W.D. Wash. Local Rule To The Contrary Required Reversal Of Premium Costs To Prevailing Ship Vessel Owner.
Bunker Holdings Ltd. v. Yang Ming Liberia Corp., No. 16-355539 (9th Cir. Oct. 11, 2018) (published) was a situation where a prevailing ship vessel owner in an admiralty/maritime case was awarded costs, under a W.D. Wash. Local rule, for premiums of an undertaking to keep in place a letter of undertaking that enabled the owner to secure release of the vessel (which had been arrested at the outset). The problem was that nothing in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 or any other statute allowed recovery for such costs, such that the local rule was unauthorized in nature. The Ninth Circuit did observe that this result was undesirable, but legislative action or SCOTUS action for admiralty/maritime cases was necessary to amend the governing statutes.
BLOG OBSERVATION—The conclusion in this case is consistent with California state court cases which nullify superior court local rules or Judicial Council Rules of Court which are contrary to express contrary statutes.