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Life Plans, Inc. v. Security Life of Denver Ins. Co.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 25, 2014

LIFE PLANS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
SECURITY LIFE OF DENVER INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant

Page 894

For Life Plans, Inc., Plaintiff: Patrick A. Fleming, LEAD ATTORNEY, Alison Talbert Schwartz, Andrew Dylan Campbell, Christopher Graham Dean, Richard George Douglass, Novack and Macey, LLP, Chicago, IL.

For Security Life of Denver Insurance Company, Defendant: James Vincent Garvey, LEAD ATTORNEY, Nicole Joy Highland, Timothy Matthew Schank, Vedder Price P.C., Chicago, IL.

Geraldine Soat Brown, United States Magistrate Judge. District Judge Ronald A. Guzmán.

Page 895

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Geraldine Soat Brown, United States Magistrate Judge

Before the court are plaintiff's objections [dkt 91] to defendant's bill of costs [dkt 83], which seeks a total of $117.130.66, most of which consists of expenses associated with production of electronically stored information. For the following reasons, plaintiff's objections are sustained in part and overruled in part. Defendant may recover $34,876.50.

Page 896

Background

Plaintiff Life Plans, Inc. (" Life Plans" ) sued defendant Security Life of Denver Insurance Company (" Security" ) for breach of contract and of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing. (Not. Rem., Ex. A. ¶ ¶ 34-43.) [Dkt 1.] The District Judge granted Security's motion for summary judgment and denied Life Plans's cross-motion for summary judgment. (Order, Aug. 12, 2013.) [Dkt 81.] Judgment was entered that same day. [Dkt 82.] Life Plans moved for reconsideration under Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e), but its request was denied. (Order, Jan. 29, 2014.) [Dkt 95.][1]

As the prevailing party, Security filed a bill of costs pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1), requesting $117,130.66. (Def.'s Bill of Costs at 1.) The Bill of Costs is broken into four sections. Schedule A lists $350 for filing fees. ( Id. at 3.) Schedule B asks for $125 for process server fees for sending two subpoenas. ( Id. ) Schedule C itemizes charges for 34 deposition transcripts and 2 video recordings of depositions, for a total cost of $18,431.23. ( Id. at 4-9.) Schedule D includes the bulk of the costs, seeking $98,224.43 in " [f]ees for exemplification and copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in this case." ( Id. at 10-17.) The Schedule D costs are broken into three parts: $322.80 in copying costs for 3,228 pages of court filings; $86,299.10 for 862,991 copies created as part of document production; and $11,602.53 for optical character recognition (" OCR" ) of 580,393 documents. ( Id. )[2]

Life Plans has objected to the costs for videotaping depositions in Schedule C and to all of Schedule D (Pl.'s Objections), and Security has responded to the objections (Def.'s Reply) [dkt 92]. The District Judge referred the objections to this court. [Dkt 96.] As discussed further below, this court then directed Security to supplement its Bill of Costs by submitting invoices in support of the costs requested in Schedule D. (Order, Mar. 5, 2014.) [Dkt 106.] Along with submitting those invoices, Security also filed a more detailed breakdown of its costs for document production. (Def.'s Add'l Bill of Costs Subm. at 3.) [Dkt 108.]

Legal Standard

Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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." The costs that may be taxed under that rule are limited to those enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920: (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 the copies were 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. Thus, " § 1920 defines the term 'costs' as used in Rule 54(d)." Crawford Fitting Co. v. J. T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441, 107 S.Ct. 2494, 96 L.Ed.2d 385 (1987). Recently the Supreme Court emphasized the

Page 897

" narrow scope of taxable costs." Taniguchi v. Kan.Pacific Saipan, Ltd., __ U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 1997, 2006, 182 L.Ed.2d 903 (2012). " Taxable costs are limited to relatively minor, incidental expenses . . . . [T]axable costs are limited by statute and are modest in scope . . . ." Id. Whether a particular cost is within the scope of § 1920 is an issue of statutory construction and thus a question of law. In re Ricoh Co. Patent Litig., 661 F.3d 1361, 1364 (Fed. Cir. 2011).

" Taxing costs against a losing party requires two inquiries: (1) whether the cost imposed on the losing party is recoverable and (2) if so, whether the amount assessed for that item was 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). That presumption does not, however, relieve the prevailing party of the burden of 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). The district ...


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