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After securing a $600K judgment against Johnson, plaintiff sued him again to set aside a fraudulent transfer by which Johnson attempted to avoid execution of the judgment.  After two years of litigation on the fraudulent transfer suit, plaintiff filed a memorandum of post-judgment costs seeking to collect attorney fees and costs it expended in the second suit.  To thwart that… Read More

Under Gov. Code 12965(b), (c)(6), the award of attorney fees and costs to a prevailing defendant in a FEHA case is discretionary but governed by the rule that the defendant may recover fees and costs only when the claim was frivolous.  This decision holds that since the trial court must exercise its discretion, the prevailing defendant cannot claim costs by… Read More

Costs incurred in connection with setting up depositions that were eventually not taken may still be recoverable court costs under CCP 1033.5 if reasonably necessary to the prosecution or defense of the case.  Here, on dismissal of the case, defendant was entitled to fees a deposition reporter charged for late cancellation of one deposition and for preparing a notice of… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding HSBC its full expert witness fees incurred after rejection of its 998 offer.  The expert's testimony was used at trial.  His travel and meal expenses were also properly awarded as he came from Georgia to testify.  The trial court also did not abuse its discretion in declining to reduce the… Read More

Employer's arbitration clause was unenforceable because it was unconscionable.  The clause was a mandatory, non-negotiable requirement of employment.  It was procedurally unconscionable because it was given to plaintiff only in English, which he cannot read, and without a schedule of the arbitration fees he could be charged.  It was substantively unconscionable because it allowed the arbitrator to shift attorney fees… Read More

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding costs against plaintiff under CCP 2033.420 for having denied defendant's requests of admission regarding the breach of oral promise claim alleged in the complaint.  The evidence at trial showed that plaintiff could not have maintained a good faith belief, at the time he denied those requests, that he would prevail… Read More

While CCP 1033.5(b)(3) generally disallows an award of costs for the expense of photocopying, section 1033.5(a)(13) allows an award of costs for preparation of exhibits "if reasonably helpful to aid the trier of fact."  This decision holds that "trier of fact" refers to any resolution by judge or jury of facts, whether on motion or at trial.  So the cost… Read More

Gov. Code 12965(b) is an exception to the normal cost provisions of CCP 1032.  Hence, when, as in this case, the plaintiff loses her FEHA claims but prevails on other claims, she is not entitled to recover costs incurred solely in relation to the FEHA claims.  Also, since the total recovery in this case was less than the amount that… Read More

Under Fed. R. App. 39(a), the Court of Appeals determines which party is the prevailing party entitled to an award of costs on appeal, and it may, in its discretion, order that the prevailing party recover only some of the normally awardable costs on appeal.  Under Fed. R. App. 39(e), costs for preparing and transmitting the record and appellate transcripts… Read More

Disagreeing with Plancich v. United Parcel Service, Inc. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 308, this decision holds that Labor Code 218.5 and 1194 prescribe one-way fee and cost awards in employee suits for minimum wage and overtime pay, precluding the application of CCP 1032 and CCP 998, which only changes the normal prevailing party determination under CCP 1032.  An employer may recover… Read More

In this suit for unpaid wages, plaintiff successfully opposed defendant's motion to transfer the case to the court's limited jurisdiction division, but then failed to recover damages exceeding the limited jurisdiction's maximum.  CCP 1033 provides that when this occurs,, the court may deny the plaintiff costs, including attorney fees. Without deciding whether the fee-shifting provisions of various Labor Code sections… Read More

State Farm's 998 offer was valid and enforceable to shift costs in this case.  The signature block contained a space for signature by the attorney for the HOA, which was sufficient to identify the party in the signature line for acceptance.  Also, the 998 offer's requirement of signature on a settlement agreement releasing all claims " arising from, relating or… Read More

Under Cal. Rules of Court 3.1700, 3.1702, the time to file a memorandum of costs and a motion for attorney fees runs from service of notice of entry of judgment.  That the prevailing party had actual knowledge of entry of judgment earlier is irrelevant.  It is service of notice of entry, not actual knowledge that starts the time running.  Likewise,… Read More

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