United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
May 20, 2005.
JOHN J. CONNOLLY, Plaintiff,
ARTHUR ANDERSEN LLP, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES KOCORAS, District Judge
This matter comes before the court on Defendant Arthur Andersen
LLP's ("Andersen") bill of costs. For the reasons set forth
below, Andersen is awarded $450.15.
Plaintiff John Connolly ("Connolly") is a former partner of
Andersen and a signatory and party to the Arthur Andersen LLP
Partnership Agreement. He retired from Andersen on April 30,
2002. After Connolly's retirement, a dispute arose between
Connolly and Andersen regarding Connolly's alleged entitlement to
certain money from Andersen. Specifically, Connolly claimed that
Andersen owed him over two million dollars in early retirement
benefits payments and basic retirement benefits payments. Connolly also demanded payment of over eight hundred
thousand dollars in "Paid-in capital" and "Accenture Settlement
Capital." The two parties arbitrated their dispute, and the
arbitrator entered an award (the "Award") granting in part, and
denying in part, Connolly's claims. Thereafter, Connolly filed
for confirmation of the Award and an entry of judgment, in which
he sought a finding that Andersen had not complied with the
Award. Andersen filed a cross-motion for confirmation of the
On February 24, 2005, we denied Connolly's motion and granted
Andersen's cross-motion and motion for costs. On March 16, 2005,
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, Andersen filed its bill of costs, seeking the
recovery of a total of $526.15. The bill of costs is comprised of
two categories of expenses. The first category includes six
delivery bills totaling $37.50. The second category totals
$488.65 in document reproduction fees. Connolly objects claiming
that Andersen is not entitled to reimbursement for any of the
costs that it has enumerated and requests that we disallow the
bill of costs in its entirety. We address each of the parties'
arguments in turn.
A prevailing party should be awarded costs other than
attorneys' fees "unless the court directs otherwise."
Fed.R.Civ. Proc. 54(d)(1). The court has broad discretion in determining whether and to what extent to award costs, but
there is a strong presumption that the prevailing party will be
awarded costs. Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.,
126 F.3d 926, 945 (7th Cir. 1997). The district court should award
costs that are a type recoverable under statutory authority, are
"necessary to the litigation," and are for a reasonable amount.
Id.; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
Application of these principles to the amounts Andersen's
claims reveals two overcharges. First, the award of delivery fees
is not specifically enumerated under 28 U.S.C. § 1920, and thus
the award of such costs is within this court's discretion. While
Andersen only seeks to recover the relatively modest amount of
$37.50 in delivery fees, costs for postage and mail services have
traditionally been disallowed on the grounds that these expenses
are generally considered overhead, or part of the cost of
operating a law firm. See Downes v. Volkswagen of America,
41 F.3d 1132, 1144 (7th Cir. 1994). We therefore disallow the $37.50
Andersen incurred as the result of hand delivering various
documents during the litigation, and reduce Andersen's bill of
Next, regarding the $488.65 Andersen seeks to recover for
document reproduction fees, we reduce that amount by $38.50. Of
the $488.65 figure, $450.15 represents multiple document
reproduction costs and $38.50 represents costs associated with
the electronic downloading and duplication of Connolly's
complaint. Connolly objects to the award of $450.15 expended on copies on
the grounds that Andersen has not supplied sufficient
documentation to indicate what documents specifically were
copied. Connolly's position would place an unfeasible economic
burden upon Andersen. The Seventh Circuit has explained that a
party is "not required to submit a bill of costs containing a
description so detailed as to make it impossible economically to
recover photocopying costs." Northbrook Excess & Surplus Ins.
Co. v. Proctor & Gamble Co., 924 F.2d 633, 643 (7th Cir. 1991).
A party need only "provide the best breakdown obtainable from
retained records." Id. Here, Andersen has done just that; it
has provided an itemized description of Andersen's copying costs
relating to the present matter, including the date, the number of
copies, and the net charges. While the itemization does not
provide a detailed narrative of what specifically was copied, it
does indicate a correlation between the dates the copies were
made and when documents were filed with this court. Thus, we are
satisfied with the documentation Andersen has provided and deem
the reproduction costs of $450.15 both necessary and reasonable.
Connolly objects to the award of the $38.50 Andersen's counsel
expended on November 18, 2004, to download and copy Connolly's
complaint. He argues that the downloaded copy was not necessary
but more of a convenience that allowed Andersen's counsel the
ability to obtain a copy of the summons and complaint the day after its client was personally served with the same documents.
We agree that the $38.50 does not represent a necessary cost and
reduce Andersen's bill of costs accordingly.
Based on the foregoing analysis, we conclude that the amount of
costs that can be deemed reasonable and necessary in this case
totals $450.15, and we accordingly award Andersen that figure.
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