Filing a motion for an order taxing costs in California is the topic of this article. Also discussed is requesting an order striking certain costs claimed in a Memorandum of Costs.
The motion is made pursuant to California Rule of Court 3.1700(b)(1). Taxing costs means that the costs are reduced to a certain amount because the claimed costs are excessive for some reason, striking costs means that the costs are stricken because they are not authorized by law, or for other reasons.
Any party who wants to have certain costs taxed or stricken must serve and file their motion within the time limits specified by California law. Any motion for an order taxing or striking costs in California must be served and filed 15 days after service of the cost memorandum. If the cost memorandum was served by mail, the period is extended as provided in Code of Civil Procedure section 1013 pursuant to California Rule of Court 3.1700(b)(1).
And the party filing the motion must also specify which item or items listed on the Memorandum of Costs should be taxed or stricken, unless they are objecting to the entire cost memorandum.
Note that there is also a deadline for serving and filing a Memorandum of Costs pursuant to California Rule of Court 3.1700(a)(1).
If the Memorandum of Costs was not served and filed in accordance with the law, a motion to strike the entire cost memorandum could be filed.
Section 1033.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure states in pertinent part: “Any award of costs shall be subject to the following: Allowable costs shall be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation. Allowable costs shall be reasonable in amount.”
Even if a cost claimed is authorized by law, if it was not reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation, or is not reasonable in amount, a motion taxing costs can be filed.
And a California Court of Appeal has ruled that once items in a cost memorandum are properly objected to, the burden of proof is placed on the party claiming them as costs. The same Court of Appeal also ruled that because the right to costs is governed strictly by statute, no court has discretion to award costs that are not authorized by statute.
Requesting an order striking certain costs is also appropriate in certain situations. This is due to the fact that many times a party will attempt to claim costs that are not authorized by any California law, such as fees for experts that were not ordered by the Court, for example, or attorney fees when there is no contractual or other legal basis for claiming them. If the costs are not objected to they will be added to the judgment by the clerk.
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