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Chavez v. Guerrero

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

December 16, 2014

MARILU CHAVEZ, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD GUERRERO, CITY OF CHICAGO, and JOHN DOES 1-10, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RUBÉN CASTILLO, Chief District Judge.

On October 1. 2007, the Court granted a motion for judgment on the pleadings in favor of Defendant City of Chicago, and against Plaintiff Marilu Chavez on her claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). (R. 82. Min. Entry; R. 83, Order.) Presently before the Court is Defendant's bill of costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). (R. 84, Def.'s Bill of Costs.) For the reasons stated below, the Court awards Defendant $5, 546.30 in costs.

BACKGROUND

The Court assumes familiarity with the facts of this case as outlined in its December 15, 2006 Memorandum Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's motion to dismiss. See Chavez v. Guerrero, 465 F.Supp.2d 864, 866-68 (N.D. Ill. 2006). The facts are repeated here only as they pertain to this bill of costs. Around 8:30 a.m. on April 19, 2005, Plaintiff was involved in a traffic accident near the intersection of Walton and Leavitt Streets in Chicago, Illinois. (R. 21, Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) A police officer arrived at the scene and directed Plaintiff to proceed to the police station at 937 N. Wood Street to fill out a report. ( Id. ) At the police station, Plaintiff came into contact with Chicago police officer Richard Guerrero. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff alleged that after her initial contact with Officer Guerrero, he accessed the police report regarding her accident and retrieved her phone number from the report. ( Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff alleged that Officer Guerrero began harassing her both in person and over the telephone on numerous occasions while he was on duty. ( Id. ¶¶ 12-15.)

Plaintiff reported the harassment to unnamed police officers at the police station who initially were uncooperative, but eventually referred her to Sergeant Marsala (first name unknown). ( Id. ¶¶17-18.) Sergeant Marsala told Plaintiff he would report her complaint to his commander. ( Id. ¶ 18.) After lodging her complaint, Plaintiff alleged that two unknown police officers came to her place of employment and took her to the police station, where she was detained for eight hours and prohibited from leaving. ( Id. ¶¶ 22-24.) Plaintiff alleged that after this incident, she was continuously harassed by Chicago police officers. ( Id. ¶ 30.) Plaintiff alleged that police cars followed her on several occasions and that garbage was thrown on her car several times, including around the time she was due to testify in a state criminal proceeding against Officer Guerrero. ( Id. 30-35.) Officer Guerrero was ultimately found guilty of misdemeanor telephone harassment in state court and was sentenced to a year of court supervision. ( Id. ¶¶ 37.) As a result of these events, Plaintiff claimed to have suffered mental and emotional damage, including fear, humiliation, anxiety, and lost enjoyment of life. ( Id. ¶ 39.)

On April 19, 2006, Plaintiff brought this action against Defendant, Officer Guerrero, and unnamed defendants from the Chicago Police Department John Does 1-10. (R. 1, Compl.) Plaintiff's second amended complaint contained six counts: (1) in Count I, Plaintiff alleged that Officer Guerrero violated her constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection in violation of Section 1983; (2) in Count II, Plaintiff alleged that unknown police officers John Does 1-5 violated her constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection; (3) in Count III, Plaintiff alleged that unknown police officers John Does 6-10 violated her Fourth Amendment rights; (4) in Count IV, Plaintiff brought a state law claim against Officer Guerrero for intentional infliction of emotional distress; (5) in Count V, Plaintiff brought a state law claim against Defendant for negligent supervision; (6) and in Count VI, Plaintiff brought a state law indemnification claim against Defendant. (R. 21, Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 40-85.) On November 21, 2006, Plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss Count V. (R. 42, Min. Entry.) On December 15, 2006, this Court granted Officer Guerrero's motion to dismiss Count I but denied the motion as to Count IV. (R. 45, Mem. Op. and Order.)

On June 19, 2007, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a third amended complaint, (R. 54, Pl.'s Mot. Leave Third Am. Compl.), and this Court denied the motion on July 5, 2007, (R. 42, Min. Entry). On August 30. 2007. Defendant filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Counts II and III pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). (R. 78, Def.'s Mot. J. on Pleadings.) On October 1, 2007, this Court granted Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Counts II and III, and dismissed state law Counts IV and VI without prejudice, with leave to re-file in state court. (R. 83, Order at 2.)

On October 31. 2007, Defendant filed a bill of costs pursuant to Rule 54(d), originally seeking $6, 413.50 in total costs (after correct calculations), (R. 84, Def.'s Bill of Costs), and an accompanying memorandum, (R. 85, Def.'s Mem.). Specifically, Defendant requested $157.80 for exemplification and copies of papers; $129.00 for witness fees; $1, 111.00 for service of summons and subpoena fees; $662.50 for court reporter attendance fees; and $4353.20 for deposition transcript costs.[1] (R. 84, Def.'s Bill of Costs at 1.) Plaintiff responded to Defendant's bill of costs on December 7, 2007, (R. 92, Pl.'s Resp.), and Defendant replied on December 12, 2007, (R. 94, Def.'s Reply). Defendant conceded costs for exemplification and copies of papers (now totaling $150.60 after correct calculations), key word indexes in deposition transcripts ($4.50, now bringing the total request for deposition transcripts to $4348.70), witness fees (now totaling $120.00), and service of summons and subpoena fees (now totaling $278.00). ( Id. at 2-5.) The following costs remain in dispute: (1) subpoena costs ($278.00); (2) transcripts costs, including condensed transcripts ($4, 348.70); and (3) court reporter attendance fees ($662.50). ( Id. at 1-5.) Defendant's bill of costs is presently before the Court.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Rule 54(d), "costs - other than attorney's fees - should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). A district court may not tax costs under Rule 54(d), however, "unless a federal statute authorizes an award of those costs." Republic Tobacco Co. v. N. Atl. Trading Co., Inc., 481 F.3d 442, 447 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-43 (1987)). The list of recoverable costs authorized under 28 U.S.C. § 1920 include:

(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 ...

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