Copies of Exhibits Not Used at Trial Were Legitimate Given Defense Admitted Liability Close To Trial.
Plaintiff, in Grigsby v. Regents of the Univ. of Calif., Case No. B233430 (2d Dist., Div. 6 Dec. 19, 2012) (unpublished), won a $355,000 jury award in a premises liability case after he fractured a kneecap during a college baseball game at Regent’s baseball field. Regents appealed the denial of its motion to tax costs or conduct discovery on the costs for models, blowups, and exhibits copies (the last component not used at trial) claimed by plaintiff as routine costs in a costs memorandum.
The appellate court affirmed.
Ball’s eye-view of a home run. Will Crawford, artist. 1913. Library of Congress.
Regents first argued that plaintiff did not beat its $400,000 pretrial CCP § 998 offer. However, this did not prevail because the trial court added pre-offer costs of $49,446 such that the plaintiff did beat the $400,000 because the jury verdict and pre-offer costs added to $404,446--whew, not by much!
Nevertheless, that got everyone to the pivotal issue of whether exhibit copies not used at trial were properly added in the allowed pre-offer costs. Although the parties cited conflicting authorities on whether exhibits copies not used at trial are recoverable, the appellate court found that the facts really dictated the result here. What were the crucial circumstances? Regents admitted liability close to trial such that it was necessary and reasonable for plaintiff to rely on the exhibits not used at trial in light of the recent liability stipulation, a stipulation that should not trump costs incurred for exhibits not used but for the stipulation. Costs judgment affirmed.