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Allison v. Smoot Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Pendleton Division

January 7, 2020

MATTHEW ALLISON, individual; and TIM NAY, as personal representative for the ESTATE OF SARA E. ALLISON Plaintiffs,
v.
SMOOT ENTERPRISES INC., dba Smoot Brothers Transportation; JAMES DECOU; PETER BARNES; HORIZON TRNSPORT, INC.; and JONATHAN HOGABOOM, Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          PATRICIA SULLIVAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Matthew Allison filed his claim for negligence and Tim Nay, as personal representative of the Estate of Sara Allison (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a wrongful death action on behalf of the Estate of Sara Allison against corporate defendants Smoot Enterprises, Inc. and Horizon Transport, Inc. and individual defendants employees of the corporate defendants. The case arose out of a collision that took place in Eastern Oregon that caused significant injuries to Matthew Allison and that resulted in the death of his wife Sara Allison. A jury trial was held between April 30 and May 10, 2019. (docs. 152-68). Defendants were found to be jointly liable for Plaintiffs' damages. (doc. 171). Defendants Horizon Transport Inc. and Jonathan Hogaboom filed a Motion for a New Trial, or in the Alternative Remittitur (doc. 185) and challenged the jury's damages award. The Court denied defendants' Motion for New Trial on October 15, 2019. (doc. 210). Plaintiffs, as prevailing parties, have filed their Bill of Costs and Supplemental Bill of Costs pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920 et seq. (docs. 178, 210). Defendants have objected, in part, to plaintiffs' request. (docs. 184, 213).

         BACKGROUND

         The jury reached its verdict in this negligence and wrongful death action on May 10, 2019, and found all named Defendants jointly liable for Plaintiffs' damages. (doc. 171). It awarded Matthew Allison economic damages of $600, 000 and noneconomic damages of $7, 000, 000, and awarded the Estate of Sara Allison economic damages of $2, 383, 463 and noneconomic damages of $10, 000, 000. Id. It also awarded punitive damages of $5, 000, 000 against Horizon Transport, Inc. and Hogaboom (“Horizon”) and $1, 500, 000 against Smoot Enterprises Inc. and DeCou (“Smoot”). Id. The Court entered Judgment on June 4, 2019, with offsets for amounts previously paid by Smoot in settlement. (doc. 177). Smoot had entered into a “Mary Carter” settlement agreement with Plaintiffs prior to trial, and was dismissed from the lawsuit post-verdict. Id. Hogaboom and Horizon (hereafter “Defendants”) challenged both the jury's damages award as excessive and other evidentiary matters. (doc. 185). Defendants requested this Court to order a new trial or to reduce the damages amount through remittitur. Id. The court denied defendants motion. (doc. 209). Plaintiffs now request that the Court award costs in accordance with the federal rules and statutes. (docs. 178, 210).

         DISCUSSION

         1. Unopposed Costs

         The following costs are unopposed:

- Filing Fee $ 1, 056.00
- Service of Process and Summons 881.81
- Service of Subpoena duces tecum 2, 227.20
- Trial witness fees and per diem cost 5, 919.64
- Copying costs 3, 287.75
- Exemplification costs ...

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