A trial court has no discretion to deny a prevailing party ordinary court costs recoverable under CCP 1032 and 1033.5 on the ground that the losing party lacks the financial ability to pay those costs. Though the court does have discretion to deny some or all of costs otherwise awardable under CCP 998 on that ground, to do so properly, the court must first make findings on (a) whether the 998 offer was made in good faith, (b) the amount of any reasonably incurred expert witness fees, and (c) the losing party’s financial circumstances and ability to pay costs (which must be supported by substantial evidence of income, expense and assets, not as here, just evidence she had incurred high medical bills).
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4 (Collins, J.); August 8, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 696