United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendants' bill of costs . For the
reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies
in part Defendants' bill of costs .
Leonardo Rodriguez was fired from his position as a driver
for the City of Chicago after he got into a driving accident
and subsequently failed a drug test. [56 at 4-6.] Plaintiff
sued Defendants on various state and federal law theories in
state court. [Id. at 7.] Defendants removed to
federal court, which had federal question jurisdiction over
one count. [Id.] Defendants moved for summary
judgment on the count raising a federal question.
[Id.] The Court granted summary judgment to
Defendants and dismissed the remaining claims with leave to
refile in state court. [Id. at 20.]
filed a bill of costs , and seek $1, 497.50 in costs,
revised down from an initial request of $1, 517.50. [63 at
5-6.] These costs include the removal fee, printing costs,
and costs associated with taking a deposition.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides, in relevant part:
“costs-other than attorney's fees-should be allowed
to the prevailing party.” Federal statute dictates
which types of costs are allowable under this rule,
including: (1) Fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) Fees for
printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily
obtained for use in the case; * * * (4) Fees for
exemplification and the costs of making copies of any
materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use
in the case * * *.”
decision whether to award costs ultimately lies within the
sound discretion of the district court.” Marx v.
General Revenue Corp., 568 U.S. 371, 377 (2013). That
said, “Rule 54(d)(1) codifies a venerable presumption
that prevailing parties are entitled to costs.”
Id.; see also Contreras v. City of Chicago,
119 F.3d 1286, 1295 (7th Cir. 1997) (“Although a
district court has discretion when awarding costs, the
discretion is narrowly confined because of the strong
presumption created by Rule 54(d)(1) that the prevailing
party will recover costs.”) (internal quotation marks
and citations omitted). Notwithstanding this strong
presumption, the “party seeking an award of costs
carries the burden of showing that the requested costs were
necessarily incurred and reasonable.” Trustees of
Chicago Plastering Inst. Pension Trust v. Cork Plastering
Co., 570 F.3d 890, 906 (7th Cir. 2009). That is,
“[o]nce the prevailing party demonstrates that the
particular items of costs should be allowed, the losing party
then bears the burden of affirmatively showing that the taxed
costs are not appropriate.” Se-Kure Controls, Inc.
v. Vanguard Products Group, Inc., 873 F.Supp.2d 939, 944
(N.D. Ill. 2012) (citing Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley
Trust Co., 411 F.3d 854, 864 (7th Cir. 2005). Costs
incurred for one's own convenience are not necessary and
therefore not recoverable. E.g., Boogaard v.
National Hockey League, 2017 WL 5517231, *2 (N.D. Ill.
Nov. 17, 2017) (citing Majeske v. City of Chicago,
218 F.3d 816, 825 (7th Cir. 2000); Haroco, Inc. v.
American Nat. Bank & Trust Co. of Chicago, 38 F.3d
1429, 1441 (7th Cir. 1994)).
as prevailing parties, seek to recover three general
categories of costs: the filing fee, printing costs, and the
costs associated with conducting depositions. Plaintiff
raises various objections to each category of costs and also
claims to be exempt from Rule 54(d) altogether because he is
indigent. Each category of costs is handled in turn.
seek to recover the $400 filing fee they paid when they
removed the case to federal court. [58 at 1.] The only
justification they give for removal is that they did so
“in order to address the federal claims.” [59 at
2.] Plaintiff counters that removing the case to federal
court was a voluntary, strategic choice, and in any event
Defendants' proffered justification is inadequate. [61 at
of the clerk” may be taxed. 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
While filing fees are recoverable, the Seventh Circuit has
not, however, squarely addressed whether removal
fees are recoverable as “fees of the clerk.” See
Piotrowski v. Menard, Inc., 2016 WL 7157353, *2
(N.D. Ill.Dec. 8, 2016) (quoting Cleary v. Philip Morris
Inc., 2010 WL 4039793 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 14, 2010)).
Several courts in this district have considered the issue,
however, and they agree that removal fees can be taxed to the
losing party. Id. (collecting cases); see also
Cervantes v. Ardagh Group, 2019 WL 1923395, *3 (N.D.
Ill. Apr. 30, 2019) (assuming that removal fees are taxable).
The through-line of these cases is that filing the removal
fee is a requirement of getting the case into a federal
court, and therefore is recoverable. See Aguirre v.
Turner Const. Co., 2008 WL 4790392, *3 (N.D. Ill. Oct.
27, 2008). The Court will not veer away from this consensus:
Defendants are entitled to the $400 removal fee.