This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/04/2022 at 00:15:17 (UTC).

RONG SUN ET AL VS CITY OF TORRANCE ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/26/2017 RONG SUN filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CITY OF TORRANCE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MARC D. GROSS, JON R. TAKASUGI, THOMAS D. LONG, HOLLY E. KENDIG and AUDRA MORI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7211

  • Filing Date:

    09/26/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MARC D. GROSS

JON R. TAKASUGI

THOMAS D. LONG

HOLLY E. KENDIG

AUDRA MORI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Appellants

WANG JEFFREY

SUN RONG

WANG JASON

WANG JENNIFER

LAW OFFICES OF SOHAILA SAGHEB

Cross Defendants and Defendants

ALEXANDER ZACHARY

CITY OF TORRANCE

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

Cross Plaintiff, Respondent and Defendant

CITY OF TORRANCE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

ROSENBERG GEORGE M. ESQ.

SAGHEB SOHAILA ESQ.

Respondent and Defendant Attorneys

DELLA THOMPSON-BELL

THOMPSON-BELL DELLA

AUSTIN MARK JASON

THOMPSON-BELL DELLA DIANA DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

THOMPSON-BELL DELLA DIANA DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGEMENT AS TO ZACH...)

5/2/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGEMENT AS TO ZACH...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

12/29/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 12/29/2021

12/29/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 12/29/2021

Appeal - Remittitur - Affirmed - APPEAL - REMITTITUR - AFFIRMED B302940

1/7/2022: Appeal - Remittitur - Affirmed - APPEAL - REMITTITUR - AFFIRMED B302940

Appeal - Remittitur - Affirmed - APPEAL - REMITTITUR - AFFIRMED B302940

1/7/2022: Appeal - Remittitur - Affirmed - APPEAL - REMITTITUR - AFFIRMED B302940

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: DEFENDANT ZACHARY ALEXANDER)

2/14/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: DEFENDANT ZACHARY ALEXANDER)

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER WAIVING COSTS AND DISMISSING ACTION

12/16/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER WAIVING COSTS AND DISMISSING ACTION

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO TAX COSTS)

8/31/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO TAX COSTS)

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING GRANTING MOTION TO TAX COSTS

9/1/2021: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING GRANTING MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARK J. AUSTIN ISO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO TAX COSTS

8/17/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARK J. AUSTIN ISO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Opposition - OPPOSITION CITY OF TORRANCE'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO TAX COSTS

8/17/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION CITY OF TORRANCE'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Reply - REPLY TO COT'S OPPOS TO MOTION TO TAX COSTS

8/23/2021: Reply - REPLY TO COT'S OPPOS TO MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: PENDING OUTCOME OF APPEAL; ORDER TO S...)

5/26/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: PENDING OUTCOME OF APPEAL; ORDER TO S...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL; ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: PE...)

9/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL; ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: PE...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...)

5/1/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...) OF 05/01/2020

5/1/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE SETTING OF MOTION PURSUANT TO EMERGENCY ORDER ...) OF 05/01/2020

Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript - APPEAL - NOTICE COURT REPORTER TO PREPARE APPEAL TRANSCRIPT ;B302940, NOA 12/10/19;

5/6/2020: Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript - APPEAL - NOTICE COURT REPORTER TO PREPARE APPEAL TRANSCRIPT ;B302940, NOA 12/10/19;

Appellate Order Granting Relief from Default - APPELLATE ORDER GRANTING RELIEF FROM DEFAULT NOA: 12/10/19 B302940

4/13/2020: Appellate Order Granting Relief from Default - APPELLATE ORDER GRANTING RELIEF FROM DEFAULT NOA: 12/10/19 B302940

96 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 08/03/2022
  • Hearing08/03/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Entry of Default Judgement as to Zachary Alexander

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 05/02/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31; Order to Show Cause Re: (Entry of Default Judgement as to Zachary Alexander) - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 05/02/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Entry of Default Judgement as to Zach...)); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/14/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Status Conference (ReDefendant Zachary Alexander) - Held

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/14/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference Re: Defendant Zachary Alexander)); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 01/07/2022
  • DocketAppeal - Remittitur - Affirmed (B302940); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/29/2021
  • Docketat 2:52 PM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Court Order

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/29/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/29/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 12/29/2021); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/16/2021
  • DocketStipulation and Order (Waiving Costs and Dismissing Action); Filed by Rong Sun (Plaintiff); Jason Wang (Plaintiff); Jeffrey Wang (Plaintiff) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
143 More Docket Entries
  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM- CIVIL- EX PARTE

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL III EXPARTE

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 10/19/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 09/26/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Rong Sun (Plaintiff); Jason Wang (Plaintiff); Jeffrey Wang (Plaintiff) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less

Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: ****7211 Hearing Date: August 31, 2021 Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

RONG SUN, ET AL.,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CITY OF TORRANCE, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: ****7211

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Dept. 31

8:30 a.m.

August 31, 2021

1. Background Facts

Plaintiffs, Rong Sun, Jason Wang, Jeffrey Wang, and Jennifer Wang filed this action against Defendants, City of Torrance and County of Los Angeles for damages arising out of an automobile accident that killed Decedent, Charles Wang.

The Court heard Defendant the City of Torrance’s motion for summary judgment on August 26, 2020, where it took the matter under submission. On October 8, 2020, the City’s motion for summary judgment was granted. On December 10, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.

Thereafter, on April 14, 2020, the City filed its memorandum of costs. On April 24, 2020, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to tax costs in the sum of $2,433.58.

This matter was last heard on May 26, 2021, where it was continued to August 31, 2021. On August 17, 2021, the City filed its opposition, and on August 23, 2021, Plaintiffs filed a reply.

2. Motion to Tax Costs

a. Initial Note

As an initial matter, the court notes that upon filing of an appeal, it retains jurisdiction to rule on matters collateral to the judgment. (CCP ; 916(a).) A motion to tax costs is a collateral matter. (Hennessy v. Superior Court (1924) 194 Cal. 368, 372; Bankes v. Lucas (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 365, 369.) Accordingly, the Notice of Appeal does not divest the court of jurisdiction to decide the motion to tax costs.

b. Analysis

In general, the “prevailing party” is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs for suit in any action or proceeding. (CCP, ;1032(b); Santisas v. Goodin (1998) 17 Cal.4th 599, 606; Scott Co. Of Calif. v. Blount, Inc. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1103, 1108.) Assuming the “prevailing party” requirements are met, the trial court has no discretion to order each party to bear his or her own costs of suit. (Michell v. Olick (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1194, 1198; Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 129.)

Allowable costs under CCP Section 1033.5 must be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation, and must be reasonable in amount. An item not specifically allowable under Section 1033.5(a) nor prohibited under subdivision (b) may nevertheless be recoverable in the discretion of the court if they meet the above requirements (i.e., reasonably necessary and reasonable in amount). 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. (Ladas v. California State Automotive Assoc. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 773-774.) 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. (Ibid.) Whether a cost item was reasonably necessary to the litigation presents a question of fact for the trial court and its decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion. (Ibid.) However, because the right to costs is governed strictly by statute, a court has no discretion to award costs not statutorily authorized. (Id.) Discretion is abused only when, in its exercise, the court “exceeds the bounds of reason, all of the circumstances being considered.” (Ibid.)

Furthermore, whether or not an item is “reasonably necessary” is not the same as “merely convenient of beneficial to its preparation.” (Ladas, supra, 19 Cal.App.4th at 774.) Once proper objections are asserted, the burden of proof rests with the party seeking to recover its costs. (Ibid.) When items are properly challenged by a motion to tax costs and do not appear on their face to be proper and necessary, or if necessity is doubtful, the burden of establishing necessity is on the party claiming those items of costs. (Ibid.) “[T]he mere filing of a motion to tax costs may be a ‘proper objection’ to an item, the necessity of which appears doubtful, or which does not appear to be proper on its face. [Citation.] However, ‘[i]f the items appear to be proper charges, the verified memorandum is prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses and services therein listed were necessarily incurred by the defendant [citations], and the burden of showing that an item is not properly chargeable or is unreasonable is upon the [objecting party].’ [Citations.]” (Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 131.)

Here, Plaintiff’s move to tax $1,015.00 as costs from item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16. As to the item 6 costs, Plaintiffs argue $1,015 represent rush delivery fees that were not reasonable or necessary to the conduct of this litigation. Plaintiffs argue there was no need for personal delivery of every document in this action, as Plaintiffs were cooperative throughout and did not require personal delivery of any documents. As to item 16, Plaintiffs contend that $1,418.58 requested as costs for Westlaw research is improper because legal research costs is not a recoverable item under CCP ; 1033.5. Plaintiffs further contend the issues in this matter were confined to California law, and there was no need for extensive research on any matters, such as federal laws or the laws of other states.

In opposition, the City argues the requests costs were all reasonable and necessary. The City contends the cost of legal research is not explicitly precluded by CCP ; 1033.5, and the legal research costs should be allowed, as the City used it when drafting its motion for summary judgment. Further, the City argues Plaintiffs provide no authority to support a contention the rush fees or personal service were unreasonable.

In reply, Plaintiffs contend the City improperly relies on unpublished opinions. Plaintiffs contend fees for legal research are not recoverable, as awarding the costs would shift to Plaintiffs the overhead costs of defense counsel’s firm. Additionally, Plaintiffs the repeated personal service of the deposition subpoenas was not necessary or reasonable.

First, as to Plaintiff’s request to tax $1,015.00 as costs from item 6, Plaintiffs identify 29 entries for Ronsin Litigation Support Services in the amount of $35 that Plaintiffs contend the City did not need to incur for personal delivery on a rush. Process server costs are permitted under CCP ; 1033.5(a)(4). (Science Application International Corporation v. Superior Court (1995) 39 CaLApp.4th 1095, 1102.) Specifically, the amount actually incurred in effecting service of process by a registered process server is recoverable under CCP ; 1033.5(a)(4)(B). (Citizens for Responsible Development v City of West Hollywood (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 490, 506.) The City, in this case, cites to two Federal Court opinions allowing costs for personal service. However, the City does not offer any explanation as to why the rush services fee highlighted by Plaintiffs were reasonably incurred or reasonably necessary to the conduct of this litigation. The City does not meet its burden of establishing the costs were necessary and reasonably incurred in the conduct of this litigation. (See Ladas, 19 Cal.App.4th at 773-74.)

Therefore, Plaintiffs’ motion to tax costs is granted as to $1,015.00 item 6 is granted.

Second, as to $1,418.58 from item 16 for Westlaw research, Plaintiffs contend such costs are not recoverable under CCP ; 1033.5. The City contends it used Westlaw for legal research when drafting its motion for summary judgment; however, the City does not cite any California authority allowing such costs. Computerized legal research charges are not expressly allowable under CCP ; 1033.5(a). “Fees for legal research, computer or otherwise, may not be recovered under section 1033.5.” (Ladas, 19 Cal.App.4th at 776.) As Plaintiffs argue, computerized legal research expenses are part of the overhead law firms experience in doing business. The court declines to follow any contrary federal authority which, at best, is persuasive and not controlling.

Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ motion to tax costs is granted as to $1,418.58 from item 16.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs’ motion to tax costs is granted as to $1,015.00 item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16, for a total of $2,433.58.

Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

Dated this 31st day of August, 2021

Hon. Audra Mori

Judge of the Superior Court

'


Case Number: ****7211    Hearing Date: May 26, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

RONG SUN, ET AL.,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CITY OF TORRANCE, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: ****7211

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Dept. 31

8:30 a.m.

May 26, 2021

  1. Background Facts

    Plaintiffs, Rong Sun, Jason Wang, Jeffrey Wang, and Jennifer Wang filed this action against Defendants, City of Torrance and County of Los Angeles for damages arising out of an automobile accident that killed Decedent, Charles Wang.

    The Court heard Defendant the City of Torrance’s motion for summary judgment on August 26, 2020, where it took the matter under submission. On October 8, 2020, the City’s motion for summary judgment was granted. On December 10, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.

    Thereafter, on April 14, 2020, the City filed its memorandum of costs. On April 24, 2020, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to tax costs in the sum of $2,433.58.

    Based on current conditions, including, but not limited to, the spread of COVID-19, the court set this matter to be heard on September 28, 2020. At the September 28, 2020 hearing counsel for both parties appeared, and the motion was continued to May 26, 2021. The court further set an OSC re: Dismissal and OSC: Outcome of Appeal for the same day. As of May 21, 2020, the court has not received any opposition to the motion.

  2. Motion to Tax Costs

  1. Initial Note

    As an initial matter, the court notes that upon filing of an appeal, it retains jurisdiction to rule on matters collateral to the judgment. (CCP ; 916(a).) A motion to tax costs is a collateral matter. (Hennessy v. Superior Court (1924) 194 Cal. 368, 372; Bankes v. Lucas (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 365, 369.) Accordingly, the Notice of Appeal does not divest the court of jurisdiction to decide the motion to tax costs.

  2. Analysis

    In general, the “prevailing party” is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs for suit in any action or proceeding. (CCP, ;1032(b); Santisas v. Goodin (1998) 17 Cal.4th 599, 606; Scott Co. Of Calif. v. Blount, Inc. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1103, 1108.) Assuming the “prevailing party” requirements are met, the trial court has no discretion to order each party to bear his or her own costs of suit. (Michell v. Olick (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1194, 1198; Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 129.)

    Allowable costs under CCP Section 1033.5 must be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation, and must be reasonable in amount. An item not specifically allowable under Section 1033.5(a) nor prohibited under subdivision (b) may nevertheless be recoverable in the discretion of the court if they meet the above requirements (i.e., reasonably necessary and reasonable in amount). 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. (Ladas v. California State Automotive Assoc. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 773-774.) 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. (Ibid.) Whether a cost item was reasonably necessary to the litigation presents a question of fact for the trial court and its decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion. (Ibid.) However, because the right to costs is governed strictly by statute, a court has no discretion to award costs not statutorily authorized. (Id.) Discretion is abused only when, in its exercise, the court “exceeds the bounds of reason, all of the circumstances being considered.” (Ibid.)

    Here, Plaintiff’s move to tax $1,015.00 as costs from item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16. As to the item 6 costs, Plaintiffs argue $1,015 represent rush delivery fees that were not reasonable or necessary to the conduct of this litigation. Plaintiffs argue there was no need for personal delivery of every document in this action, as Plaintiffs were cooperative throughout and did not require personal delivery of any documents. As to item 16, Plaintiffs contend that $1,418.58 requested as costs for Westlaw research is improper because legal research costs is not a recoverable item under CCP ; 1033.5. Plaintiffs further contend the issues in this matter were confined to California law, and there was no need for extensive research on any matters, such as federal laws or the laws of other states.

    The City does not oppose the motion, and thus, does not meet its burden of establishing the costs were necessary and reasonably incurred in the conduct of this litigation. (See Ladas, 19 Cal.App.4th at 773-74.)

    Therefore, Plaintiffs’ motion to tax costs is granted as to $1,015.00 item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16, for a total of $2,433.58.

    Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice.

    Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

Dated this 26th day of May, 2021

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****7211    Hearing Date: September 28, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

RONG SUN, ET AL.,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CITY OF TORRANCE, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: ****7211

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO TAX COSTS

Dept. 31

8:30 a.m.

September 28, 2020

  1. Background Facts

    Plaintiffs, Rong Sun, Jason Wang, Jeffrey Wang, and Jennifer Wang filed this action against Defendants, City of Torrance and County of Los Angeles for damages arising out of an automobile accident that killed Decedent, Charles Wang.

    The Court heard Defendant the City of Torrance’s motion for summary judgment on 8/26/19, where it took the matter under submission. On 10/8/19, the City’s motion for summary judgment was granted. On 12/10/19, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.

    Thereafter, on 4/14/20, the City filed its memorandum of costs. On 4/24/20, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to tax costs in the sum of $2,433.58. Based on current conditions, including, but not limited to, the spread of COVID-19, the court set this matter to be heard on 9/28/20, and ordered the moving party, Plaintiffs, to give notice of the hearing date. (Min. Order 5/1/20.) As of 9/23/20, Plaintiffs have not filed any such notice with this court.

    The hearing on the motion is continued to ___{{TBD}}______________ at 8:30 a.m. in Department 31 of the Spring Street Courthouse. If this date is not an available date for Plaintiffs, Plaintiffs may use the online reservation system to change the hearing date to the next available convenient date in the system.

    Alternatively, if Plaintiffs can produce evidence that they properly gave notice of the subject hearing date as ordered, the court rules as follows:

  2. Motion to Tax Costs

  1. Initial Note

    As an initial matter, the court notes that upon filing of an appeal, it retains jurisdiction to rule on matters collateral to the judgment. (CCP ; 916(a).) A motion to tax costs is a collateral matter. (Hennessy v. Superior Court (1924) 194 Cal. 368, 372; Bankes v. Lucas (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 365, 369.) Accordingly, the Notice of Appeal does not divest the court of jurisdiction to decide the motion to tax costs.

  2. Analysis

    In general, the “prevailing party” is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs for suit in any action or proceeding. (CCP, ;1032(b); Santisas v. Goodin (1998) 17 Cal.4th 599, 606; Scott Co. Of Calif. v. Blount, Inc. (1999) 20 Cal.4th 1103, 1108.) Assuming the “prevailing party” requirements are met, the trial court has no discretion to order each party to bear his or her own costs of suit. (Michell v. Olick (1996) 49 Cal.App.4th 1194, 1198; Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 129.)

    Allowable costs under CCP Section 1033.5 must be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation, and must be reasonable in amount. An item not specifically allowable under Section 1033.5(a) nor prohibited under subdivision (b) may nevertheless be recoverable in the discretion of the court if they meet the above requirements (i.e., reasonably necessary and reasonable in amount). 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. (Ladas v. California State Automotive Assoc. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 773-774.) 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. (Ibid.) Whether a cost item was reasonably necessary to the litigation presents a question of fact for the trial court and its decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion. (Ibid.) However, because the right to costs is governed strictly by statute, a court has no discretion to award costs not statutorily authorized. (Id.) Discretion is abused only when, in its exercise, the court “exceeds the bounds of reason, all of the circumstances being considered.” (Ibid.)

    Here, Plaintiff’s move to tax $1,015.00 as costs from item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16. As to the item 6 costs, Plaintiffs argue $1,015 represent rush delivery fees that were not reasonable or necessary to the conduct of this litigation. Plaintiffs argue there was no need for personal delivery of every document in this action, as Plaintiffs were cooperative throughout and did not require personal delivery of any documents. As to item 16, Plaintiffs contend that $1,418.58 requested as costs for Westlaw research is improper because legal research costs is not a recoverable item under CCP ; 1033.5. Plaintiffs further contend the issues in this matter were confined to California law, and there was no need for extensive research on any matters, such as federal laws or the laws of other states.

    The City does not oppose the motion, and thus, does not meet its burden of establishing the costs were necessary and reasonably incurred in the conduct of this litigation. (See Ladas, 19 Cal.App.4th at 773-74.)

    Therefore, Plaintiffs’ motion to tax costs is granted as to $1,015.00 item 6 and $1,418.58 from item 16, for a total of $2,433.58.

    Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice.

    Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

Dated this 28th day of September, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where CITY OF TORRANCE is a litigant