Appeal from the Superior Court in Yuma County No. S1400CV200800665 The Honorable Lawrence C. Kenworthy, Judge
Knapp & Roberts, PC, Scottsdale By David L. Abney Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Shultz & Rollins, LTD., Tucson By Silas H. Shultz and Michael F. Rollins Co-Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee/Cross-Appellant
Jardine Baker Hickman & Houston, PLLC, Phoenix By Kendall D. Steele Co-Counsel for Defendant/Appellant/Cross-Appellee
Melinda K. Cekander, PLLC, Flagstaff By Melinda K. Cekander Co-Counsel for Defendant/Appellant/Cross-Appellee
Judge Margaret H. Downie delivered the Opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Michael J. Brown joined.
¶1 A jury trial resulted in a verdict against defendant Frank's Service and Trucking, L.L.C. ("FST") based on a collision between FST driver Antonio Silva and plaintiff Hugo Reyes. FST had made a pretrial offer of judgment that exceeded the amount Reyes would recover based on the jury's verdict. The trial court denied FST's post-trial request for Arizona Rule of Civil Procedure 68(g) sanctions, though, because, after adding taxable costs to the damages award, Reyes's recovery exceeded the offer of judgment amount. To resolve FST's claims that the court erred by denying Rule 68(g) sanctions and by awarding costs that were not recoverable, we must determine whether various litigation expenses were properly characterized as taxable costs.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
¶2 Silva and Reyes were driving tractor/trailer rigs when they collided on an interstate highway in California. According to Silva, he was moving forward on the shoulder and signaling his entry onto the freeway from an "Emergency Parking Only" area when Reyes struck him from behind. Reyes contended Silva pulled into the through lane of travel quickly, leaving him no time to change lanes. Reyes was injured in the accident and incurred medical expenses in excess of $150, 000.
¶3 In November 2011, FST made an offer of judgment to Reyes for $200, 001.00. Reyes did not respond to the offer. The jury's August 2012 verdict set Reyes's damages at $370, 000. Jurors, however, found that Reyes was 49% at fault, thereby reducing his recovery to $188, 700.
¶4 During post-trial proceedings, Reyes claimed taxable costs exceeding $30, 000, more than half of which he incurred before FST made its offer of judgment. The trial court ruled that Reyes was entitled to recover $32, 052.12 in taxable costs and denied FST's request for Rule 68 sanctions. The final judgment awarded Reyes $188, 700 in damages and $32, 052.12 in taxable costs.
¶5 FST filed a timely notice of appeal, and Reyes filed a timely cross-appeal. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 12-2101(A)(1).
I. FST's Appeal
A. Taxable Costs
¶6 "A party to a civil action cannot recover its litigation expenses as costs without statutory authorization." Schritter v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 201 Ariz. 391, 392, ¶ 6, 36 P.3d 739, 740 (2001). Taxable costs are identified in A.R.S. § 12-332(A); as relevant here, the statute provides:
A. Costs in the superior court ...