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
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. Ill.
2000). Accordingly, defendants' request to tax the costs of the condensed
transcripts and ASCII disks is denied. Thus, the court eliminates from
defendants' costs the total additional costs of $63.75 related to the
condensed deposition transcripts ($43.75) and ASCII disks ($20).
3. Expedited transcript
Third, defendants seek $80.00 in costs for a daily transcript of the
October 31, 2001 court proceeding at $5.00 per page. At the October 31,
2001 court hearing, the court ruled on Plaintiffs Motion for Return of
Evidence and Plaintiffs Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended
Complaint Instanter. Plaintiff argues that this transcript was not
necessarily incurred and that the only record needed of the ruling was
the court's order. However, defendants explain that the transcript of the
hearing was reasonably necessary to effect the release of plaintiffs
property and have a record of the court's ruling.
The court finds that defendants' explanation sufficiently demonstrates
that the transcript of the hearing was reasonably necessary. However, the
additional cost of expediting the transcript is not recoverable because
defendants provide no explanation for needing to expedite the transcript.
See Winery, 2000 WL 1222152, at *2 (stating that the party seeking
reimbursement must show that the expedited transcripts were reasonable and
necessary). Accordingly, defendants are entitled to recover $3.00 per page
for an ordinary transcript rather than $5.00 per page for a daily
transcript. Thus, the court reduces
defendants' award a total of $32.00 for
the original 16-page transcript of the October 31, 2001 court proceeding.
In sum, the court reduces defendants' deposition and transcript charges
by $223.25 ($127.50 for deposition transcripts $63.75 for condensed
transcripts and ASCII disks $32.00 for unnecessary expediting fees).
Thus, the court awards defendants $1,558.00 in deposition and transcript
C. Photocopying fees
Defendants seek reimbursement for 3,804 pages of photocopied
materials. As a preliminary matter, plaintiff objects to defendants'
charge of $0.20 per page for in-house copying costs. The court agrees
that $0.20 is too high for in-house charges. Charges for in-house
reproduction may not exceed the charges of an outside print shop.
Antonson, 2002 WL 908424 (citing Martin v. United States, 931 F.2d 453,
455 (7th Cir. 1991)). Local print shops charge $0.09 and $0.10 per page
for standard photocopying. See, e.g., Antonson, 2002 WL 908424 (finding
that $0.10 per page is a reasonable charge for in-house copying). Per
page charges exceeding those of outside print shops for standard copying
are allowed only when a party presents the court with an explanation as
to why such charges are appropriate. Rogers, 2002 WL 423723, at *4
(citing Manley v. City of Chicago, 236 F.3d 392, 398 (7th Cir. 2001)).
Defendants provide no factual basis to support why a $0.20 per page
charge is reasonable or appropriate. Therefore, the court reduces
defendants' in-house copying costs to $0.10 per page. See Rogers, 2002 WL
423723, at *4 (reducing in-house copying costs from $0.20 to $0.10 per
Defendants are entitled to recover the costs for making necessary
copies of necessary documents. Rogers, 2002 WL 423723, at *4. Copying
documents for production in discovery is necessary and recoverable.
Antonson, 2002 WL 908424. For documents filed with the court, only copies
for the court and one copy for opposing counsel are necessary. Id. The
cost of additional copies made for the convenience of counsel is not
recoverable. Antonson, 2002 WL 908424 (citing Haroco, Inc. v. Am. Nat'l
Bank & Trust Co., 38 F.3d 1429, 1441 (7th Cir. 1994)). Copying costs for
original documents are not taxable. Id. The burden is on the party
seeking reimbursement for photocopying costs to show that the photocopied
items were necessary; if that party fails to meet the burden, the court
should not award costs for those items. Chemetall GmbH v. ZR Energy,
Inc., No. 99 C 4334, 2001 WL 1104604, at *33 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 18, 2001)
Plaintiff objects to the copy charges for two sets of attachments.
First, plaintiff objects to defendants' charge for two copies of a
411-page letter with attachments sent to defendants' expert, John
Bowman. Second, plaintiff objects to defendants' charge for two copies of
another 411-page letter with attachments sent to plaintiffs counsel.
Defendants' bill of costs fails to detail the content of these lengthy
attachments or why two copies of each letter and attachments were
necessary. Defendants are not required to submit a bill of costs
"`containing a description so detailed as to make it impossible
economically to recover photocopying costs.'" Mortenson v. Nat'l Union
Fire Ins. Co., No. 99 C 2419, 2000 WL 347766, at *1 (N.D. Ill. April 3,
2000) (quoting Northbrook Excess & Surplus Ins. Co. v. Procter & Gamble
Co., 924 F.2d 633, 643 (7th Cir. 1991)). However, the court cannot award
defendants photocopying costs without some confidence that the costs are
properly recoverable. Also, it is logical to
assume, without further
explanation from defendants, that these copies were made for the
convenience of the defendants. Therefore, in the absence of a more
reliable verification that the copying costs were necessary, the court
will allow copy charges for only one copy of each letter and attachments
and will reduce the number of pages copied by 820 pages, as requested by
the plaintiff. Thus, the court reduces defendants' award for photocopying
to $298.40 (2,984 pages at $0.10 per page).
D. Other costs for medical records and photographs
Defendants seek costs for copying plaintiffs medical records. The bill
of costs contains three charges for Record Copy Services for Children's
Memorial Hospital in the amounts of $90.50, $36.00, and $19.75. It also
contains two charges for Record Copy Services at Northwestern Memorial
Hospital in the amounts of $36.00 and $19.75. Defendants' bill of costs
does not detail what medical records were copied or whether multiple
copies were made of the same records. In the absence of reliable
verification that the copying costs were necessary and not duplicative,
the court will allow only the highest single charge from each hospital
and award defendants a total of $126.50 for copies of medical records
($90.50 for Children Memorial Hospital records and $36.00 for
Northwestern Memorial Hospital records).
Defendants also seek costs for laser color prints for $19.75 and
reproduction of photographs taken of property recovered from plaintiff for
$27.25. Defendants explain that these photographs and reproductions were
necessary to preserve evidence of the condition of the property at the time
it was returned to plaintiff so they could lay a proper foundation at
trial. Defendants also explain that the photographs were necessary to show
the appearance of the property because plaintiff was charged with
possession of a controlled substance and plaintiff disputed that the
substance looked like any controlled substance. The court agrees with
defendants that these charges are proper as costs. Therefore, the
defendants are entitled to $47.00 for these photographs and reproductions.
In sum, the court awards defendants $173.50 for other costs related to
medical records ($126.50) and photographs ($47.00).
For the foregoing reasons, the court grants in part and denies in part
defendants' motion for entry of an order on their bill of costs. Defendants
are awarded the following costs: (1) $1,558.00 for deposition and
transcript costs; (2) $298.40 for photocopying fees; (3) $43.00 in witness
and subpoena fees; and (4) $173.50 for other costs relating to medical
records photographs. Defendants are awarded total costs of $2,072.90.
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