Pending - Other Pending
Family - Harassment
DANIEL S. MURPHY
DOES 1 TO 25
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES
VALENCIA MARK JOSEPH
LAKE KENNETH G. DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
LAKE KENNETH G.
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Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment (; or in the Alternative, For Summary Adjudication of Issues) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Krystle V. (Plaintiff)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application ( to Continue Trial and to Continue MSJ Hearing) - Held[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOpposition (to Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application); Filed by California Department of Motor Vehicles (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial and to Con...)); Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by California Department of Motor Vehicles (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Held[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses)); Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder (re: Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Further Responses to Special Interrogatories, Set Three); Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder-Case Management; Filed by Court[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAnswer to Complaint (MANUAL LLAMZON ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketPartial Dismissal (w/o Prejudice) (5TH CAUSE OF ACTION OF NEGLIGENCE ONLY AS TO DEFENDANT MANUEL LLAMZON ); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Service (x2 ); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 am in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Conference-Case Management - Continued by Court[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAmendment to Complaint; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice-Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAnswer to Complaint; Filed by Attorney for Defendant/Respondent[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Service; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff/Petitioner[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: ****6823 Hearing Date: January 22, 2020 Dept: 32
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, et. al.
Case No.: ****6823
Hearing Date: January 22, 2020
[TENTATIVE] order RE:
motion to tax costs
Plaintiff Krystle V. (“Plaintiff”) commenced this action against Defendants California Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) and Manuel Llamzon (“Llamzon”) on June 28, 2017. The Complaint asserts five causes of action against both Defendants: (1) sexual battery; (2) Civil Code sections 51.7 and 52; (3) Civil Code sections 51.9 and 52; (4) battery; and (5) negligence.
On September 13, 2019, the Court granted the DMV’s motion for summary judgment. On September 19, 2019, the DMV served and filed its Memorandum of Costs (“MOC”). On September 27, 2019, the Court entered judgment in DMV’s favor.
Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding. (CCP ; 1032(b).)
The statutory scheme for cost recovery establishes three categories of trial preparation expenses: (1) one category allowable as a matter of right to the prevailing party (CCP ; 1033.5(a)), (2) one category disallowable unless expressly authorized elsewhere by law (CCP ; 1033.5(b)), and (3) one category allowable or disallowable in the court’s discretion (CCP ; 1033.5(c)(4)). Even where costs are deemed allowable, such costs are only recoverable to the extent that they are (1) reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation and (2) reasonable in amount. (CCP ; 1033.5(c)(2), (3).)
“In ruling upon a motion to tax costs, the trial court’s first determination is whether the statute expressly allows the particular item and whether it appears proper on its face.” (Foothill-De Anza Community College Dist. v. Emerich (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 11, 29.) “ ‘If so, the burden is on the objecting party to show the costs are unnecessary or unreasonable.’ [Citation.] Where costs are not expressly allowed by the statute, the burden is on the party claiming the costs to show that the charges were reasonable and necessary.” (Ibid.)
Plaintiff moves to strike or, in the alternative, tax the Memorandum of Costs (“MOC”) filed by the DMV.
A. Timeliness of MOC
Plaintiff argues that the MOC should be stricken because DMV served and filed the MOC prior to the entry of judgment. This argument is without merit. Case law firmly establishes that “the premature filing of a memorandum of costs is treated as ‘a mere irregularity at best’ that does not constitute reversible error absent a showing of prejudice.” (Haley v. Casa Del Rey Homeowners Assn. (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 863, 880 (citing Pamela W. v. Millsom (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 950, 961; Parker v. City of Los Angeles (1974) 44 Cal.App.3d 556, 566).) “Rather, courts treat prematurely filed costs bills as being timely filed.” (Ibid. (citing Laurel Hills Homeowners Assn. v. City Council (1978) 83 Cal.App.3d 515, 528 and Brown v. West Covina Toyota (1994) 26 Cal.App.4th 555, 560 disapproved on other grounds by Murillo v. Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. (1998) 17 Cal.4th 985).) Plaintiff has not shown prejudice, so the Court will treat the prematurely filed MOC as being timely filed.
In reply, Plaintiff takes issue with this entire line of cases. Plaintiff notes that Laurel Hills, one of several cases relied upon by Haley, misspoke in characterizing a premature costs bill as a “mere irregularity at best” because the appellate court produced no evidence to support this characterization. Plaintiff claims that the appellate court should have “conduct[ed] a sampling of all trial courts and ask[ed] them if they treat premature filing of memoranda of costs as timely.” The Court is thoroughly unpersuaded. First, Laurel Hills, unlike Haley, Pamela W., or Parker, did not characterize a premature costs bill as a “mere irregularity at best.” Plaintiff therefore should not have examined that opinion for such evidence. Second, no such evidence is required. An “irregularity” is “an act or practice that varies form the normal conduct of an action.” (Black’s Law Dict. 11th ed. 2019).) Filing a premature costs bill is irregular because a costs bill is normally filed after the judgment. Courts of Appeal have logically concluded that such an irregularity, absent prejudice, is best viewed as immaterial. Third and most important, “[u]nder the doctrine of stare decisis, all tribunals exercising inferior jurisdiction are required to follow decisions of courts exercising superior jurisdiction.” (Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County (1962) 57 Cal.2d 450, 455.) Courts of Appeal have firmly decided this issue; the Court must follow their decisions.
Plaintiff also responds that the Rules of Court are clear on this issue. Plaintiff notes that CRC Rule 3.1700(a)(1) states that a costs bill must be served and filed within the earlier of (1) 15 days after the clerk’s service of the notice of entry of judgment, (2) 15 days after the party’s service of the notice of entry of judgment, or (3) 180 days after entry of judgment. Plaintiff contends that a premature costs bill does not fit these criteria. Plaintiff’s point is unpersuasive. As noted ante, the costs bill is treated “as being timely filed,” i.e., filed immediately after judgment. As a result, the costs bill does comply with this Rule of Court. Further, the doctrine of stare decisis controls.
B. Entitlement to Costs
Plaintiff argues that the MOC is defective because it fails to attach invoices or any other billing to support the costs claimed. However, “[i]nitial verification will suffice to establish the reasonable necessity of the costs claimed. There is no requirement that copies of bills, invoices, statements, or any other such documents be attached to the memorandum. Only if the costs have been put in issue via a motion to tax costs must supporting documentation be submitted.” (Jones v. Dumrichob (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1258, 1267.) The DMV submitted a verified costs bill so the DMV met its initial burden.
Plaintiff seeks to tax the MOC by $4,835 on the ground that the videotaping costs sought are unwarranted. As a general matter, Plaintiff contends that videotaping costs are not compensable because no video discs were used by the DMV in defending itself in this case. The Court disagrees. Video recording costs are allowable costs under the costs statute. (CCP ; 1033.5(a)(3)(A).) Because these costs are expressly allowable, “the burden is on [Plaintiff] to show that the charges were unreasonable or unnecessary.” (Foothill-De Anza Community College Dist. v. Emerich (2007) 158 Cal.App.4th 11, 29.) Plaintiff has not carried this burden by simply pointing out that DMV never used the video discs in this action. A contrary conclusion would penalize the DMV for conducting thorough discovery and successfully disposing of this case on summary judgment.
Plaintiff also argues that the DMV cannot recover $2,384.73 in videotaping costs incurred with respect to Plaintiff’s deposition because no videographer was present at that deposition. In response, DMV’s counsel avers that the MOC inadvertently listed these costs as videotaping costs when, in fact, they were costs deposition transcription costs for plaintiff’s deposition. (Lake Decl. ¶ 3.) The DMV submits an invoice showing expenses incurred for a court reporter’s transcript of Plaintiff’s deposition. (Lake Decl. ¶ 3, Ex. A, p. 13.) The DMV is entitled to these allowable costs. (CCP ; 1033.5(a)(3)(A).)
In opposing this motion, the DMV noted that several cost entries were inadvertently included and should be taxed: (1) a deposition cost entry for Elder Alvarez in the amount of $993.10, (2) videotaping costs for John Rivera in the amount of $295, (3) videotaping costs for Judy Hollinger Rivera in the amount of $155, and (4) videotaping costs for Vince Garcia in the amount of $155. The Court shall tax the MOC by this amount.
Plaintiff’s motion to strike the MOC is DENIED. Plaintiff’s motion to tax the MOC is GRANTED in the amount of $1,598.10.
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