United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 21, 2004.
AYNIE GIZAW, Plaintiff,
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC AID, CHUCK KIRIAN, in his individual capacity, ROBERT CARBINE, in his individual capacity, SHARON MARKETTE-MALONE, in her individual capacity, and SHARON JONES, in her individual capacity, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to
approve their bill of costs and on Plaintiff Aynie Gizaw's
("Gizaw") objections to Defendants' bill of costs. For the
reasons stated below we approve Defendants' bill of costs in its
On May 20, 2004, we granted Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. Defendants subsequently filed a motion to approve their bill of
costs seeking $1,541.60 for photocopying costs and $4,219.56 for
transcript costs. Gizaw objects to portions of the bill of costs.
According to Gizaw, Defendant did not specify whether certain
transcripts were originals or copies, which Gizaw contends is
necessary for the court to determine if the transcript costs were
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 54 provides: "Except when
express provision therefor is made either in a statute of the
United States or in these rules, costs other than attorneys' fees
shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the
court otherwise directs. . . ." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1).
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 a court can tax as costs: "(1) Fees
of the clerk and marshal; (2) Fees of the court reporter for all
or any part of the stenographic transcript necessarily obtained
for use in the case; (3) Fees and disbursements for printing and
witnesses; (4) Fees for exemplification and copies of papers
necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) Docket fees under
section 1923 of this title; (6) Compensation of court appointed
experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees,
expenses, and costs of special interpretation services. . . ."
28 U.S.C. § 1920. Pursuant to Local Rule 54.1 transcript costs
should not exceed the rates set forth by the Judicial Conference
of the United States. In awarding costs to a prevailing party a
court should determine: "(1) whether the cost imposed on the losing
party is recoverable and (2) if so, whether the amount assessed
for that item was reasonable." Majeske v. City of Chicago,
218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000). In making such determinations
the court should keep in "mind that there is a heavy presumption
in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing party." Id.
I. Photocopying Costs
Gizaw does not contest Defendants' recovery of photocopying
costs. To recover photocopying costs, a transcript need not be
"absolutely indispensable." Majeske, 218 F.3d at 825(quoting
Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 645 (7th Cir. 1993)). A party may
be awarded copying costs only for "necessary copies of necessary
documents" such as "[c]opying documents for production in
discovery. . . ." Ochana v. Flores, 206 F. Supp.2d 941, 946
(N.D.Ill. 2002). In regards to documents filed with the court, a
party can recover expenses for the copies provided to the court
and for one copy provided to opposing counsel. Id. Copies made
by a party merely for the party's "convenience of counsel" are
not recoverable. Id.
However, the burden is on the party seeking recovery to prove
the photocopied items were necessary. Ochana v. Flores,
206 F. Supp.2d 941, 946 (N.D. Ill. 2002). Defendants met this burden by
providing a detailed explanation of the necessity of its photocopying expenses related to Defendants'
discovery document production, summary judgment motion, and
motions to strike. Defendants also appropriately taxed three
copies of these pleadings: two for the court and one copy for
opposing counsel. We find all of these documents reasonably
necessary, and therefore grant Defendants' request for $1,541.60
in photocopying costs.
II. Transcript Costs
Gizaw contests Defendants' recovery of costs for certain
deposition transcripts. Gizaw contends that the requested costs
for the deposition transcripts of Robert Carbine, Sharon
Markette-Malone, Eric Landers, and Dollye Smith were ambiguous
because they were not identified as the original transcript or
the first copy. Citing Shah v. Village of Hoffman Estates,
Gizaw claims that since Defendants failed to clarify the
reasonableness of the requested charges, those charges should be
denied. 2003 WL 21961362, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2003). However, in
Shah, the court denied the costs of deposition transcripts
because the party seeking costs failed to identify the number of
pages per each requested transcript. Id. Such an error made it
impossible for the court to determine whether the rates were
reasonable and within the accepted rate established by the
Judicial Conference. Id. However, in the instant case,
Defendants have provided a detailed description of the number of
pages, per page cost, and reason for the necessity of the
In the instant case, Gizaw contends that the ambiguity in
Defendants' bill of costs is caused by Defendants' failure to provide an explanation
of whether the transcripts were originals or copies. The Judicial
Conference has established rates for deposition transcripts at
$3.30 per page for an original transcript, $0.83 per page for the
first copy, and $0.55 per page for each additional copy provided
to the same party. Shaffer v. Combined Ins. Co. of Am., 2004 WL
542516, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2004). Even if Gizaw's contention had
merit, we would not deny the cost in full but rather reduce it to
the accepted rate of $0.83 per page for the first copy of the
transcript. However, Defendants have clarified the ambiguity from
the transcript invoices in their reply to Gizaw's objections to
Defendants' bill of costs. In Defendants' reply Defendants
explain that, although it might not have been clear on the
invoice, the requests were all for original transcripts.
Defendants' explanation sufficiently shows that the transcripts
in controversy are original transcripts, and thus were
appropriately taxed within the acceptable rate of $3.20 each.
Gizaw also argues that the transcript documents for the
deposition of Sherill Delerme was identified in Defendants'
documentation as a copy and thus should be reduced to the rate
the Judicial Conference established for a first copy, $0.83.
However, Defendants explain in its reply that the deposition
transcript for Sherill Delerme was also an original transcript.
Consistent with the reasoning provided above, Defendants have
adequately proven that the above-referenced transcript was an
original. Hence, the $2.80 rate requested for this deposition
transcript is acceptable. Therefore, we grant Defendants' request
for $4,219.56 for deposition transcripts. CONCLUSION
Based on the foregoing analysis we approve Defendants' bill of
costs in its entirety and deny Gizaw's objections to the bill of
costs Defendant's bill of costs is granted in whole in the amount
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