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June 18, 2002


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James H. Alesia, United States Dictrict Jedge


On April 11, 2002, this court granted defendants' motion for summary judgment and entered final judgment in favor of defendants Fernando Flores and Anthony Schwocher and against plaintiff John Ochana. Ochana v. Flores, No. 00 C 7869, 2002 WL 553150 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 11, 2002). Currently before the court is defendants' motion for entry of an order on their bill of costs. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants in part and denies in part defendants' motion.


A. Background

Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure sets forth the general rule that costs other than attorneys' fees "shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party," except as otherwise provided by statute or in the rules. Payne v. Milwaukee County, 288 F.3d 1021, 1027 (7th Cir. 2002) (quoting FED. R. Civ. P. 54(d)). The proper measure of those costs is set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 ("§ 1920"). Tidemann v. Nadler Golf Car Sales, Inc., 224 F.3d 719, 726 (7th Cir. 2000). The costs explicitly allowed by § 1920 are: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for court reporters and transcripts; (3) fees for printing and witnesses; (4) fees for copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees; and (6) compensation of court-appointed experts and interpreters. § 1920. There is a heavy presumption in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing party. Majeske v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000). Taxing costs against a losing party requires two inquiries: (1) whether the cost imposed on the losing party is recoverable, and (2) if so, whether the amount assessed for that item was reasonable. Id.

As an initial matter, the court disagrees with plaintiffs argument that no costs should be awarded because all costs sought were paid by the City of Chicago, a non-party in this case. Plaintiff is correct that the City of Chicago itself is a non-party in this case and, therefore, cannot be a prevailing party. However, as demonstrated by receipts attached to the bill of costs, the costs were paid by the Assistant Corporation Counsel Individual Defense Litigation which represented Officers Flores and Schwocher throughout these proceedings. As the prevailing parties, these defendants are entitled to costs through their attorneys, the Assistant Corporation Counsel. Therefore, the bill of costs was properly filed by the prevailing party.

Defendants seek recovery for the following in their bill of costs: (1) $1,781.25 for deposition and transcript costs; (2) $760.80 for photocopying fees; (3) $43.00 in witness and subpoena fees; and (4) $249.00 for other costs relating to medical records and photographs. Because all these costs are recoverable under § 1920, the court's only inquiry is whether the amount assessed for each item was reasonable. Plaintiff has no objection to the witness and subpoena fees, but objected to several other portions of defendants' bill of costs. The court will review each of the disputed costs in turn.

B. Deposition and transcript costs

Plaintiff objects to the amount charged for deposition transcripts, condensed transcripts and ASCII disks, and an expedited transcript. The court will address each objection in turn.

1. Deposition transcript charges

First, according to Local Rule 54.1(b), "the costs of the transcript or deposition shall not exceed the regular copy rate as established by the Judicial Conference of the United States and in effect at the time the transcript or deposition was filed unless some other rate was previously provided for by order of court." Loc. R., 54.1(b). The Judicial Conference Rate allowed for original deposition transcripts is $3.00 per page. VI JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES GUIDE TO JUDICIARY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, COURT REPORTERS MANUAL, ch. 20, pt. 20.3 (1998) ("COURT REPORTERS MANUAL"). This fee covers all costs of transcript production. Id. at pt. 20.8. See also Cengr v. Fusibond Piping Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 445, 456 (7th Cir. 1998) (summarizing the judicial conference rates applicable to various types of transcripts).

Defendants seek deposition costs of $3.25 per page for the depositions of Ochana, Flores, Schwocher and Oggerino, and they seek $4.00 per page for the Murphy deposition. Because the maximum charge per page for a deposition transcript is $3.00, these costs must be reduced using the judicial conference rates. The court reduces defendants' award by the following amounts: (a) $31.25 for the 125-page original transcript of Ochana; (b) $31.00 for the 124-page combined original transcript of Flores and Schwocher; (c) $35.25 for the 141-page original transcript of Oggerino; and (d) $30.00 for the 30-page original transcript of Murphy. Thus, the court reduces defendants' award by a total of $127.50 for the deposition transcripts of the aforementioned witnesses.

2. Condensed transcripts and ASCII Disks

Second, in addition to the regular transcripts, defendants also seek $18.75 for a condensed transcript of the Ochana deposition, $25.00 for a condensed transcript of the combined Flores and Schwocher deposition, and $20.00 for ASCII disks of the combined Flores and Schwocher deposition. The Judicial Conference rate of $3.00 per page for original deposition transcripts covers all costs of transcript production. COURT REPORTERS MANUAL, ch. 20, Pt. 20.8. Costs for condensed transcripts are not recoverable. Winery v. City of Chicago, No. 96 C 1208, 2000 WL 1222152, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 22, 2000). Also, defendants are not entitled to recover charges for ASCII diskettes of deposition transcripts, which are merely for the attorney's convenience and not necessary to litigating the case. Antonson v. United Armored Servs., Inc., No. 00 C 4095, 2002 WL 908424 (N.D. Ill. May 6, 2002) (citing Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., 126 F.3d 926, 946 (7th Cir. 1997)); Rogers v. City of Chicago, No. 00 C 2227, 2002 WL 423723, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 15, 2002); Jones v. Bd. of Trs. of Comty. Coll. Dist. No. 508, 197 F.R.D. 363, 364-65 (N.D. ...

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