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Jonassen v. Port of Seattle

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle

March 31, 2015

TRACY JONASSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
PORT OF SEATTLE, a municipal corporation, Defendant.

ORDER

RICHARD A. JONES, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the court on defendant the Port of Seattle's ("the Port") motion to retax costs. Dkt. # 110. The motion is GRANTED IN PART.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Tracy Jonassen ("Mr. Jonassen") alleged two claims for relief in his Second Amended Complaint: (1) retaliation in violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. ยง 3730(h) and (2) breach of the anti-retaliation and harassment policies contained in his employee handbook. Dkt. # 23. The court granted the Port's first motion for summary judgment as to both claims. Dkt. # 65. The Ninth Circuit affirmed this court's order as to the first claim (False Claims Act), but reversed and remanded as to the second claim (breach of employee handbook policies). Dkt. ## 78, 79. The Port then filed a second motion for summary judgment as to the remaining claim. Dkt. # 89. The court granted the Port's second motion for summary judgment. Dkt. # 96. Accordingly, the Port is the "prevailing party" in this action.

After the court entered judgment, the Port moved for costs in the amount of $33, 611.98. Dkt. # 102. The clerk awarded $13, 050.10, allowing only costs directly incurred in connection with the two motions for summary judgment. Dkt. # 109.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that "costs-other than attorneys' fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party." Accordingly, "Rule 54(d) creates a presumption for awarding costs to prevailing parties; the losing party must show why costs should not be awarded." Save Our Valley v. Sound Transit, 335 F.3d 932, 944-45 (9th Cir. 2003) (citing Stanley v. Univ. of S. Cal., 178 F.3d 1069, 1079 (9th Cir. 1999)). The Court "need not give affirmative reasons for awarding costs; instead, it need only find that the reasons for denying costs are not sufficiently persuasive to overcome the presumption in favor of an award." Id. at 945.

28 U.S.C. section 1920 "enumerates expenses that a federal court may tax as a cost under the discretionary authority found in Rule 54(d)." Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987). Those expenses include:

(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 ...

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