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Jackie L. Hardwick v. John and Mary E. Kirby Hospital

April 12, 2012

JACKIE L. HARDWICK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN AND MARY E. KIRBY HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY U.S. District Judge

E-FILED

Thursday, 12 April, 2012 11:33:20 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This case is before the court for ruling on the Motion to Assess Costs (#62) and Bill of Costs (#63) filed by Defendant, John and Mary E. Kirby Hospital. Plaintiff, Jackie L. Hardwick, has filed an Objection to Defendant's Motion to Assess Costs (#64). Following careful consideration of the parties' arguments and the documents provided to the court, the Motion to Assess Costs (#62) and Bill of Costs (#63) are GRANTED in part and DENIED in part. Costs are assessed in the total amount of $763.25.

BACKGROUND

On February 22, 2012, this court entered an Opinion (#60) and granted Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (#55). This court set out, in detail, the history of the litigation in this case and the facts presented for purposes of summary judgment. This court concluded that Plaintiff failed to show that she was disabled under the ADA. Therefore, Defendant had no obligation to accommodate her and she could not prevail on her discrimination claim. This court also concluded that Plaintiff's admissions precluded her from proceeding on her claim of discrimination under the ADA. In addition, this court concluded that the evidence showed that Plaintiff never complained about harassment or discrimination on the basis of disability and Defendant was entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation claim. Judgment was entered in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff on February 22, 2012 (#61).

On March 7, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion to Assess Costs (#62). On March 9, 2012, Defendant filed a Bill of Costs (#63). Defendant requested a total of $5,385.25 in costs, consisting of $763.25 for the cost of copying documents, $197.38 for long distance telephone calls, $104.00 for postage and delivery costs, and $4,320.62 for computerized legal research charges. Defendant attached the affidavit of Ryan T. Brown, one of Defendant's attorneys, in support of its Motion to Assess Costs.

On March 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed her Objection to Defendant's Motion to Assess Costs (#64). Plaintiff argued that Defendant can only recover costs listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Plaintiff therefore argued that the amounts requested for telephone calls, postage, and computerized legal research are not recoverable. Plaintiff also argued that defendant did not adequately detail the costs requested for copies.

ANALYSIS

Rule 54(d)(1) provides that "[u]nless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs--other than attorney's fees--should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1). The Seventh Circuit has stated that there is, therefore, a presumption that the prevailing party will recover costs. See Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Tr. Co., 411 F.3d 854, 864 (7th Cir. 2005). "District courts have broad discretion in determining whether and to what extent prevailing parties may be awarded costs." Weeks v. Samsung Heavy Indus. Co., Ltd., 126 F.3d 926, 945 (7th Cir. 1997). The presumption in favor of awarding costs is difficult to overcome, and the court must award costs unless the losing party establishes a sufficient reason to deny costs. Weeks, 126 F.3d at 945; Fitts v. Vill. of Grant Park, 2011 WL 811456, at *1 (C.D. Ill. 2011). Generally, a court may deny costs for two reasons: 1) because the losing party is unable to pay; and 2) because the prevailing party engaged in misconduct. Fitts, 2011 WL 811456, at *1, see also Weeks, 126 F.3d at 945. This court notes that Plaintiff has not argued that costs should not be awarded because she is unable to pay or because Defendant engaged in misconduct. Therefore, Defendant is entitled to an award of costs.

However, in taxing costs, this court must consider whether the costs requested are recoverable and whether the costs requested are both reasonable and necessary. See Cengr v. Fusibond Piping Sys., Inc., 135 F.3d 445, 454 (7th Cir. 1998). Allowable costs in most cases are limited to the categories listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. See Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987); Republic Tobacco Co. v. N. Atl. Trading Co., 481 F.3d 442, 447 (7th Cir. 2007). "Costs should generally be accepted so long as they fall into one of the categories of costs statutorily authorized for reimbursement." Horizon Hobby, Inc. v. Ripmax Ltd., 2009 WL 3381163, at *3 (C.D. Ill. 2009), aff'd 397 Fed. Appx. 627 (Fed. Cir. 2010).

Section 1920 provides that the following may be taxed as costs:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;

(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily ...


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