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GC2 Inc. v. International Game Technology

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

July 29, 2019

GC2 INC., Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL GAME TECHNOLOGY, IGT, DOUBLEDOWN INTERACTIVE LLC, and MASQUE PUBLISHING, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         GC2 Inc. sued International Game Technology, IGT, Doubledown Interactive LLC, and Masque Publishing, Inc. alleging copyright infringement and violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). GC2's claims went to trial in January 2019. The jury found for the plaintiff. The parties filed a number of post-trial motions, including motions for judgment as a matter of law, for a new trial, and for attorney's fees. GC2 also sought litigation costs. The Court ruled on post-trial motions but reserved ruling on the bill of costs. See GC2 Inc. v. Int'l Game Tech., No. 16 C 8794, 2019 WL 3080922, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 15, 2019).

         Background

          The Court assumes familiarity with the facts of the case, which were described at length in previous rulings. See, e.g., id. at *1-3. The only remaining issue before the Court relates to GC2's bill of costs. GC2 seeks a total of $184, 769.56 in litigation-related costs.

         The requested costs are broken out into four categories, with each category further subdivided into more precise line items. First, GC2 seeks a total of $1, 531.50 for fees of the clerk and marshal. Second, GC2 seeks a total of $145, 896.90 for transcripts of the trial and depositions as well as other deposition-related expenses. Third, GC2 seeks an additional $32, 102.86 for various costs related to printing and exemplification. Fourth, GC2 asks for $5, 238 in costs related to electronic discovery.

         The defendants submitted a painstaking brief objecting to nearly every item of GC2's requested costs. They contend that the plaintiff is entitled to a total of only $83, 881.61. GC2's claimed costs and the amounts to which the defendants contend it is actually entitled are as follows.

Category

GC2's claim

Defendants' valuation

Fees of clerk and marshal

$1, 531.50

$798

Transcripts and recordings

$145, 897.20

$78, 774.23

Printing and exemplification

$32, 102.86

$4, 104.38

Electronic discovery

$5, 238

$205

Total

$184, 769.56

$83, 881.61

         See generally Pl.'s Bill of Costs, dkt. nos. 427, 427-1.

         Discussion

          Courts may award specific litigation-related costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1920. See also 17 U.S.C. § 505 (providing for awarding costs in copyright cases); Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc., 139 S.Ct. 873, 875 (2019) (holding that the Copyright Act's cost recovery provision covers the same "six categories specified in the general costs statute"). The statute specifically enumerates certain costs that are taxable:

(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. § 1902; see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) ("[C]osts . . . should be allowed to the prevailing party.").

         The party seeking costs has the burden of establishing that, where appropriate, the costs it incurred were reasonably necessary to the litigation. See Nat'l Org. for Women, Inc. v. Scheidler, 750 F.3d 696, 698 (7th Cir. 2014); Alexander v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs., Inc., 222 F.Supp.2d 1087, 1089-90 (N.D. Ill. 2002). But, in this context, "necessary" does not mean "indispensable"; the party seeking costs must simply demonstrate that costs were incurred for more than attorney ...


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