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Bagwe v. Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

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

January 27, 2015

RATNA BAGWE, Plaintiff,
v.
SEDGWICK CLAIMS MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., TAMMY LECLAIRE, and ANGELA PAPAIOANNOU, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

YOUNG B. KIM, Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is the Bill of Costs submitted by Defendants Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc., Tammy LeClaire, and Angela Papaioannou (collectively, "Defendants") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920, for $82, 309.38. For the following reasons, Defendants' Bill of Costs is granted in the amount of $22, 025.21:

Background

On September 5, 2014, the court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (R. 172.) The court then entered final judgment on September 8, 2014, in favor of Defendants and against Plaintiff Ratna Bagwe. (R. 174.) The following month, on October 8, 2014, Defendants filed their Bill of Costs seeking $137, 654.02 from Bagwe. (R. 181.) The largest component of Defendants' Bill of Costs is $113, 058.69 related to e-discovery. Bagwe opposes Defendants' request and objects to the amount on the following grounds: (1) Defendants should not be awarded any amount in costs because she is unable to pay and because awarding costs in a Title VII action is contrary to public policy; (2) Defendants' transcript related costs exceed the maximum rate allowed by Local Rule 54.1 or are otherwise not taxable;

(3) Defendants are not entitled to compensation for certain witness fees; (4) Defendants are not entitled to the bulk of their e-discovery fees; and (5) Defendants cannot recover copying costs associated with a second set of copies. (R. 191, Pl.'s Obj. at 2-16.) In the event costs are awarded, Bagwe suggests that the court allow only $11, 440.41 in costs. ( Id., Exs. 1-6.) There is no dispute that Defendants are entitled to seek costs in this case.

In response to Bagwe's objections, Defendants amended their Bill of Costs and reduced their original request from $137, 654.02 to $82, 309.38 in taxable costs. (R. 197, Defs.' Resp. at 1-2.) Defendants' original and amended requests for costs, along with Bagwe's position on costs, are summarized as follows:

Defendants' Defendants' Plaintiff's Costs Original Bill of Amended Bill of Position on Bill Costs Costs of Costs Court Reporting $ 21, 795.30 $21, 795.30 $10, 730.65 Witness $ 1, 573.52 $ 1, 532.64 $560.10 E-Discovery $113, 058.69 $57, 858.94 $67 Photocopying $1, 122.50 $1, 122.50 $82.66 Other $ 104.01 $0 $0 Total Amount $137, 654.02 $82, 309.38 $11, 440.41

Analysis

Pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1), "[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 determination of whether costs should be awarded remains within the discretion of the district court. O.K. Sand & Gravel, Inc. v. Martin Marietta Techs., Inc., 36 F.3d 565, 571 (7th Cir. 1994). However, the court recognizes that there is a strong presumption in favor of awarding costs to the prevailing party. Park v. City of Chicago, 297 F.3d 606, 617 (7th Cir. 2002).

The term "costs" as it is used in Rule 54(d) is defined as:

(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 of this title; (6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

28 U.S.C. § 1920. Although only six categories are enumerated by statute, many circuits, including the Seventh Circuit, recognize that courts have latitude and authority to interpret the meaning of these categories. See, e.g., SK Hand Tool Corp. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 852 F.2d 936, 944 (7th Cir. 1988) (noting that "the Supreme Court did not prevent courts from interpreting the meaning of the phrases in § 1920") (inner quotations and citation omitted), cert. denied, 492 U.S. 918 (1989); see also Alflex ...


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