Chapter 22 - § 22.2 TAXED COSTS



➢ Awards of Costs Must Be "Reasonable" considering relevant factors, including the needs and complexity of the case and amount in controversy. C.R.C.P. 54(d) and 2015 cmt. [2].

➢ Amount Discretionary. Generally, the awarding of costs is within the sound discretion of the trial court. Absent a statute or rule specifically prohibiting an award of costs, trial courts may exercise their discretion to award costs to a prevailing party. In re Water Rights ofBd. ofCounty Comm'rs, 891 P.2d 981, 983-84 (Colo. 1995); Ballow v. PHICO Ins. Co., 878 P.2d 672, 684 (Colo. 1994). See also Jefferson County Bd. of Equalization v. Gerganoff, 241 P.3d 932 (Colo. 2010) (state Board of Assessment Appeals has discretion to award or deny costs).
➢ Prevailing Party Defined. A prevailing party is one who prevails on a significant issue in the litigation and achieves some of the benefits sought by the litigation. In re Water Rights of Bd. of County Comm'rs, 891 P.2d 981, 984 (Colo. 1995). The court should examine the overall "context of the case and should consider where in the case the parties spent the majority of their time and resources." Anderson v. Pursell, 244 P.3d 1188, 1194 (Colo. 2010). The focus of the prevailing party analysis is not on procedural victories during the course of the litigation but on the final disposition of the substantive issues. Reyher v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 280 P.3d 64, 72 (Colo. App. 2012).

➢ When Each Party Prevails. If each party prevails in part, an award of costs is committed to the sole discretion of the trial court. Archer v. Farmer Bros. Co., 90 P.3d 228, 231 (Colo. 2004); Husband v. Colorado Mountain Cellars, Inc., 867 P.2d 57, 62 (Colo. App. 1993).

➢ Motion for Costs Does Not Amend Judgment. A judgment is final when it disposes of the entire litigation on the merits. However, a motion for costs does not stay the finality of a judgment. Hierath-Prout v. Bradley, 982 P.2d 329, 330 (Colo. App. 1999).

➢ Timing of Motion for Costs. A party claiming costs must file a bill of costs within 21 days of the entry of judgment, or within such greater time as the court may allow. C.R.C.P. 121 § 1-22. Although the trial court has discretion to enlarge the time for filing a bill of costs, the filing of a motion for enlargement does not toll the existing filing deadline until the court acts on the motion. Similarly, the parties cannot stipulate to enlarging the time for filing a bill of costs without court approval. A party seeking an enlargement of time within which to take a required action delays beyond an as-yet unextended deadline at its own peril. See Moyer v. Empire Lodge Homeowners' Ass'n, 78 P.3d 313, 315 (Colo. 2003). Because a decision concerning a request for costs does not amend or otherwise affect the finality of the judgment on the merits, such a request, like a request for attorney fees not sought as damages, is outside the purview of C.R.C.P. 59. Hierath-Prout v. Bradley, 982 P.2d 329, 330 (Colo. App. 1999).

➢ When Plaintiff Recovers Costs. If a plaintiff prevails, then the court shall enter judgment against the defendant for plaintiff's costs. C.R.S. § 13-16-104; Wallace Plumbing Co. v. Dillon, 73 Colo. 10, 12, 213 P. 130, 131 (1922).

➢ When Defendant Recovers Costs. When the plaintiff is nonprossed, the plaintiff's case is dismissed, or verdict is entered against the plaintiff, the defendant shall have judgment to recover costs against the plaintiff. C.R.S. § 13-16-105. Although the trial court has "considerable discretion in determining which costs to award and what amounts are reasonable," the court cannot deny costs altogether. Acierno v. Garyfallos, 409 P.3d 464, 476 (Colo. App. 2016).
➢ Costs When Case Dismissed. When the plaintiff's case is dismissed for irregularity, is nonprossed, or is nonsuited for failure to prosecute, the defendant must be awarded costs. C.R.S. § 13-16-113(1). When a defendant prevails on a Rule 12(b) motion in a wrongful death case, the defendant must be awarded costs, C.R.S. § 13-16-113(2), unless the Rule 12(b) motion is treated as and disposed of pursuant to C.R.C.P. 56. C.R.S. § 13-16-113(2). The trial court may not reduce the award of costs on the basis that some costs are for work or expenditures that may be useful in continuing litigation. Crandall v. City & County of Denver, 238 P.3d 659, 661-65 (Colo. 2010). When a bill in equity is dismissed, the defendant must be awarded his or her full costs. C.R.S. § 13-16-114.

➢ Amount of Costs is Discretionary. The trial court has discretion in making an award of costs. Rossmiller v. Romero, 625 P.2d 1029 (Colo. 1981); Winkler v. Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Methodist

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