Although Adjustor Was Represented Jointly With Two Nonprevailing Defendants, Costs Were Carefully Apportioned By Lower Court In Fashioning Costs Award.
In Owens v. Bynum, Case No. A152090 (1st Dist., Div. 3 Sept. 25, 2018) (unpublished), defendant independent insurance adjustor was awarded costs of $8,148.47 in routine costs against plaintiff after defendant won a demurrer and summary adjudication disposing of the case against him. Two other nonprevailing defendants, represented by the same counsel as independent adjustor, settled. Adjustor sought $14,678.47 in costs but the trial court carefully apportioned costs, allocating some of the claimed ones to the settling defendants so that $8,148.47 were awarded to adjustor and against plaintiff.
Plaintiff’s appeal of the costs award was unsuccessful.
The appellate court rejected the contention that the costs were not “incurred” because the settling defendants might have paid adjustor’s costs. Nothing in CCP § 1033.5(c)(1) requires that the prevailing party must have personally incurred the obligations. (Litt v. Eisenhower Medical Center, 237 Cal.App.4th 1217, 1222 (2015).) Otherwise, the apportionment by the trial court was fair given that the case was resolved against adjustor and the other defendants such that there was no double dip specter, which distinguished the award in this case from the result in Fennessy v. Deleuw-Cather Corp., 218 Cal.App.4th3d 1192, 1196 (1990). Finally, plaintiff misunderstood that the costs did not have to be incurred solely for the benefit of the prevailing defendant, simply reasonably necessary to that litigant’s conduct in the litigation. (Charton v. Harkey, 247 Cal.App.4th 730, 744 (2016).)