United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
March 16, 2004.
BONNIE SHAFFER, Plaintiff,
COMBINED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Bonnie Shaffer, filed suit against Defendant, Combined
Insurance Company of America ("Combined"). Summary judgment was granted
to Defendant, and the case was dismissed. Now before the Court is
Defendant's Motion for Costs and Bill of Costs. For the following
reasons, that motion is granted in part and denied in part.
A more detailed explanation of the facts is set out in this Court's
November 18, 2003 Memorandum Opinion and Order granting summary judgment
to Defendant. Shaffer v. Combined Ins. Co., No. 02 C 1774, 2003
WL 22715818 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 18, 2003).
"Costs . . . shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party
unless the court otherwise directs." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d). Recoverable
costs, as set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1920, include: (1) fees of the
clerk, (2) fees for 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
There is a strong presumption favoring the award of costs to the
prevailing party. Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co.,
126 F.3d 926, 945 (7th Cir. 1997) ("Weeks"). "The presumption is
difficult to overcome, and the district court's discretion is narrowly
confined the court must award costs unless it states good reasons
for denying them." Weeks, 126 F.3d at 945.
Defendant seeks costs for: (1) fees for service of summons, (2) fees of
the court reporter for all or any part of the transcripts necessarily
obtained for use in the case, (3) fees for copies of papers necessarily
obtained in the case, (4) witness fees, and (5) docket fees under
28 U.S.C. § 1923. Plaintiff does not object to any of the costs sought
Here, Defendant seeks $405.00 for service of summons on nine people, at
$45 per person served. "Prevailing parties may recover service costs that
do not exceed the Marshal Service's fees regardless of who effected
service. The Marshal's Service charges $40.00 for the first hour and
$20.00 for every hour thereafter." Hall v. City of Chicago, No.
98 C 4682, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11220, at *7 (N.D. Ill. July 2, 2003)
(citations omitted). In this case, Defendant failed to specify how long
it took to effectuate service on each person. Therefore, Defendants may
recover $40 per person served, for a total of $360.00.
Defendant next seeks $5,334.74 for transcripts necessarily obtained for
use in the case. The costs of deposition transcripts "necessarily
obtained for use in the case" are authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2).
The "transcripts need not be absolutely indispensable in order to provide
the basis of an award of costs; it is enough that they are `reasonably
necessary.'" Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 645 (7th Cir. 1993).
The Judicial Conference has established $3.30 as the rate per page for an
original transcript, $0.83 per page for the first copy of a transcript,
and $0.55 per page for each additional copy to the same party.
Amerisure Ins. Co. v. Roll Serv., Inc., No. 01 C 5292, 2003 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 11221, at * 3 (N.D. Ill. July 2, 2003).
Included in this amount for transcript fees are hourly fees for court
reporters. Moreover, court reporter attendance fees ranging from $16.00
per hour to $68.75 are reasonable. . . ." Hall v. City of
Chicago, No. 98 C 4682, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11220, at *4 (N.D.
Ill. July 2, 2003).
Here, Defendant seeks $3.30 per page for most of the original
transcripts, and $3.05 for some original transcripts. Defendant further
seeks $0.83 for each copy of the transcript. Lastly, Defendant requests
$30.00, $35.00, and $50.00 per hour for hourly fees for court reporters.
All these amounts are reasonable, and, therefore, Defendant may recover
the full $5,334.74.
Defendant also requests $353.00 in fees for copies of papers
necessarily obtained in the case. A party may recover costs of copies
provided to the Court and opposing counsel; it cannot recover costs for
its own use. Sharp v. United Airlines, 197 F.R.D. 361, 362 (N.D.
Ill. 2000). Copy rates of $0.10 to $0.20 have been found to be
reasonable. McDonald v. Village of Winnetka, No. 00 C 3199, 2003
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7204, at * 6 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 30, 2003).
In this case, Defendant seeks $0.10 per copy. Out of the total $353.00
Defendant seeks for copies, $225.30 are for copies filed with the Court,
$31.10 are for copies of discovery
documents, and $96.00 are for copies of miscellaneous documents
obtained from third-parties. Defendant has also presented letters
indicating these miscellaneous documents were given to Plaintiff.
Accordingly, Defendant may recover the whole $353.00 requested.
Defendant further seeks $584.83 in witness fees for nine people.
Payment to a witness may not exceed a $40.00 appearance fee, plus
reasonable travel and subsistence charges. Herman v. Central States,
S.E., & S.W. Areas Pension Fund, No. 03 C 1010, 2003 WL
22955996, at * 4 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 15, 2003). Here, Defendant failed to
present any evidence of the travel and subsistence charges accrued by
each witness. Therefore, Defendant may only receive $40.00 for each
witness, for a total of S360.00.
Lastly, Defendant seeks $128.00 for what appears to be docket fees
under 28 U.S.C. § 1923.*fn1 However, Defendant failed to provide any
support as to why the docket fees were charged, what filings with which
they are associated, and whether it actually seeks these docket fees.
Accordingly, Defendant may not recover the requested $128.00.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendant's Bill of Costs is granted in part
and denied in part. Defendant is awarded $6,407.33 in costs.