On 06/17/2016 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against VENICE SUITES LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is TERESA A. BEAUDET. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
TERESA A. BEAUDET
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
DOES 1 THROUGH 100
VENICE SUITES LLC
FEUER MICHAEL N. ESQ.
REZNIK BENJAMIN M.
12/19/2017: ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE
12/19/2017: Minute Order
12/22/2017: DECLARATION OF LARA R. LEITNER IN SUPPORT OF MOTION OF DEFENDANTS VENICE SUITES, LLC AND CARL LAMBERT TO QUASH DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS
3/23/2018: ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF''S REVISED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION; ETC.
5/4/2018: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS; ETC.
5/17/2018: DEFENDANTS' REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO QUASH
2/1/2019: Proof of Personal Service
6/29/2016: PROOF OF SERVICE BY MAIL
1/9/2017: Minute Order
4/7/2017: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' EX PARTE APPLICATION; ETX
5/16/2017: NOTICE OF DISCOVERY CONFERENCE
6/28/2017: INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE ("IDC") STATEMENT
9/26/2017: PLAINTIFF'S SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF MATTHEW GLESNE AND EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
9/26/2017: PLAINTIFF?S SUPPLEMENTAL SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS AND SUPPORTING EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF?S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
12/5/2017: DECLARATION OF ROBERT J. CHATTEL IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION.
12/5/2017: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS? OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF?S MOTION AND SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION.
at 09:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
at 11:00 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend (complaint) - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
at 4:00 PM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Order (re Ex Parte to Stay Case & Cont Trial)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application ( FOR AN ORDER TO STAY CASE AND CONTINUE TRIAL IN FAVOR OF CONTINUED SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS; DECLARATION OF REBECCA MORSE) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Ex Parte Application (PEOPLE?S NOTICE AND EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER TO STAY CASE AND CONTINUE TRIAL IN FAVOR OF CONTINUED SETTLEMENT DISCUSSIONS; DECLARATION OF REBECCA MORSE); Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application FOR AN ORDER TO STAY CASE AN...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary AdjudicationRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE BY MAILRead MoreRead Less
DECLARATION OF DILIGENCERead MoreRead Less
Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE BY MAILRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF AND CIVIL PENALTIES FOR: 1. LOS ANGELES MUNICIPAL CODE SECTION 11.00; ETC.Read MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC624350 Hearing Date: July 01, 2020 Dept: 50
the people of the state of california,
venice suites, llc, et al.,
July 1, 2020
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:
PEOPLE’S MOTION TO TAX COSTS
Plaintiff the People of the State of California (“Plaintiff”) initiated the instant action on June 17, 2016 by filing a Complaint for Injunctive and Other Equitable Relief and Civil Penalties for: 1) Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 11.00; 2) Public Nuisance in Violation of Civil Code Section 3479 et seq.; 3) Unfair Competition Law (Business and Professions Code Section 17200 et seq.); and 4) False Advertising Practices (Business and Professions Code Section 17500 et seq.) (the “Complaint”) against Defendants Venice Suites, LLC (“Venice Suites”) and Carl Lambert (“Lambert”) (jointly, “Defendants”). After the Court’s ruling on the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment and/or summary adjudication, the only remaining causes of action were the causes of action for violation of Business and Professions Code section 17200 (unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business acts or practices) and Business and Professions Code section 17500 (false advertising). On August 5, 2019, Plaintiff filed a voluntary dismissal of the remaining causes of action. And on August 9, 2019, the Court issued a final judgment in favor of Defendants and against Plaintiff.
On September 3, 2019, Defendants filed their Memorandum of Costs, seeking $25,900.40 in costs.
Plaintiff now moves to tax Defendants’ costs. Defendants oppose.
A prevailing party is entitled to recover costs, including attorneys’ fees, as a matter of right, except as otherwise expressly provided by statute. (See Code Civ. Proc., §§ 1032(a)(4), 1032(b), 1033.5.) Costs recoverable under section 1032 are restricted to those that are both reasonable in amount and reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 1033.5(c)(2), (3).) Costs “merely convenient or beneficial” to the preparation of a case are disallowed. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5(c)(2); see Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 774 [expenses for attorney meals incurred while attending local depositions not “reasonably necessary”].)
“A ‘verified memorandum of costs is prima facie evidence of [the] propriety’ of the items listed on it, and the burden is on the party challenging these costs to demonstrate that they were not reasonable or necessary.” (Adams v. Ford Motor Co. (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 1475, 1486-1487 [italics and brackets omitted].) “If the items appearing in a cost bill appear to be proper charges, the burden is on the party seeking to tax costs to show that they were not reasonable or necessary. On the other hand, if the items are properly objected to, they are put in issue and the burden of proof is on the party claiming them as costs.” (Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn., supra, 19 Cal.App.4th at p. 774.) Costs otherwise allowable as a matter of right may be disallowed if the court determines they were not reasonably necessary, and the court has power to reduce the amount of any cost item to an amount that is reasonable. (See Perko’s Enterprises, Inc. v. RRNS Enterprises (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 238, 245 [finding that “the intent and effect of section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(2) is to authorize a trial court to disallow recovery of costs, including filing fees, when it determines the costs were incurred unnecessarily”].)
Plaintiff seeks to tax two specific items of costs: (1) Item 12 for models, enlargements, and photocopies of exhibits ($3,882.64) and (2) Item 16 for other costs ($6,664.30).
First, Plaintiff contends that costs relating to exhibits that are never presented at trial to the trier of fact are not reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation. Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(13) provides that “[m]odels, the enlargements of exhibits and photocopies of exhibits, and the electronic presentation of exhibits . . . may be allowed if they were reasonably helpful to aid the trier of fact.” Here, because there was no trial, there were no models or exhibits that could have aided the “trier of fact.” In response, Defendants contend that the $3,882.64 in Item 12 of the Memorandum of Costs was not for models or exhibits but for “printing and photocopying costs, most of which was incurred to serve, process, and respond to dozens of deposition notices and subpoenas, to print exhibit photocopies, and to prepare court-ordered compilations of summary judgment motion papers.” (Leitner Decl., ¶ 2, Ex. A.) Presumably, the deposition-related costs are separate and distinct from the $8,524.70 in deposition costs claimed by Defendants in Item 4 of the Memorandum of Costs.
The Court notes that Defendants submit a spreadsheet (Exhibit B to the Declaration of Lara Leitner) that provides descriptions of the claimed printing and photocopying costs, which can be broken down generally into a number of sub-categories.
One major sub-category of photocopying costs relates to deposition notices and subpoenas. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 4.) Defendants assert that these costs were incurred in connection with serving and processing subpoenas, copying documents made available by Plaintiff for inspection in response to subpoenas, and printing documents necessary for the depositions of Plaintiff’s witnesses. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 4.) According to Defendants, these costs total $2,304.26. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 7.)
As noted by Plaintiff in reply, photocopying costs (for anything other than exhibits) are generally not allowable, unless “expressly authorized by law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (b)(3).) Therefore, to the extent that Item 12 seeks reimbursement for photocopying costs relating to deposition notices and subpoenas, such costs are not allowable pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivisions (b)(3) and subdivision (a)(13). Nevertheless, Defendants argue that such costs are allowable, citing to Naser v. Lakeridge Athletic Club (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 571 in support. In Naser, a personal injury case, the Court of Appeal approved the trial court’s decision to allow the prevailing defendant on summary judgment to recover costs for certain deposition costs, and in particular, the cost of copies of the plaintiff’s medical records subpoenaed from the plaintiff’s health care providers and nonretained experts. (Id. at pp. 576-578.) The Court of Appeal held that “obtaining business records through a deposition subpoena is a ‘deposition’ within the plain meaning of the Civil Discovery Act[,]” and because Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(3) allows costs for “[t]aking . . . necessary depositions,” the defendant was entitled to recover the costs of processing such deposition subpoenas, including the cost of making photocopies of the records produced pursuant to the subpoena. (Id. at p. 578.)
Plaintiff counters that Defendants should be precluded from reclassifying these photocopying costs as deposition costs, but the Court is not inclined to disallow costs that were clearly incurred but misclassified in a memorandum of costs. Moreover, the Court notes that Plaintiff offers no binding authority for the proposition that costs may be disallowed if misclassified in a memorandum of costs. Plaintiff next argues that Naser does not apply to costs associated with serving and processing deposition subpoenas generally and is limited to the facts of its case. The Court notes that the Court of Appeal in Naser did not specify the actual cost items in dispute in that case, merely stating that it was the complaining defendant’s contention that the claimed costs were for copies of medical records. (Naser v. Lakeridge Athletic Club, supra, 227 Cal.App.4th at p. 576.) The Court of Appeal went on to state, without qualification, that “obtaining business records through a deposition subpoena is a ‘deposition’ within the plain meaning of the Civil Discovery Act.” (Id. at p. 578.) Therefore, the Court does not agree that Naser should be read narrowly; rather, it supports the conclusion that any costs associated with obtaining business records through a deposition subpoena is a recoverable cost under Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(3). Medical records are just one example of such records, but any records that are “clearly relevant” to the claims at issue may be obtained and the costs of obtaining such records are allowable as deposition costs. Based on this authority, the Court finds that the $2,304.26 incurred for deposition-related printing and copying costs was reasonably necessary to the conduct of litigation and incurred in a reasonable amount.
Another major sub-category of printing costs is the cost of preparing courtesy binders of the parties’ consolidated cross-motions for summary judgment ordered by the Court. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 8.) According to Defendants, these costs total $1,298.10. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 8.) The Court finds that these costs were reasonably necessary to the conduct of litigation and incurred in a reasonable amount.
Defendants identify the retrieval and copying of historical land use ordinances and articles that were not readily or widely available as another major sub-category of printing costs, totaling $372.80. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 9.) Defendants assert that these records were necessary for their summary judgment motion and were intended to eventually be used as exhibits during trial. The Court finds that these costs were reasonably necessary to the conduct of litigation and incurred in a reasonable amount.
Finally, Defendants identify $23.10 in “miscellaneous printing costs” in 2016. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 10.) No other description is provided for these costs, and so the Court finds that Defendants have not demonstrated that they were reasonably necessary to the conduct of litigation.
Second, Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ failure to specify the “other” costs in Item 16 provides no basis to determine whether these costs were reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation. In response, Defendants assert that these other costs include parking costs, data storage costs, messengering fees, and court fees. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 11, Ex. E.)
Plaintiff objects specifically to the $5,605.36 in costs claimed for processing and hosting documents on an electronic database. Defendants contend that these costs were reasonable in light of the significant e-discovery in this case, including production of more than 87,000 pages of documents. (Leitner Decl., ¶ 13.) But Plaintiff argues that costs for hosting electronic documents are only allowable if ordered or required by the court. In this case, the Court did not order or otherwise require the use of electronic stored information, and Plaintiff argues that it was merely utilized by Defendants for its convenience rather than its necessity. The Court notes that Plaintiff does not dispute that e-discovery in this case was extensive, nor does Plaintiff take issue with the number of documents involved in e-discovery. Therefore, the Court finds that Defendants have shown that the electronic database costs were reasonably necessary to the conduct of litigation and incurred in a reasonable amount.
Based on the foregoing, the Court grants Plaintiff’s motion to tax costs in part. The Court taxes Defendants’ costs in the amount of $23.10.
Defendants are ordered to give notice of this ruling
DATED: July 1, 2020
Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet
Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court
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