Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gray v. Burke

November 9, 2007

SHERINE GRAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEFFREY BURKE, JESSICA GRAY AND CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Sherine Gray ("Gray'") filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against defendants City of Chicago (the "City") and police officers Jeffrey Burke and Jessica Gray (collectively referred to as "Defendants"), alleging various state and federal claims, including false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, excessive force and battery. [Dkt 1.] The District Judge granted Defendants' motion for partial summary judgment on all but the excessive force and battery claims. [Dkt 49.] Thereafter, the parties consented to the jurisdiction of the magistrate judge, and the matter was reassigned to the calendar of this court. [Dkt 54, 55.] A jury trial was held on the excessive force and battery claims, to which the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendants and against Gray. [Dkt 81.]

As the prevailing parties, Defendants filed a Petition for Costs pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d) and Local Rule 54.1. [Dkt 89.]*fn1 Defendants seek $3,619.77 in costs.*fn2 Gray objects to defendants' petition on numerous grounds. For the reasons set forth below, Gray's objections are granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants are entitled to a total of $3,392.30.

DISCUSSION

Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) provides that "costs other than attorneys' fees shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs." The costs that may be recovered pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1) are set out in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The costs allowed by § 1920 are: (1) the fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for court reporters and transcripts; (3) fees for printing and witnesses; (4) fees for copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees; and (6) compensation of court appointed experts and interpreters. A court may impose costs upon the losing party only if the expenses claimed are allowable cost items under § 1920 and are reasonable, both in amount and necessity to the litigation. Deimer v. Cincinnati Sub-Zero Prods., Inc., 58 F.3d 341, 345 (7th Cir. 1995); see also Movitz v. First Natl. Bank of Chicago, 982 F. Supp. 571, 574 (N.D. Ill. 1997). Courts are vested with broad discretion to determine whether and to what extent to award costs to a prevailing party. Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 644 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing SK Hand Tool Corp. v. Dresser Ind., Inc., 852 F.2d 936, 943 (7th Cir. 1988)). A court must review a proposed petition for costs "in scrupulous detail." Young v. City of Chicago, 2002 WL 31118328 at *1 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 24, 2002) (Leinenweber, J.); see also First City Securities v. Shaltiel, 1993 WL 408370 at *1 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 8, 1993) (Conlon, J.).

In their petition, Defendants seek expenses for deposition transcripts and court reporter fees, photocopying, witness subpoenas, and miscellaneous expenses. (See Defs.' Itemization.) Gray asserts several general objections to the Bill of Costs, arguing that it should be denied in its entirety, and asserts objections to several specific costs requested, as well.

I. Gray's General Objections

Gray's first general objection is based on her assertion that the Bill of Costs was filed only on behalf of defendants Burke and Gray, and not on behalf of the City, which bore the costs of the defense. (Pl.'s Objs. ¶ 1.) Gray argues that costs cannot be allowed to parties who did not bear the expense of paying them and that, as a result, the Bill of Costs should be denied in its entirety, or at least denied with respect to the portion attributable to the City's defense. (Id. ¶¶ 1, 2.) Gray cites no legal authority in support of her argument. Moreover, Gray is incorrect in asserting that the Bill of Costs was filed only on behalf of the individual police officers. While the title of the Memorandum in Support of the Bill of Costs names only individual defendants Burke and Gray, the City is identified in the Bill of Costs as a party filing the Bill of Costs. The City was also a defendant on the malicious prosecution and battery claims, and prevailed on those claims. Thus, Gray's objection on that basis is overruled.

Gray also argues that the Bill of Costs should be denied in its entirety because having to pay the costs requested would impose "a significant hardship on the single mother of several children."

(Pl.'s Objs. ¶ 5.) A court may, in its discretion, deny costs to a prevailing party based on the non-prevailing party's indigence. Rivera v. City of Chicago, 469 F.3d 631, 634 (7th Cir. 2006). However, before doing so, the court must make a factual finding that the losing party is unable to pay the court-imposed costs at that time or in the future. Id. at 635. The burden is on the non-prevailing party to provide sufficient documentation to support such a finding. Id. In this case, Gray has produced no evidence, either by affidavit or otherwise, to establish that she is indigent or otherwise unable to pay. See Pl.'s Objs. ¶ 5. Counsel's argument in a brief, unsupported by evidence, is not sufficient to sustain a burden of providing evidence. USA v. Stevens, 500 F.3d 625, 628-29 (7th Cir. 2007). Gray's general objection based on her claim of indigence is likewise overruled.

Gray also makes several other general arguments: that the City has financial resources which vastly exceed Gray's; that Gray's claim was colorable and conducted in a professional and honorable manner; and that the Bill of Costs should be denied in its entirety "due to the significance of police brutality issues within the City of Chicago Police Department." (Pl.'s Objs. ¶¶ 5- 6.) However, she does not cite any authority to support her claim that those arguments provide a basis for the court to deny costs under § 1920. Those arguments are also overruled.

Accordingly, the court will address Gray's objections to certain specific cost items claimed.

II. Gray's Objections to ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.