United States District Court, D. Arizona
Douglas L. Rayes, United States District Judge
the Court are Petitioner Akwasi Damoah Asumadu's motion
for necessary expenses (Doc. 68), and Respondent Hannah
Boahemaa Baffoe's motion for review of the Clerk of
Court's judgment on taxation of costs (Doc. 76). Both
motions are fully briefed. (Docs. 73, 77-78.) For the
following reasons, Asumadu's motion is denied,
Baffoe's motion is granted, and the Clerk of Court's
judgment on taxation of costs is modified as explained
Motion for Necessary Expenses
seeks recovery of “necessary transportation
expenses” pursuant to the International Child Abduction
Remedies Act (“ICARA”), 22 U.S.C. §
9007(b)(3). (Doc. 68 at 6.) Specifically, Asumadu seeks: (1)
$1, 201.73 for transportation and lodging related to the July
31, 2018 bench trial, and (2) $674.31 for transportation and
lodging related to K.A.A.'s return to Canada.
(Id.) In relevant part, ICARA provides that:
Any court ordering the return of a child . . . shall order
the respondent to pay necessary expenses incurred by or on
behalf of the petitioner, including . . . transportation
costs related to the return of the child, unless the
respondent establishes that such order would be clearly
22 U.S.C. 9007(b)(3). ICARA “contemplates the use of
such awards to restore a petitioner to the financial position
he or she would have been in had there been no removal or
retention, as well as to deter violations of the Hague
Convention.” Aguilera v. DeLara, No.
14-01209-PHX-DGC, 2014 WL 4204947, *1 (D. Ariz. Aug. 25,
2014). As the respondent, Baffoe bears the burden of
establishing that an award of fees and costs would be clearly
inappropriate under the circumstances. Id. at 2.
asserts that an assessment of the sought-after expenses
against her is clearly inappropriate because her actions were
a result of Asumadu's physical abuse, and that any
assessment of expenses would cause her financial hardship.
(Doc. 73 at 1.) Baffoe also argues that some of the
sought-after expenses were unnecessary or excessive.
(Id. at 4-5.)
in determining whether expenses are ‘clearly
inappropriate,' courts have considered the degree to
which the petitioner bears responsibility for the
circumstances giving rise to the fees and costs associated
with a petition.” Souratgar v. Lee Jen Fair,
818 F.3d 72, 79 (2d Cir. 2016) (citing cases). For example,
awarding expenses is clearly inappropriate where the
prevailing petitioner physically abused the respondent,
see, e.g., Aguilera, 2014 WL 4204947, at *1-2,
because “a [parent] should not be required under the
threat of monetary sanctions to choose between continued
abuse (mental as well as physical) and separation from a
young child[.]” Guaragno v. Guaragno, No.
09-CV-187, 2010 WL 5564628, at *3 (N.D. Tex. Oct. 19, 2010),
adopted by 2011 WL 108946 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 11, 2011).
Court previously found that “the description of events
provided by Baffoe is consistent with her having been the
victim of some form of domestic violence, ” and that
“Asumadu likely struck Baffoe on more than one
occasion.” (Doc. 60 at 7.) Under the circumstances, the
Court finds that Baffoe “was faced with a cruel
dilemma, whether to continue to receive the physical abuse .
. . from [Asumadu], or retreat and suffer from the separation
of the child.” Guaragno, 2010 WL 5564628, at
*3. Accordingly, an award of expenses would be clearly
inappropriate in this case.
Motion for Review of the Clerk of Court's Judgment on
Taxation of Costs
moves the Court for review of the Clerk of Court's
Judgment on Taxation of Costs. (Doc. 75.) Of the $3, 150.02
in costs awarded to Asumadu, $2, 233.94 were attributed to
service fees. (Doc. 75 at 1.) Baffoe challenges the Clerk of
Court's finding with respect to the service fees only,
arguing that the Clerk's finding “was not limited
to fees incurred in connection with service of process”
and therefore should be reduced from $2, 233.94 to
$532.50.” (Doc. 78 at 1.)
motion for review of a clerk's taxation of costs, a
district court reviews de novo the clerk's judgment.
United States ex rel. Lindenthal v. Gen. Dynamics
Corp., 61 F.3d 1402, 1412 n.13 (9th Cir. 1995).
“The general rule on the taxation of costs is that the
district court has discretion to fix the costs.”
Johnson v. Pac. Lighting Land Co., 878 F.2d 297, 298
(9th Cir. 1989).
review of the record, the Court finds that the Clerk of Court
awarded service fees for activities undertaken after, and
unrelated to, the service of process. (Doc. 66-2.) Process
was served on Baffoe on May 12, 2018, and the affidavit of
service was completed by Inter-State Investigative Services
(“IIS”) on May 13, 2018. Based on ISS's
invoice, the service of process fees should be reduced from
$2, 233.94 to $1, 107.50. (Id. at 3-4.) Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED that Asumadu's motion
(Doc. 68) for necessary expenses is DENIED.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that Baffoe's motion for
review of the Clerk of Court's judgment on taxation of