Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

ZENITH ELECTRONICS CORPORATION v. WH-TV BROADCASTING CORP.

July 16, 2004.

ZENITH ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant,
v.
WH-TV BROADCASTING CORPORATION, Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GEORGE LINDBERG, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court are Zenith Electronics Corporation's ("Zenith") and WH-TV Broadcasting Corporation's ("WH-TV") motions to review costs taxed in favor of General Instrument Corporation ("GI") and Motorola, Inc. ("Motorola"). For the reasons stated below, WH-TV's motion to vacate the costs taxed against it is granted in part and denied in part, and Zenith's motion is granted.

I. Background

  In 1999 and 2000, Zenith sold digital television equipment to WH-TV. On July 17, 2000, Zenith sold to GI the Zenith division that was responsible for manufacturing the equipment. Under the agreement governing the sale, GI agreed to indemnify Zenith from all losses relating to certain assumed liabilities.

  On June 11, 2001, Zenith brought this breach of contract action against WH-TV, alleging that WH-TV failed to pay Zenith for the equipment. WH-TV counterclaimed, alleging that the equipment was defective and did not conform to the promises Zenith had made. WH-TV later added GI and Motorola (GI's parent company) as third-party defendants. Zenith filed a crossclaim for indemnification against GI, in the event that Zenith was held liable to WH-TV. On March 12, 2004, this court entered judgment against WH-TV and in favor of GI and Motorola on WH-TV's Second Amended Third-Party Complaint. The same day, the court entered judgment against Zenith and in favor of GI on Zenith's cross-claim for indemnification.*fn1 GI and Motorola filed a bill of costs, requesting that the Clerk of Court tax costs in the amount of $357,618.82 jointly and severally against WH-TV and Zenith. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1), the clerk taxed these costs. WH-TV and Zenith each filed a timely motion asking the court to review this action by the clerk.

  II. Legal Standard

  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 a statute, federal rule of civil procedure, or the court otherwise directs. Recoverable costs are listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920:
(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 under section 1828 of this title.
Courts may not award costs not authorized by statute. Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 644 (7th Cir. 1993); Northbrook Excess & Surplus Ins. Co. v. Proctor & Gamble Co., 924 F.2d 633, 642 (7th Cir. 1991). III. Zenith's Objections to GI's and Motorola's Bill of Costs

  The court first considers Zenith's argument that GI's and Motorola's claim for costs against Zenith should be denied in its entirety because GI and Motorola failed to segregate the costs attributable to GI's defense of Zenith's indemnification claims. GI and Motorola collectively seek to impose costs jointly and severally against WH-TV and Zenith, without specifying which of those costs GI incurred defending against Zenith's claims. Zenith asserted claims only against GI in this litigation, and asserted no claims against Motorola. Therefore, only GI was a prevailing party with respect to Zenith's claims against it, and Motorola cannot recover costs from Zenith, as it is attempting to do here. Since GI and Motorola have failed to indicate which costs GI incurred defending against Zenith's claims, the court will deny their claim for costs against Zenith in its entirety.

  Moreover, joint and several liability would be inappropriate here, even if it were clear which costs were incurred by GI and which by Motorola. GI and Motorola fail to differentiate between which costs were incurred defending against Zenith's claims, and which costs were incurred defending against WH-TV's claims. GI and Motorola argue that this is appropriate because their costs related to matters applicable to both Zenith's and WH-TV's claims. GI and Motorola explain that since Zenith sought indemnification from GI for WH-TV's claims against Zenith in this action, and since WH-TV asserted claims against Zenith for the same failings for which it sought compensation from GI and Motorola, Zenith's claims against GI were essentially the same as WH-TV's claims against GI and Motorola. Accordingly, argue GI and Motorola, any documents relevant to their defense against WH-TV's claims were also relevant to GI's defense against Zenith's claims. Generally, liability for costs is joint and several when there are multiple parties on the non-prevailing side. See White v. Sundstrand Corp., 256 F.3d 580, 586-87 (7th Cir. 2001). However, joint and several liability for costs is not appropriate where the claims by the non-prevailing parties against the prevailing party were different in kind. See In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 221 F.3d 449, 471 (3d Cir. 2000).

  Here, Zenith's indemnification claims raised the issue of which of Zenith's obligations GI assumed under the agreement governing the asset sale. By contrast, WH-TV's complaint against GI and Motorola included promissory and equitable estoppel claims relating to promises Motorola made to WH-TV and work that Motorola performed after the asset sale. Accordingly, the defense against Zenith's claims would not have required the same discovery needed to defend against WH-TV's claims. In addition, although the court cannot determine which costs GI and Motorola would have incurred defending against WH-TV's claims, the court's experience with this case leads the court to conclude that those costs would have been greater than the costs GI incurred defending against Zenith's indemnification claims.

  The costs of defending against Zenith's claims should have been segregated from the costs of defending against WH-TV's claims.*fn2 Cf. Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494, 497 (8th Cir. 2002) (joint and several liability appropriate where non-prevailing parties were represented by same counsel, had common theories of liability, and sought the same discovery); Petit v. City of Chicago, No. 90 C 4984, 2003 WL 22339277, at *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 10, 2003) (joint and several liability appropriate where non-prevailing parties were represented by same counsel, and almost all of costs incurred related to general matters applicable to each plaintiff's claim). Since GI and Motorola did not differentiate between the costs incurred defending against Zenith's claims, and those incurred defending against WH-TV's claims, joint and several liability for costs would be inappropriate.

  IV. WH-TV's Objections to GI's and Motorola's Bill of Costs

  A. Transcripts and Deposition Exhibits (Bill of Costs at 1-9)

  GI and Motorola claim hearing transcript costs of $1,297.12. WH-TV argues that GI and Motorola improperly seek to recover the higher cost of transcripts ordered on an expedited basis, and that they should be allowed to recover only the cost of transcripts at the regular, non-expedited rate. GI and Motorola respond that WH-TV ordered many of the transcripts on an expedited basis, and that GI and Motorola merely ordered the transcripts on the same terms. GI and Motorola argue that they would have been prejudiced if WH-TV and Zenith had had the benefit of expedited transcripts and GI and Motorola had ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.