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Phillips v. Allen et al.

May 6, 2011

PHILLIPS
v.
ALLEN ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Before the Court is Defendants' amended bill of costs [117]. For the reasons stated below, the Court awards Defendants $7,319.56 in costs.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Following entry of judgment in their favor, Defendants submitted a bill of costs [101] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). Plaintiff did not file an objection to the original bill of costs. Nevertheless, the Court scrutinized the amounts sought by Defendants and ordered Defendants to provide additional back-up documentation that would permit the Court to fully consider the amounts requested [116]. The order requesting additional documentation also allowed Plaintiff until 2/24/2011 to submit any objections to the amended bill of costs.

Defendants filed their amended bill of costs on 2/10/2011 [117], and Plaintiff filed no objection. Upon careful consideration of Defendants' amended bill of costs, the Court awards Defendants the full amount requested: $7,319.56.

I. Legal Standards

Rule 54(d)(1) provides that "costs -- other than attorney's fees -- should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1). The rule "provides a presumption that the losing party will pay costs but grants the court discretion to direct otherwise." Rivera v. City of Chicago, 469 F.3d 631, 634 (7th Cir. 2006). However, the Seventh Circuit recognizes "only two situations in which the denial of costs might be warranted: the first involves misconduct of the party seeking costs, and the second involves a pragmatic exercise of discretion to deny or reduce a costs order if the losing party is indigent." Mother & Father v. Cassidy, 338 F.3d 704, 708 (7th Cir. 2003); see also Rivera, 469 F.3d at 634-35. Taxing costs against the non-prevailing party requires two inquiries: (1) whether the cost is recoverable; and (2) whether the amount assessed is reasonable. See Majeske v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000). The list of recoverable costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 includes (1) fees of the clerk and marshal, (2) fees for transcripts, (3) witness fees and expenses, (4) fees for copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case, (5) docket fees, and (6) compensation for court- appointed experts and interpreters. See Republic Tobacco Co. v. N. Atl. Trading Co., Inc., 481 F.3d 442, 447 (7th Cir. 2007).

II. Analysis

A. Court Reporting and Transcription Fees -- 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2)

First, Defendants seek $6,208.65 in court reporting fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2). The Court awards deposition charges if the deposition appears reasonably necessary in light of the facts known at the time of the deposition. See Little v. Mitsubishi Motors N. Am., Inc., 514 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 2008) (per curiam); Mother & Father, 338 F.3d at 708. Under Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 54.1(b), the costs of a transcript shall not exceed the regular copy rate established by the Judicial Conference of the United States. See N.D. Ill. L.R. 54.1(b).

The applicable rates pursuant to the Judicial Conference for depositions and trials conducted after February 28, 2003, but before November 1, 2007, are $3.30 per page for ordinary transcripts, $4.40 per page for expedited transcripts, and $5.50 for daily transcripts. See Gyrion v. City of Chicago, 454 F. Supp. 2d 725, 726 (N.D. Ill. 2006). For depositions and trials conducted after November 1, 2007, the applicable Judicial Conference rates are $3.65 per page for ordinary transcripts, $4.25 per page for fourteen day transcripts, $4.85 per page for seven day transcripts, $6.05 per page for daily transcripts, and $7.25 per page for hourly transcripts. See www.ilnd.uscourts.gov/CLERKS_OFFICE/CrtReporter/trnscrpt.htm. Reasonable attendance fees also are recoverable under Section 1920(2). See, e.g., Held v. Held, 137 F.3d 998, 1002 (7th Cir. 1998) ("As for the deposition attendance fees charged by the court reporter, we have previously held that even though these fees are not specifically mentioned in the statute, the district court may award them in its discretion pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2)"); Finchum v. Ford Motor Co., 57 F.3d 526, 534 (7th Cir. 1995) (same).

The Court has scrutinized the supporting materials (including invoices) attached to Defendants' amended bill of costs and finds that the amounts requested are supported. For each transcript, Defendants now provide the date, the type of transcript (for example, original versus copy transcripts and normal versus accelerated delivery), the cost per page, and the number of pages. ...


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