The following blog entry is written to illustrate a common motion filed during civil litigation. Reviewing this kind of filing should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.
(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)
Each party took only one non-expert deposition in accordance with CCP § 94(b). Ms. Hill did not take the deposition of defendants experts and wold have stipulated to defendants taking the depositions of plaintiff’s two experts, consistent with CCP § 95(b). Accordingly, the deposition costs would have been the same had the case been brought in limited jurisdiction.
Trial Costs: Jury and Court Reporter
Whether in limited or unlimited jurisdiction the facts of the case would have been the same and therefore the trial would have taken the same amount of time. Defendants have provided no authority that Ms. Hill would have been restricted in the number of witnesses she would have been allowed to call at trial had she brought the case in limited jurisdiction. If the jury trial would have been the same length in limited jurisdiction, then the jury fees, jury food and court reporting fees would have been the same wether the case was in limited or unlimited jurisdiction.
Service of Process Costs
Ms. Hill includes costs for service of process for serving three individuals: Sophia Lee, John Lee, and Sgt John Smith. Once again, all three of these individuals would have been served whether the case was in limited or unlimited jurisdiction. Therefore the costs associated with service of process would have been the same wether the case was in limited or unlimited jurisdiction.
In limited jurisdiction cases, under CCP § 98, the parties have the election of using prepared testimony in lieu of direct testimony. This is an election and there is nothing in CCP § 98 that suggests if parties chooses not to utilize this section then they will not be entitled to costs associated with the witness’ live testimony. Additionally, defendant has provided no authority stating that Ms. Hill would not have been entitled to have two expert witnesses had the case proceeded in limited jurisdiction. Accordingly, the witness fees would have been the same had the case been brought in limited jurisdiction.
In summation, this court should exercise its discretion and grant Ms. Hill all of her requested statutorily recoverable costs. Plaintiff did not incur unreasonable costs in this case and the costs would have been essential the same had the case been brought in limited jurisdiction. (See Part 6 of 7.)