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Fagbemi v. Spatz

September 1, 2010

ADEBOLA FAGBEMI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN SPATZ AND THE CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Virginia M. Kendall United States District Court Judge Northern District of Illinois

Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Adebola Fagbemi ("Fagbemi") brought this action against Defendants City of Chicago ("the City") and John Spatz, Jr. ("Spatz") (collectively "Defendants") alleging that Defendants had engaged in politically-motivated employment discrimination and retaliation in violation of his First and Fourteenth civil rights. On March 19, 2010, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all claims. Defendants subsequently filed a Bill of Costs for $6,269.69, comprising $5,448.75 for transcripts, $359.44 for printing and disbursement, $376.50 for photocopies, $45 for service of summons and subpoena, and $40 for witness fees.*fn1 For the following reasons, Fagbemi's request for a stay of the proceedings is denied, and Defendants are awarded costs totaling $5,848.94.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) entitles the prevailing party in a civil case to recover the costs of litigation, other than attorney's fees. The rule creates a "presumption in favor of a cost award" for statutorily authorized costs. Cefalu v. Village of Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 427 (7th Cir. 2000). When assessing a bill of costs, a district court must ascertain whether a statute authorizes recovery of the costs and whether the amount sought is reasonable. See id. Recoverable costs include, but are not limited to, "[f]ees for the court reporter for all or any part of the stenographic transcript necessarily obtained for use in the case" and "fees for exemplification and copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case." See 28 U.S.C. § 1920.

DISCUSSION

I. Costs to Which Plaintiff Does Not Object

A. The Subpoena and Deposition of Dr. Susan Greider

Defendants seek costs of $45.00 for service of a subpoena on Dr. Susan Greider ("Greider") directing her to appear for her deposition in this matter. The prevailing party may recover fees for service of subpoenas at the hourly rates charged by the United States Marshals Service for such service. See Collins v. Gorman, 96 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 1996). By regulation effective November 12, 2008, the Marshals Service charges $55 per hour for service. See 28 C.F.R. § 0.114(a)(3). The Court finds the Defendants' lower rate reasonable and allows the cost of $45.00.

Defendants also seek $40 as a witness fee for Greider's deposition. Fees for non-party witnesses and travel expenses are recoverable as costs. See 28 U.S.C. § 1920(3). However, "recovery of fees paid to expert witnesses is limited to the statutory costs specified in 28 U.S.C. § 1821." Illinois v. Sangamo Constr. Co., 657 F.2d 855, 865 (7th Cir. 1981). That rate is "$40.00 per day for each day's attendance." 28 U.S.C. § 1821(b). The Court finds that witness fees for Greider's deposition are recoverable and reasonable up to the statutory amount. The $40.00 cost is therefore allowed.

B. Medical Records

Obtaining Fagbemi's medical records cost Defendants $37.60, as reflected by their invoice from the medical provider. This charge, to which Fagbemi does not object, is both reasonable and recoverable. See, e.g., Correa v. Ill. Dept. of Corrs.,No. 05 C 3791, 2008 WL 299078 at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 29, 2008) (Darrah, J.).

C. Attendance Fees

Defendants also seek to charge, under the heading of transcript costs, $612.50 for court reporter attendance fees for Fagbemi's deposition, a $150 court reporter attendance fee for Frank Skiadopoulos's deposition, and a $100 court reporter attendance fee for Greider's deposition. The Court has discretion to award court reporters' attendance fees that are necessary for purposes of discovery depositions. See, e.g., Finchum v. Ford Motor Co., 57 F.3d 526, 534 (7th Cir. 1995). Fagbemi does not challenge the Defendants' attendance fees except insofar as he objects to all costs associated with his second deposition. The Court authorized the extension of time for Fagbemi's deposition, however (see R. 53), and Fagbemi has presented no legal authority in support of his objection to Defendants' recovery of costs for it. Defendants have supported the attendance fees with documentation reflecting reasonable hourly rates of $50 per hour. See, e.g., Benuzzi v. Bd. of Ed. of City of Chi., No. 09 C 3510, ...


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