United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
October 5, 2005.
DONNA VALENTINE, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation JOHN TOMINELLO, MIKE DITUSA, and JOSEPH SENESE, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendant City of Chicago's
("City") bill of costs. For the reasons stated below, we grant in
part and deny in part the bill of costs.
On January 11, 2005, we granted Defendants' motions for summary
judgment and on May 13, 2005, we denied Plaintiff Donna
Valentine's ("Valentine") motion for reconsideration of the
January 11, 2005 ruling. The City, as one of the Defendants, has
filed a bill of costs as a prevailing party in this action. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that the
prevailing party shall be allowed to recover costs other than
attorney's fees unless a statute or other rule states otherwise
or the court specifically disallows such costs. Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(d); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1920(setting forth costs that are
generally recoverable). The Seventh Circuit has made it clear
that in reviewing a bill of costs, the district court should keep
in mind that "[t]here is a presumption that the prevailing party
will recover costs, and the losing party bears the burden of an
affirmative showing that taxed costs are not appropriate."
Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Trust Co., 411 F.3d 854, 864
(7th Cir. 2005); see also Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co.,
Ltd., 126 F.3d 926, 945 (7th Cir. 1997) (stating that "[t]he
presumption in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing party is
difficult to overcome, and the district court's discretion is
narrowly confined"). In addition to making sure that requested
costs are recoverable, a district court must also ensure that the
costs are reasonable. See, e.g., Majeske v. City of Chicago,
218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000).
The City requests compensation in its bill of costs for
$7,446.33 in costs and expenses. Valentine has filed several
objections to the City's bill of costs. I. Deposition Transcripts for Dr. Meyers and Dr. Fitzgerald
Valentine argues that the City improperly seeks to recover
expenses for transcripts for the depositions of Dr. Sheldon
Meyers ("Meyers") and Dr. Louise Fitzgerald ("Fitzgerald"). A
deposition cost may be recovered for a deposition that was
"`reasonably necessary' to the case at the time it was taken" and
the inquiry should not focus on "whether it was used in a motion
or in court." Cengr v. Fusibond Piping Systems, Inc.,
135 F.3d 445, 455 (7th Cir. 1998) (stating that focus should not be on
whether the deposition was ultimately utilized in action).
Valentine contends that the City did not need the transcripts
because the City filed a motion seeking to exclude Meyers and
Fitzgerald, and the "two witnesses added nothing to Defendants'
motion for summary judgment." (Ans. BC 2). However, simply
because the City sought to exclude Meyers and Fitzgerald does not
mean that their deposition transcripts would not have been of
significant value to the defense. Valentine's own perception that
the testimony of the witnesses did not advance Defendants'
position is not sufficient to warrant a finding that the
deposition costs were not necessarily incurred. The facts before
us indicate that the deposition costs were reasonably necessary.
Therefore, the deposition costs for Meyers' and Fitzgerald's
deposition transcripts will not be stricken from the bill of
II. Other Deposition Transcripts
Valentine also contends that the City should not be able to
recover costs for the deposition transcripts of Dylan Farmer, Phil Gabor, Gina
Lupi, Lisa Ellerman, Michaeleen Valentine, and Edmond Marcotte.
However, again, Valentine's request is based upon her own
perception that the transcripts were not needed for Defendants'
defense and, again, Valentine's contentions are not supported by
the facts in the case. Valentine is also crafting her objections
to such depositions in hindsight after the court's rulings and
the disposition in this action to create the perception that the
transcripts would not have been reasonably necessary during these
proceedings. The facts before us indicate that the transcripts
were reasonably necessary and, therefore, should not be stricken
from the bill of costs.
III. Deposition Cancellation Fees
Valentine argues that the City cannot recover for cancellation
fees for the depositions of Elizabeth Farrell ("Farrell") and
Anthony Marano ("Marano"). Valentine argues that the only reason
that the court reporter service would have charged cancellation
fees to the City was if the City cancelled the deposition and
therefore, Valentine should not have to pay for the City's lack
of diligence in pursuing the depositions. We agree. Therefore,
the $148.50 for the cancellation of Farrell's deposition and the
$125.00 for the cancellation of Marano's deposition are stricken
from the City's bill of costs. IV. Copying Expenses
Valentine objects to the City's request of $132.12 in
photocopying costs for copies made by Merrill Communications LLC,
and to the City's request of $30.50 for copies of photos.
Valentine argues that the City has not provided sufficient
documentation for the alleged costs. However, the Seventh Circuit
has stated that a bill of costs applicant 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 and Surplus Ins. Co. v. Procter & Gamble Co.,
924 F.2d 633, 643 (7th Cir. 1991). Given this standard, the
City has provided sufficient documentation for the photocopying
costs. Also, common sense tells one that in this instance, an
overly-detailed record for such expenses should not be required.
It would be ridiculous to require extensive and overly-detailed
documentation for $132.12 and the $30.50 in photocopying because
even a minimal amount of time expended by an attorney preparing
such detailed documentation would exceed the amount that would be
recovered. Therefore, we shall not strike the $132.12 in
photocopying costs or the $30.50 in costs for copying photos
objected to by Valentine.
V. Whether Costs are Recoverable and Reasonable
We have reviewed the entire bill of costs and, other than the
two cancellation fees mentioned above, all the costs in the bill
of costs are recoverable under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54. The City has provided sufficient
documentation to support the costs and such costs are reasonable.
Based on the foregoing analysis, we grant in part and deny in
part the City's bill of costs and award $7,172.83 in costs to the
© 1992-2005 VersusLaw Inc.