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Hanley v. Cottrell

June 23, 2006

RODNEY HANLEY AND LINDA HANLEY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
COTTRELL, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Defendant's Bill of Costs (Doc. 46), to which Plaintiffs have filed their Notice of Objection (Doc. 47). Defendant was previously awarded summary judgment in its favor (see Doc. 44) on Plaintiffs' claims. Defendant now seeks reimbursement for its reasonable costs associated with defending this suit. Plaintiffs' object to certain costs as being not authorized by statute or court rule or else unreasonable. The Court will address these objections in order to determine the proper amount of costs to award Defendant.

II. ANALYSIS

A. DEFENDANT'S BILL OF COSTS

Defendant moves, pursuant to Rule 54(d), for an award of costs as set forth in the Bill of Costs(Doc. 46). Along with its Bill of Costs, Defendant has attached the relevant invoices in order to verify each cost claimed. The costs for which Defendant seeks reimbursement by Plaintiffs are as follows:

(1) Fees of the Clerk$150.00 (2) Fees for service of summons and subpoena$200.00 (3) Fees of court reporter for all/part of transcript obtained for use in case$1,838.29 (4) Fees for exemplification and copies of papers for use in case$1,310.24 TOTAL:$3,498.53

Generally, Plaintiffs object to Defendant's Bill of Costs in that certain costs claimed are not properly taxable under statute or court rule (Doc. 47). Secondly, Plaintiffs object that certain of Defendant's costs are unreasonable and/or that Defendant has failed to specifically identify the purpose of the cost (Id.). Defendant has not responded to Plaintiffs' objections.

B. LEGAL STANDARD

Taxable costs are allowed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920.*fn1 In this case, the Court will also follow the guidance provided by its own Local Civil Rule 54.2 regarding taxation of costs ("Civ. L. R. 54.2").*fn2 However, it is within the district court's discretion to determine which costs Defendant seeks fall within the ambit specifically recognized by law and whether these claimed expenses are also reasonable, given the circumstances. See State of Ill. v. Sangamo Construction Co., 657 F.2d 855, 863-64 (7th Cir. 1981). A separate analysis will be conducted of each category of Defendant's claimed costs to determine whether they are properly taxable and if so, in what amount.

1. Clerk Fees

Defendant has indicated an amount of $150.00 for "fees of the clerk" on its Bill of Costs (Doc. 162). Given the complexity of this case and Plaintiffs' silence on this matter, the Court deems this cost to be allowable pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and reasonable in its amount. The entire amount of $150.00 is therefore taxable against Plaintiffs.

2. Fees for Service of Summons and Subpoenas

Defendant seeks $200.00 in costs for service of summons and subpoena fees. Plaintiffs, while conceding such amount is reasonable as a litigation expense, object nonetheless as they are "unable to locate any statute or court rule that allows ...


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