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Thomas Brown v. County of Cook et al.

September 8, 2011

THOMAS BROWN
v.
COUNTY OF COOK ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Sharon J. Coleman than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

The Court grants Defendants' Motion for Costs as Prevailing Party [319] in part and denies it in part. The Court awards Defendants costs in the amount of $5,955.53 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1). This amount includes $2,275.28 for the cost of transcripts and $3,680.25 for photocopying costs. The Court denies Defendants' Amended Motion for Attorneys' Fees as Prevailing Party [346].

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

On March 29, 2011, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of Defendants Cook County, Michael F. Sheahan, and Thomas Dart (collectively "Defendants"). Shortly thereafter, Defendants filed a Motion for Costs as Prevailing Party and an Amended Motion for Attorneys' Fees as Prevailing Party. For the reasons that follow, the Court awards Defendants costs in the amount of $5,955.53 and denies Defendants' motion for attorney's fees.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Thomas Brown ("Plaintiff") filed this action in February 2006 alleging that he was denied a promotion and discriminated against due to his political affiliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In August 2007, Plaintiff amended his complaint to assert additional claims including violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO") and added several new defendants. In this amended complaint, Plaintiff purported to represent a class of similarly situated Sheriff's employees and sought injunctive relief. In April 2008, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's RICO claims and held that Plaintiff could not maintain a class action because he lacked standing to seek injunctive relief. Plaintiff filed his Second Amended complaint in May 2008 alleging Defendants failed to promote him in retaliation for his political affiliation.

DISCUSSION

1. Bill of Costs

A. Legal Standard

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), the prevailing party is entitled to recover its costs, other than attorneys' fees, as a matter of course. Republic Tobacco Co. v. N. Atl. Operating Co., 481 F.3d 442, 446 (7th Cir. 2007). Courts have interpreted "prevailing party" to mean "the party in whose favor judgment has been entered." Id. (citing Moore's Federal Practice § 54.101[3] (3d ed. 2006)). The Seventh Circuit has held that costs "must be awarded to a prevailing party unless one of the recognized situations warranting a denial of costs is present." Mother & Father v. Cassidy, 338 F.3d 704, 709-10 (7th Cir. 2003) (noting that denial is warranted only in situations involving misconduct of the party seeking costs or where the losing party is indigent). A court may only award those costs that fall into one of the categories of costs that are statutorily authorized for reimbursement. Republic Tobacco, 481 F.3d at 447.

Under 28 U.S.C. § 1920, a court may tax the following expenses as costs: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case; (3) fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses; (4) fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees under section 1923; and (6) compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under Section 1928. See Id.; 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The party seeking an award of costs carries the burden of showing that the requested costs were necessarily incurred and reasonable. Trs. Of the Chi. Plastering Pension Trust v. Cork Plastering, Co., 570 F.3d 890, 904-5 (7th Cir. 2008). Costs incurred merely for the convenience of the prevailing party may not be recovered. Barber v. Ruth, 7 F.3d 636, 645 (7th Cir. 1993). The costs associated with deposition transcripts and copies are recoverable only ...


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