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CANAL BARGE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH EDISON COMPANY

April 16, 2003

CANAL BARGE COMPANY, PLAINTIFF/COUNTER-DEFENDANT,
v.
COMMONWEALTH EDISON COMPANY, DEFENDANT/COUNTER-PLAINTIFF.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Nan R. Nolan, United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Canal Barge Company, Inc.'s ("Canal") Bill of Costs. Canal is the "prevailing party" on its complaint and seeks costs in the amount of $39,676.26. Defendant Commonwealth Edison Company ("ComEd") raises numerous objections to Canal's Bill of Costs. The Court will address each objection in turn.

DISCUSSION

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that the prevailing party shall be allowed costs other than attorneys' fees as a matter of course unless a statute, federal rule of civil procedure, or the court otherwise directs, Recoverable costs are listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Courts may not award costs not authorized by statute. Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 644 (7th Cir. 1993). "Generally, only misconduct by a prevailing party worthy of a penalty . . . or the losing party's inability to pay will suffice to justify denying costs." Congregation of the Passion, Holy Cross Province v. Touche, Ross & Co., 854 F.2d 219, 222 (7th Cir. 1988).

I. COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH CANAL'S COMPLAINT

ComEd first argues that Canal has failed to meet its burden of demonstrating that the costs for which it seeks reimbursement are solely and explicitly associated with its Complaint at Law as opposed to ComEd's Counterclaim. On its Bill of Costs, William P. Ryan, one of Canal's attorneys, declared under penalty of perjury that the costs sought are "correct and were necessarily incurred in this action and that the services for which fees have been charged were actually and necessarily performed." Canal's Response clarifies that the costs sought by Canal are solely and explicitly associated with Canal's Complaint. The Court accepts Canal's assertion as sufficient, Neither Federal Rule of Civil 54(d) nor Local Rule 54.1 requires further documentation.

II. FEES FOR SERVICE OF SUMMONS AND SUBPOENA

Canal seeks $836.50 for costs in serving seven subpoenas upon ComEd's witnesses. Section 1920(1) authorizes fees for service of subpoenas. Collins v. Gorman, 96 F.3d 1057 (7th Cir. 1996). Fees cannot exceed what the Marshal Service would have charged for these tasks. Id. The U.S. Marshal Service charges $45.00 per hour plus $0.365 per mile. Chamberlain Group, Inc. v. Interlogic, Inc., 2002 WL 31176068, *3 (N.D.Ill. Sept, 30, 2002).

For the reasons stated in Canal's Response, Canal is awarded the costs it seeks for service on Robert Beckwith, Larry Siler, Michael Bales, Margaret Ruarie, and George Rifakes. Canal states that it took several attempts to serve James Small, but Canal does not indicate precisely how long the service of James Small and Peter Merrill took. Therefore, the court awards only the $45.00 minimum charged by the U.S. Marshal's Service for subpoena service plus $0.365 per mile for one round-trip to serve Merrill and Small.

III. FEES FOR COURT REPORTERS

Canal seeks $12,640.35 for court reporter fees, depositions, and trial transcripts. The costs of transcripts "necessarily obtained for use in the case" are authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2).

A. Transcripts of Pre-Trial Matters

Canal submits invoices for transcripts of two pre-trial matters, the hearing on the parties' motions in limine and the final pre-trial conference. The costs of obtaining copies of these transcripts are recoverable. The invoices submitted by Canal provide sufficient detail for the Court to determine the reasonableness of the costs. The transcripts were also reasonably necessary for trial because they include legal and evidentiary rulings by the Court that governed the trial of this matter. The Court accepts Canal's further explanation that the transcripts were necessary to prepare for witness testimony and argument. Barber, 7 F.3d at 645 (stating "transcripts need not be absolutely indispensable in order to provide the basis of an award of costs; it is enough if they are 'reasonably necessary'").

CoinEd objects to a hearing transcript invoice for $700.00 submitted by Canal. The Court sustains ComEd's objection because Canal fails to provide any explanation of the hearing or ...


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