Category Archives: Trial

Stop Apologizing For Showing Unreadable Text in Court – Fix It Instead

Sorry-I-know-this-is-hard-to-read-from-there

I love working as a trial technician because I get to be in the room where it happens, watching and listening to attorneys present their cases. As an attorney myself, I’ve been in their shoes, and I learn a lot by listening in court and thinking about the choices made in presentation.

One thing I often note are apologies by the attorneys. Among those apologies, among the most frequent is some variant of “I know you can’t read this from there.” Continue reading

Cost recovery for preparation and presentation of electronic evidence – Green v. County of Riverside

Courtroom---San-Francisco-Superior-Court

Green v. County of Riverside, 238 Cal. App. 4th 1363 – Cal: Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate Dist., 1st Div. 2015

IV. Award of Trial Costs

Defendants contend that Green’s challenge to the cost award is not properly raised on appeal because she failed to separately appeal from the order awarding costs. We disagree. A cost award that is incidental to a judgment may be challenged on an appeal from the judgment even though the amount of costs was filled in on the judgment after the notice of appeal was filed. (Grant v. List & Lathrop (1992) 2 Cal.App.4th 993, 996-997 [3 Cal.Rptr.2d 654].) Accordingly, we will considerGreen’s contention regarding costs.

Green contends that the court should not have awarded $40,610.68 in “paralegal” costs because there was no basis for awarding attorney fees as costs. However, these costs reflected amounts defendants incurred for preparation and presentation of electronic evidence, including videos of deposition testimony, exhibits and excerpts from audio recordings, at trial.

1374*1374 (5) These costs are neither specifically allowable under Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a) nor prohibited by subdivision (b). They may be awarded provided they are “reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation.” (Id., subd. (c)(2); see Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 774 [23 Cal.Rptr.2d 810].) Whether such costs were reasonably necessary is a question of fact for the trial court and its decision is reviewed for abuse of discretion. (Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn., at p. 774.)

Use of such technology, including a technician to monitor the equipment and quickly resolve any glitches, has become commonplace, if not expected by jurors. (Bender v. County of Los Angeles (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 968, 990 [159 Cal.Rptr.3d 204].) The trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing these costs as reasonably helpful to aid the jury. (Ibid.; see American Airlines, Inc. v. Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (2002) 96 Cal.App.4th 1017, 1057 [117 Cal.Rptr.2d 685].)