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SOLON v. KAPLAN

July 22, 2004.

JAMES D. SOLON, Plaintiff,
v.
LARRY S. KAPLAN, FRED C. BEGY, III, ROBERT C. von OHLEN, individuals, and KAPLAN, BEGY & von OHLEN, a partnership, Defendants. FRED C. BEGY III, Cross-Claimant, v. LARRY S. KAPLAN, ROBERT C. von OHLEN, JR., individuals, and KAPLAN, BEGY & von OHLEN, a partnership, Cross-Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Plaintiff James D. Solon's ("Solon") request that the court deny or reduce certain costs requested in Defendants' bill of costs, pursuant to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. For the reasons stated below, we deny the bill of costs in part and grant it in part and order Defendants to prepare a revised bill of costs.

LEGAL STANDARD

  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.

  DISCUSSION

  I. Deposition Transcripts

  Solon objects to costs associated with the deposition transcripts copy rate, exhibit copy costs, delivery costs, and videotaping costs.

  A. Copying Costs

  Solon objects to the charges Defendants requested for deposition transcript copies. The Judicial Conference has established rates for such transcripts at $3.30 per page for an original transcript and $0.83 per page for the first copy. Shaffer v. Combined Ins. Co. of Am., 2004 WL 542516, *1 (N.D. Ill. 2004). Defendants have indicated that the cost for a copy of Larry Kaplan's deposition transcript was $2.05 per page, that the cost for a copy of Fred Begy III's deposition transcript was $2.35 per page, and that the cost for copies of Tobert von Ohlen's deposition transcript and Linda Stephney's deposition transcript was $2.35 per page. Defendant has not responded in its reply brief to these cost objections by Solon. We find that the proper rate per page for the copies of the above mentioned deposition transcripts should be $0.83 per page. B. Deposition Exhibit Copies

  Kaplan has proven the necessity of the deposition exhibit copies. Costs for exhibits are recoverable if they are an essential aid to understanding an issue in the case. Cefalu v. Village of Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 428 (7th Cir. 2000). We find that the deposition exhibits were essential in determining whether to grant Defendants' summary judgment motion. Therefore, the $27.80 for the exhibits is recoverable.

  C. Deposition Delivery Charges

  Solon further refutes the deposition delivery charges. In accordance with the Judicial Conference guidelines, costs of the delivery of transcripts cannot be recovered as ordinary business expenses. Egebergh v. Village of Mt. Prospect, 2004 WL 868643, *2 (N.D. Ill. 2004). Defendants do not argue in their reply that they are entitled to costs for delivery expenses. Thus, the delivery charges totaling $53.00 are denied as costs.

  D. Deposition Videotaping

  Solon contests Defendants' recovery for the videotaping of Solon's and Larry Kaplan's depositions. Deposition videotaping can be taxable. Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 645 (7th Cir. 1993). However, such costs can only charged where they are a substitute for transcript costs. Id. Defendants do not argue in their reply that they are entitled to recover costs for the videotaping and do not ...


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