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Ruffin v. Winnebago County Jail

September 27, 2010

JOHNNY M. RUFFIN, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
WINNEBAGO COUNTY JAIL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

I. Introduction

Before the Court is Plaintiff's Bill of Costs (Doc. 281), to which defendant Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") objects (Doc. 293). Plaintiff's suit proceeded to a jury trial, where he prevailed only on one of his claims, Count 16 of his Complaint, which alleged violations of his federal rights under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"). However, the jury only found that defendant IDOC was liable for the violations in Count 16 of Plaintiff's Complaint; the individual Defendants were found not liable.*fn1

Plaintiff timely filed his Bill of Costs (Doc. 281), seeking reimbursement pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. First, IDOC particularly objects to the witness fees sought by Plaintiff, arguing that the witness's testimony was in regards to a claim upon which Plaintiff did not prevail, and is therefore not reimbursable. Second, IDOC believes that if taxation of witness fees are allowed for this witness, the amount requested is inappropriate. Lastly, it appears that Plaintiff is also seeking taxation of costs for attorney's fees, which, IDOC argues, are not properly taxable under Rule 54(d) and should be denied.

II. Discussion

A. Plaintiff's Bill of Costs

Plaintiff's Bill of Costs lists the following items:

(1) Fees for witnesses$1,342.74 (2) Other costs (Plaintiff's attorney's fees)$34,417.01 TOTAL:$35,759.75

Plaintiff has itemized the witness fees, listing the witness as Larry Upchurch, from Rockford, Illinois. The fee itemization shows the following:

WITNESS FEESTOTAL Attendance - 1 day$110.86 Subsistence - 3 days$213.48 Mileage - 1,851 miles$1,018.40*fn2 Grand Total:$1,342.74

B. Legal Standard

Taxable costs are allowed pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1),*fn3 which states that: Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs--other than attorney's fees--should be allowed to the prevailing party. But costs against the United States, its officers, and its agencies may be imposed only to the extent allowed by law. The clerk may tax costs on 14 days' notice. On motion served within the next 7 days, the court may review the clerk's action.

The types of costs to be taxed are listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920, which provides:

A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as ...


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