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Pezl v. Amore Mio, Inc.

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

May 13, 2015

JOHN PEZL, Plaintiff,
AMORE MIO, INC., an Illinois corporation and DOES 1-10, Defendants.


RUBÉN CASTILLO, Chief District Judge.

On September 4, 2009, this Court granted a motion for summary judgment in favor of Defendants, Amore Mio Inc., and Does 1-10, and against Plaintiff John Pezl on his claim that Defendants violated the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act ("FACTA") amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act ("FCRA"), 15 U.S.C. § 1681c(g). (R. 106, Min. Entry; R. 107, Mem. Op. & Order.) Presently before the Court is Defendants' bill of costs pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). (R. 113-2, Defs.' Bill of Costs.) Defendants seek $4, 937.02 in total costs. (Id. at 1.) Specifically, Defendants requested $350.00 for court filing fees; $2, 020.33 for court reporter expenses; $2, 432.61 for printing and copying; and $134.08 in fees for exemplification and copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case. (Id. ) Plaintiff concedes costs for court filing fees. (R. 119, Pl.'s Resp. at 5.) The court reporter fees, and fees for printing and copying remain in dispute. (Id. ) Specifically, Plaintiff argues that court reporter fees should be reduced to $735.11, and printing and copying costs reduced to $1, 367.50, for a total award of $2, 452.61. (Id. at 3-5.) For the reasons stated below, the Court awards Defendants $3, 926.90 in costs.


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 obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees...; [and]
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services...

28 U.S.C. § 1920(1)-(6).

Even if authorized by statute, however, "a cost must be both reasonable and necessary to the litigation for a prevailing party to recover it." Little v. Mitsubishi Motors N. Am., Inc., 514 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 2008). In short, the determination of whether to tax "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 Chi., 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). The prevailing party then carries the burden of showing that the requested costs were "necessarily incurred and reasonable." Trs. of the Chi. Plastering Inst. Pension Trust v. Cork Plastering Co., 570 F.3d 890, 906 (7th Cir. 2009). Ultimately, the decision of whether to award costs is within the Court's discretion. M.T. Bonk Co. v. Milton Bradley Co., 945 F.2d 1404, 1409 (7th Cir. 1991).


I. Whether Barone & Jenkins, P.C. is entitled to all costs recovered

As a preliminary matter, the Court notes that Defendants' bill of costs includes expenses incurred by two different law firms. Attorneys from the firm SmithAmundsen, LLC, represented Defendants until March 2, 2009, ( see R. 45, Mot. Substitute Att'y), at which point attorneys from the firm Barone & Jenkins, P.C. took over the case, ( see R. 47, Min. Entry). David Jenkins, an attorney with Barone & Jenkins, attests that attorneys from SmithAmundsen provided him with copies of the costs their firm incurred. (R. 113-2, Jenkins Aff. at 1.) In addition, each receipt submitted as documentation for the requested costs clearly indicates which firm incurred the particular cost. Jenkins did not advise the Court or provide it with documentation of any fee-sharing arrangement between the two firms. In the absence of such an agreement, the Court will set out the amount both ...

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