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T.L. v. Sherwood Charter School

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 15, 2015

T.L., by and through her father and next friend, SHAUN LOWRY; G.L., by and through his father and next friend SHAUN LOWRY; SHAUN LOWRY, an individual; and ASHLEY LARSON, an individual, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHERWOOD CHARTER SCHOOL, an Oregon public charter school, and SHERWOOD CHARTER SCHOOL BOARD, Defendants.

Kevin C. Brague, KIVEL AND HOWARD, LLP, Portland, Oregon, Attorney for Plaintiffs

Steven A. Kraemer, Mark C. Sherman, HART WAGNER LLP, Portland, Oregon, Attorneys for Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

MARCO A. HERNANDEZ, District Judge.

In a December 18, 2014 Opinion, I granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. Judgment in favor of Sherwood Charter School and the Sherwood Charter School Board and against Plaintiffs T.L., G.L., Shaun Lowry, and Ashley Larson was entered that day. Defendants now seek costs in the amount of $7, 712.70.[1] I grant the motion in part and award Defendants $7, 690.15 in costs.

STANDARDS

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54, costs "should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). Rule 54 creates a presumption in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing party. E.g., Ass'n of Mexican-Am. Educators v. California, 231 F.3d 572, 592 (9th Cir. 2000). "[I]f a district court wishes to depart from that presumption, it must explain why so that the appellate court will be able to determine whether or not the trial court abused its discretion... [and] explain why a case is not ordinary." Id. at 594 (internal quotation marks omitted). To rebut the presumption, the court may consider "the losing party's limited financial resources, misconduct on the part of the prevailing party, the importance of the issues, the importance and complexity of the issues, the merit of the plaintiff's case, ... and the chilling effect on future civil rights litigants of imposing high costs." Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit, 335 F.3d 932, 945 (9th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). Id . The district court, however, "needs no affirmatively expressed reason to tax costs. Rather, it need only conclude that the reasons advanced by the party bearing the burden-the losing party-are not sufficiently persuasive to overcome the presumption." Id. at 946.

Costs taxable under Rule 54(d) "are limited to those set forth in 28 U.S.C. §§ 1920 and 1821[.]" Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. v. Entm't Distrib., 429 F.3d 869, 885 (9th Cir. 2005). Section 1920 lists the specific items a prevailing party may recover as costs:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

28 U.S.C. § 1920(1) - (6). The district court retains broad discretion to decide how much to award, if anything. Padgett v. Loventhal, 706 F.3d 1205, 1209 (9th Cir. 2013); see also Arboireau v. Adidas Salomon AG, No. 01-105-ST, 2002 WL 31466564, at *4 (D. Or. June 14, 2002) ...


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