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Knox v. PHC-Cleveland, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Delta Division

July 21, 2014

CYNTHIA KNOX, Plaintiff,
v.
PHC-CLEVELAND, INC. d/b/a Bolivar Medical Center, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S BILL OF COSTS

GLENN H. DAVIDSON, Senior Judge.

On February 26, 2014, the Court entered an Order [53] and memorandum opinion [54] granting Defendant PHC-Cleveland, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment [38] of all claims against it in this action. Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff Cynthia Knox had failed to raise a genuine dispute of fact on her race discrimination claims brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

On June 16, 2014, Defendant PHC-Cleveland, Inc. filed a bill of costs [55] requesting recovery of a total of $2, 175.30 from Plaintiff Cynthia Knox: $1, 487.50 in fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case and $687.80 in fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials necessarily obtained for use in the case. Plaintiff Cynthia Knox has filed no objection or other response to the bill of costs.

Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure controls where a party seeks to recover costs, and it provides in relevant part that "costs - other than attorney's fees - should be allowed to the prevailing party." FED. R. CIV. P. 54(d)(1). "Rule 54(d)(1) codifies a venerable presumption that prevailing parties are entitled to costs. Notwithstanding this presumption, the word should' makes clear that the decision whether to award costs ultimately lies within the sound discretion of the district court." Marx v. Gen. Revenue Corp., ___ U.S. ___, ___, 133 S.Ct. 1166, 1172, 185 L.Ed.2d 242 (Feb. 26, 2013). "The trial court has broad discretionary powers in taxing costs.... While [Rule 54(d)(1)] does not prevent a trial court from requiring a prevailing party to bear its own costs, the language of the rule reasonably bears the intendment that the prevailing party is prima facie entitled to costs." Kent v. Vicksburg Healthcare, L.L.C., 534 F.App'x 229, 230 (5th Cir. 2013) (per curiam) (quoting Walters v. Roadway Express, Inc., 557 F.2d 521, 526 (5th Cir. 1977) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)). "[I]t is incumbent on the losing party to overcome that presumption." Id. (quoting Walters, 557 F.2d at 526) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

The following six categories of costs are recoverable:

(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. A district court may decline to award costs within the statutory categories, but it may not award costs outside those categories. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42, 107 S.Ct. 2494, 96 L.Ed.2d 385 (1987). The "Supreme Court has indicated that federal courts may only award those costs articulated in [S]ection 1920 absent explicit statutory or contractual authorization to the contrary." Cook Children's Med. Ctr. v. The New England PPO Plan of Gen. Consolidation Mgmt. Inc., 491 F.3d 266, 274 (5th Cir. 2007). With all of the foregoing in mind, the Court now addresses each category of requested costs.

1. Deposition Transcript Fees

First, Defendant PHC-Cleveland, Inc. requests recovery of costs for deposition transcripts obtained in the case. Costs related to the taking of depositions are allowed under Section 1920(2) and (4) "if the materials were necessarily obtained for use in the case." Stearns Airport Equip. Co., Inc. v. FMC Corp., 170 F.3d 518, 536 (5th Cir. 1999). The Fifth Circuit has stated: "We have previously held that whether a deposition or copy was necessarily obtained for use in the case is a factual determination to be made by the district court. We accord great latitude to this determination.'" Rundus v. City of Dallas, Tex., 634 F.3d 309, 316 (5th Cir. 2011) (quoting Coats v. Penrod Drilling Corp., 5 F.3d 877, 891 (5th Cir. 1993)). "[I]t is not required that a deposition actually be introduced in evidence for it to be necessary for a case - as long as there is a reasonable expectation that the deposition may be used for trial preparation, it may be included in costs." Stearns Airport Equip. Co., 170 F.3d at 536 (citing Fogleman, 920 F.2d at 285). Stated another way, "such costs are recoverable if the party making the copies has a reasonable belief that the documents will be used during trial or for trial preparation.'" See Rundus, 634 F.3d at 316 (quoting Fogleman, 920 F.2d at 285) (emphasis added). "[C]osts incurred merely for discovery' do not meet that standard." Id. (quoting Fogleman, 920 F.2d at 285-86) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted)). The Fifth Circuit explained in Marmillion v. ...


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