Foster Poultry 26 Farms, Inc., 743 F.3d 1236, 1247–48 (9th Cir. 2014). ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS TO RETAX COSTS 1 (3) Plaintiff’s case involved civil rights claims and claims under the Involuntary 2 Treatment Act. Individual plaintiffs might be chilled from bringing cases like this one if they 3 are later required to subsidize the litigation costs of a powerful hospital or government entity. 4 In light of this potential chilling effect, and on the disparity of resources between plaintiff and 5 the defendants in this case, the Court concludes that an award of costs to King County and the 6 hospitals is not appropriate. 7 8 (4) The Court therefore exercises its discretion to vacate the awards of costs to defendants. 9 10 For all of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff’s motions to retax costs (Dkt. ## 158, 159) are 11 GRANTED. The Clerk of Court’s orders awarding costs to the hospitals (Dkt. ## 155, 156) 12 and the Clerk of Court’s order awarding costs to King County (Dkt. # 157) are hereby 13 VACATED. 14 15 Dated this 25th day of July, 2017. 16 A 17 Robert S. Lasnik United States District Judge 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTIONS TO RETAX COSTS -2-

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