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Hood v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation

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

February 4, 2015

JONATHAN R. HOOD, Plaintiff,
v.
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendant National Railroad Passenger Corporation's (Amtrak) bill of costs. For the reasons stated below, the bill of costs is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Hood brought the instant action and included in his amended complaint a hostile work environment claim brought against Amtrak under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Count I), a Title VII race discrimination claim brought against Amtrak (Count II), a Title VII retaliation claim brought against Amtrak (Count III), a race discrimination claim brought against Amtrak pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Section 1981) (Count IV), a Section 1981 retaliation claim brought against Amtrak (Count V), a Section 1981 discrimination claim brought against Defendant Jesse Nunez (Nunez) (Count VI), state law intentional infliction of emotional distress claims brought against Amtrak and Nunez (Count VII), state law assault and battery claims brought against Amtrak and Nunez (Count VIII), and a state law tortious interference with employment expectations claim brought against Nunez (Count IX). On October 28, 2014, this court granted Amtrak's motion for summary judgment on the federal claims. The court also dismissed the Section 1981 claim brought against Nunez. Finally, the court dismissed the remaining state law claims without prejudice. Amtrak now moves to recover costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) (Rule 54(d)).

LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 54(d) provides that the prevailing party shall be allowed to recover costs other than attorneys' fees as a matter of course, unless a statute or other rule states otherwise or the court specifically disallows such costs. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1920 (setting forth costs that are generally recoverable). The Seventh Circuit has made it clear that in reviewing a bill of costs, the district court should keep in mind that "[t]here 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). In addition to making sure that the requested costs are recoverable, a district court must also ensure that the costs are reasonable and "necessary to the litigation...." Little v. Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., 514 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Majeske v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 824 (7th Cir. 2000)(referring to recoverable and reasonable considerations and to the "heavy presumption in favor of awarding costs").

DISCUSSION

Amtrak requests an award of $24, 483.57 for costs. Hood objects to the amount of costs sought by Amtrak, contending that Amtrak should only recover $3, 426.98 in costs.

I. Subpoena Costs

Amtrak seeks to recover $406.50 in costs for service of three subpoenas. Hood argues that Amtrak should not be able to recover the $129.00 cost for service upon David T. Rallo (Rallo) because Rallo is one of the attorneys of record of Hood in this case. Hood contends that such subpoena was unnecessary. However, Amtrak has explained its necessity to obtain all available information relating to a conversation Rallo had with Hood's mother. Hood fails to explain in detail why the subpoena was unnecessary or cite any precedent to support his position that a subpoena was not necessary simply because Rallo was an attorney of record in this case. Thus, Amtrak can recover the costs relating to the subpoena issued to Rallo.

Hood also argues that Amtrak is limited to recovering subpoena costs of $55.00 per hour. See Goldberg v. 401 North Wabash Venture LLC, 2013 WL 4506071, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2013)(stating that "[t]he fee for personal service of a subpoena by the U.S. Marshal's Service is $55 per hour plus travel costs and any other out-of-pocket expenses'")(quoting 28 CFR § 0.114(a)(3)). Hood contends that since the invoices submitted by Amtrak do not reflect the amount of time effectuating service of subpoenas, Amtrak is limited to the recovery of $55 for each of the three subpoenas. In its reply, Amtrak concedes that it may recovery only a total of $165.00 for the three subpoenas. (Reply 2). The costs award will be adjusted accordingly. In regards to the $165.00 in costs for subpoenas, Amtrak has shown that the costs are recoverable and reasonable and has provided sufficient documentation for such costs.

II. Deposition and Court Transcript Costs

Amtrak seeks to recover $5, 516.30 for deposition and court ...


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