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Plyler v. Whirlpool Corporation

August 14, 2012

PLYLER
v.
WHIRLPOOL CORPORATION



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Defendant has submitted a supplement to its bill of costs [172] following the court's order on June 5, 2012 [171] that defendant did not provide sufficient support for its original bill of costs. For the reasons described further below, defendant's submission remains an inadequate basis for the court to determine whether the costs it incurred were reasonable and necessary. Defendant will be given one final opportunity to provide the court with more information and/or to withdraw the requests for which it lacks sufficient support by August 28, 2012. If defendant does so, plaintiff is given until September 11, 2012 to file supplemental objections. Any claimed costs lacking sufficient support will be denied.

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

STATEMENT

This court previously issued an extensive minute order describing the deficiencies in Whirlpool's original and amended bill of costs with particularity and allowing Whirlpool to supplement its bill of costs with additional information. (Order, Jun. 5, 2012.) [Dkt 171.] Whirlpool did so, and Plyler submitted objections that Whirlpool has still failed to provide sufficient support that its costs were reasonable and necessary. (Def.'s Suppl.) [dkt 172]; (Pl.'s Suppl. Object.) [dkt 175]. For the reasons set forth below, the court agrees.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that a prevailing party should recover costs other than attorneys' fees. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920, recoverable costs are: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case; (3) fees for printing and witnesses; (4) fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1923; and (6) compensation of court appointed experts and interpreters.

Taxing costs against the non-prevailing party requires two inquiries -- whether the cost is recoverable and whether the amount assessed is reasonable. Majeske v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000). "There is a presumption that the prevailing party will recover costs, and the losing party bears the burden of an affirmative showing that taxed costs are not appropriate." Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Trust Co., 411 F.3d 854, 864 (7th Cir. 2005). However, this presumption does not relieve the prevailing party from establishing that potentially recoverable costs it incurred were reasonable and necessary. Telular Corp. v. Mentor Graphics Corp., No. 01 C 431, 2006 WL 1722375 at *1 (N.D. Ill. June 16, 2006).

In its motion, Whirlpool presents three major categories that make up the bulk of its claimed $11,620.84 in costs: court reporting costs, exemplification of records and copies of papers, and airfare/hotel costs for trial counsel.

1. Attorney travel costs

As an initial matter, Whirlpool's claimed costs for counsel's airfare and hotel is a moot issue, as those costs are not recoverable under the statute. Calderon v. Witvoet, 112 F.3d 275, 276 (7th Cir.1997); Native American Arts, Inc. v. Indio Products, Inc., No. 06 C 4690, 2012 WL 729291 at *2 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 6, 2012). Only the enumerated costs under § 1920 may be taxed, and attorney travel costs are not among them. Id. Travel costs are potentially reimbursable as part of an award of attorneys' fees, but that question is not at issue here. Calderon, 112 F.3d at 276.

2. Court reporting costs

As to Whirlpool's claimed court reporting costs, this court's June 5 minute order stated:

Whirlpool claims $3,060.44 in court reporting costs, but submitted no invoices, receipts or other supporting documentation to indicate what copy rate it paid and how many copies were ordered of each deposition and trial transcript. Pursuant to Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 54.1(b), the copy rate "shall not exceed the regular copy rate as established by the Judicial Conference of the United States and in effect at the time the transcript or deposition was filed." The rule further provides that except as otherwise ordered by the court, only costs for the original copy of each transcript and deposition, one each as needed by counsel, and one copy of a deposition for the court are allowed. N.D. Ill. Loc. R. 54.1(b). From Whirlpool's ...


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