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July 31, 2003


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harry Leinenweber, District Judge



Before the Court is Defendants News America Marketing In-Store, Inc. and News American Marketing In-Store Services, Inc.'s (hereinafter collectively, "NAMIS") petition for costs, which they timely filed after the Court granted summary judgment in their favor. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that "costs other than attorneys' fees shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the Court otherwise directs." 28 U.S.C. § 1920 specifies the costs that may be recovered pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1). The costs explicitly allowed by § 1920 are: (1) the 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. 28 U.S.C. § 1920. When evaluating a bill of costs, [ Page 2]

"the Court must determine whether (1) the expenses are allowable under § 1920, and (2) the expenses are reasonable and necessary." Deimer v. Cincinnati Sub-Zero Prods., Inc., 58 F.3d 341, 345 (7th Cir. 1995).

NAMIS requests that Plaintiff, Menasha Corp. (hereinafter "Menasha"), pay total taxable costs of $78,112.86, including deposition and transcript fees of $56,732.96, witness and subpoena service fees of $2,238.70, and copying costs of $19,141.20. Plaintiff raises numerous objections to these items. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part NAMIS's request.


A. Deposition Transcripts and Fees

NAMIS requests that Menasha be taxed $56,732.96 for deposition transcripts and fees. Of this amount, NAMIS seeks $39,611.28 in deposition transcript production costs, $611.75 in exhibit reproduction costs, $10,283.64 in court reporter attendance fees, $900.56 in shipping costs, $665.00 for conference room and telephone costs, $663.00 for administrative, swearing in, certification and signature procurement fees, and $3,997.73 for videotaping and CD production. The Court will address each cost in turn.

Defendant first requests a total of $39,611.28 in deposition transcript production fees. A prevailing party is limited to [ Page 3]

recovery of up to $3.00 per page for original transcripts and $0.75 per page for copies of deposition transcripts. See VI JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES, GUIDE TO JUDICIARY POLICIES AND PROCEDURES, COURT REPORTERS MANUAL Ch. 20, pt. 20.3 (1998); but cf. McDonald v. Vill. of Winnetka, No. 00 C 3199, 2003 WL 1989656, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2003) (recognizing recent increase in transcript rates). Plaintiff does not object to Defendant's recovery of costs for original and copied transcripts, and after reviewing these requested costs, the Court finds that they all fall within the proscribed limits. Defendant, however, only provides documentation for $39,277.45 of such costs, and the Court accordingly awards NAMIS that amount for deposition transcript fees.

Defendant also requests $611.75 for costs incurred from reproducing certain deposition exhibits. Courts should not award "costs associated with deposition exhibit copies unless the costs are essential to understanding an issue in the case." Fait v. Hummel, No. 01 C 2771, 2002 WL 31433424, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 30, 2002). While such costs may be reasonable given the large number of depositions, Defendants have not shown that the exhibit copies were essential. As a result, the Court denies Defendant's request for this fee.

Defendant is entitled to reasonable court reporter attendance fees. Held v. Held, 137 F.3d 998, 1002 (7th Cir. 1998). Courts have generally found hourly rates of $30.00 to $60.00 per hour to [ Page 4]

be reasonable. See McCollough v. O'Neill, No. 01 C 6510, 2003 WL 737847, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2003). In total, NAMIS seeks $10,283.64 in reporter fees. While Defendant provides sufficient information to determine hourly rates for the majority of requested fees, it fails to provide enough information to calculate hourly rates in several instances. In some of these cases, the Court still finds the amount requested reasonable given the length of the transcript produced. No hourly rate is provided for the attendance fee charged for the Jeffrey Cohen and Arthur Songey transcripts of November 28, 2000. However, the total amount requested is $40.00 for each transcript, which the Court finds reasonable. Similarly, the Court finds the $75.00 fees requested for the George Rebh transcript of February 6, 2001 and the Austin Noll transcript of August 20, 2001 reasonable given the length of the transcripts. No rate is given for either the Richard Rebh or Steve Marquis transcripts of September 6, 2001, but the Court also finds a charge of $37.50 for each to be reasonable.

In several instances, Defendant provides sufficient information to determine the hourly rate, but that rate is unreasonable. The Court reduces the fees in these cases to amounts that reflect use of a reasonable hourly rate. Defendant's request for $72.25 for a 1.17 hour long appearance for the Llana Dostie deposition is excessive, and the Court reduces ...

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