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BCS Insurance Co., Inc. v. Guy Carpenter & Co.

May 12, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge


This matter is before the Court on Defendant Guy Carpenter & Company, Inc.'s ("Guy Carpenter") bill of costs. For the reasons stated below, we grant in part and deny in part Guy Carpenter's bill of costs.


On December 8, 2005, this court granted Guy Carpenter's motion for summary judgment, and denied Plaintiff BCS Insurance Company, Inc.'s ("BCS") motion for summary judgment. As the prevailing party, Guy Carpenter filed a bill of costs with the court, seeking $79,106.17 in costs. At the court's order on March 28, 2006, Guy Carpenter has submitted a revised bill of costs, seeking $73,525.49 in costs.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that the prevailing party shall be allowed to recover costs other than attorneys' 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).


I. Photocopying Costs

Guy Carpenter is seeking $38,145.04 in photocopying costs. BCS argues that Guy Carpenter's photocopying costs should be reduced because Guy Carpenter failed to provide proper documentation for in-house and outside reproduction services, and instead only listed a summary of these costs. BCS also argues that Guy Carpenter photocopied many documents that were not relevant to the case. The Seventh Circuit has stated that "the amount of itemization and detail required is a question for the market [and that] [i]f counsel submit bills with the level of detail that paying clients find satisfactory, a federal court should not require more." In re Synthroid Mktg. Litig., 264 F.3d 712, 722 (7th Cir. 2001).

A. Outside Photocopying Costs

Guy Carpenter is seeking $27,186.60 in outside photocopying costs. BCS argues that Guy Carpenter is "attempting to recover fees paid to its outside vendors for costs that are clearly not recoverable . . . ." (Resp. 4). For example, BCS objects to Guy Carpenter's requests for services such as VHS duplication, copying floppy disks, and optical character recognition. Guy Carpenter states that "[t]he receipts demonstrate the massive number and type of documents produced by BCS [and that] Guy Carpenter paid to copy BCS'[s] documents." (Mot. 9). However, the Seventh Circuit has stated that a party may not recover costs that are for its own use or for attorney convenience. Haroco, Inc. v. American Nat. Bank and Trust Co. of Chicago, 38 F.3d 1429, 1441 (7th Cir. 1994); McIlveen v. Stone Container Corp., 910 F.2d 1581, 1584 (7th Cir. 1990). Guy Carpenter has not given the court any explanation for how these disputed costs were necessary to this litigation. In addition, despite the court's request that Guy Carpenter file "a new bill of costs, with itemization and proper documentation for all of the costs that it is seeking," (3/28/06 Op.), Guy Carpenter has not itemized its bill of costs in a way that would allow the court to determine which of its outside copying costs are properly recoverable and which are not. Guy Carpenter was given a second chance to file a properly itemized bill of costs and it failed to do so. Accordingly, we deny Guy Carpenter's request for outside photocopying costs.

B. In-House Photocopying Costs

Guy Carpenter is seeking $10,958.44 for in-house photocopying costs. BCS argues that Guy Carpenter has failed to provide appropriate documentation for these costs. However, this case involved an almost ten-year relationship between BCS and Guy Carpenter, as well as several other business entities. Therefore, tens of thousands of documents were produced throughout the litigation, and a number of people were deposed. A client would neither desire nor expect the detailed documentation that BCS is requesting before the client would agree to pay for such reproduction costs. In addition, Guy Carpenter has decided not to seek any of the in-house copying costs of one of its two attorneys, in recognition of the fact that "some extra photocopying, not properly taxable as costs, might have occurred because Guy Carpenter chose to retain two law firms to defend this case." (Mot. 9). Accordingly, we find, especially in light of Guy Carpenter's decision to not seek photocopying costs for one of its ...

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