United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 22, 2004.
JAMES D. SOLON, Plaintiff,
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
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.
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. Deposition Transcripts
Solon objects to costs associated with the deposition
transcripts copy rate, exhibit copy costs, delivery costs, and
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 deny
that they ordered transcripts for the depositions in questions.
Hence, the videotaping costs are denied.
II. MinU-Scripts and Disks
Solon further contends that costs for MinU-Scripts, ASCII disks
and Rough ASCII disks are not taxable. Solon is correct, as costs
incurred for computer-based, condensed deposition transcripts are
generally not recoverable if they are merely for the attorney's
convenience. Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., Ltd.,
126 F.3d 926, 946 n. 11 (7th Cir. 1997). Defendants do not argue in their
reply that they are entitled to recover the costs for the
MinU-Scripts and the disks. Therefore, we deny recovery for these
III. Administrative Fees
Solon also contests the administrative fees. Administrative
fees are non-recoverable ordinary business expenses. Angevine v.
WaterSaver Faucet Co., 2003 WL 23019165, *5 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
Defendants do not argue in their reply that they are entitled to
recover for these expenses. Therefore, we deny the cost for
Solon objects to the copying costs for outside photocopying and
for in-house photocopying.
A. Outside Photocopying
Solon contends that Defendants' request for outside
photocopying cannot be recovered as costs. 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 correctly point out that they are not required
to provide such a detailed report for copying costs as to make it
impracticable to seek recovery for the copies. Northbrook Excess
and Surplus Ins. Co. v. Proctor & Gamble Co, 924 F.2d 633, 643
(7th Cir. 1991). Defendants have provided sufficient
documentation to justify the copying costs for outside copying
B. In-house Photocopying
Solon additionally contests Defendants' in-house copying
charges. As stated above, six sets of copies is appropriate under
the circumstances. We do not find that the in-house rate of $0.15
per page charged by Defendants is excessive. See Fait v.
Hummel, 2002 WL 31433424, at *5 (N.D. Ill. 2002).
V. Expedited Transcript of Magistrate Judge Hearing
Solon requests the court deny transcripts at the expedited rate
and contends that the cost should be calculated at the regular
rate. The Judicial Conference has authorized a rate of $3.30 per page for original transcripts, and
$4.40 per page for expedited transcripts. Williams v.
Thresholds, Inc., 2003 WL 22478784, *2 (N.D. Ill. 2003).
Defendants have only provided an explanation for the expedited
rates in regards to the order for a transcript of the March 19,
2002 hearing (Tab M). We accept Defendants' reasoning in regards
to that transcript, but no other hearing transcripts may be
calculated at the expedited rate.
VI. Travel Expenses
Finally, Solon contests Defendants' recovery of travel expenses
for attorney Joel Rice. Attorney travel expenses are not among
the listed recoverable items in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and are cannot
be recovered as costs. See Calderon v. Witvoet, 112 F.3d 275,
276 (7th Cir. 1997) (stating that "costs, outlays for travel
and related expenses by attorneys and paralegals . . . are not
listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and therefore may not be reimbursed as
costs."). We do not find that such travel expenses are
appropriate as costs.
Based on the foregoing analysis, we limit the costs for copies
of the deposition transcripts of Larry Kaplan, Fred Begy III,
Tobert von Ohlen, and Linda Stephney to $0.83 per page. We grant
costs for the deposition exhibit transcripts. We deny costs for
the delivery of the deposition transcripts. We deny recovery for
the deposition videotaping. We deny recovery for the MinU-Scripts, ASCII disks
and Rough ASCII disks. We deny recovery for the administrative
fees. We grant the costs for the outside and in-house
photocopying. We will allow an expedited rate only for the
transcript of the March 19, 2002 hearing before the magistrate
judge and all other hearing transcripts must be taxed at the
regular rate. We deny the request to recover travel expenses.
Defendants are ordered to prepare a new bill of costs in
accordance with this opinion. Solon must submit any objections to
the new bill of costs one week thereafter, and if there are
objections, Defendants must reply one week after the objections
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