United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
LISA GODBEY WOOD, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Bill of Costs, dkt. no. 120, will be TAXED in part to
Plaintiff for the reasons below.
by counsel, Plaintiff sued Defendants for race discrimination
on October 28, 2014. Dkt. No. 1. Defendants prevailed at a
jury trial that concluded on April 26, 2017. Dkt. No. 117.
Defendants filed their bill of costs on May 10, 2017. Dkt.
No. 120. The bill is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.
Dkt. Nos. 123-27.
that are statutorily authorized are presumptively allowed to
a prevailing party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1); Grady v. Bunzl
Packaging Supply Co., 161 F.R.D. 477, 478 (N.D.Ga. 1995)
(citing W.Va. Univ. Hosps., Inc. v. Casey, 499 U.S.
83 (1991)). "The non-prevailing party bears the burden
of demonstrating that a challenged cost is not taxable."
United States v. Aegis Therapies, Inc., No. CV
210-72, 2015 WL 8677972, at *2 (S.D. Ga. Dec. 11, 2015). The
district court has discretion not to award costs. Chapman
v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1038 (11th Cir. 2000) (en
banc). But that discretion "is not unfettered."
Id. at 1039 (citing Head v. Medford, 62
F.3d 351, 354-55 (11th Cir. 1995) (per curiam)). "To
defeat the presumption and deny full costs, a district court
must have and state a sound basis for doing so."
[A] non-prevailing party's financial status is a factor
that a district court may, but need not, consider . . .
." Id.; see also Ang v. Coastal Int'l
Sec, Inc., 417 F.App'x 836, 838 (11th Cir. 2011)
(per curiam). "If a district court . . . chooses to
consider the non-prevailing party's financial status, it
should require substantial documentation of a true inability
to pay." Id. "Moreover, when awarding
costs a district court should not consider the relative
wealth of the parties." Id. "Even in those
rare circumstances where the non-prevailing party's
financial circumstances are considered . . ., a court may not
decline to award any costs at all." Id.
the costs sought by Defendants will be taxed.
SERVICE COSTS ARE TAXED.
first contends that "fees of services of summons of
subpoena" cannot be taxed. Dkt. No. 123 at 3. Defendants
actually sought to tax "[f]ees for service of summons
and subpoena." Dkt. No. 120 at 1. Such a cost category
appears on this Court's standard bill of costs, see
id., and it is statutorily authorized even though
Defendants used a private process-server. U.S. EEQC v.
W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 623-24 (11th Cir. 2000).
DEFENDANTS' TRANSCRIPT TAX IS REDUCED DUE TO AN
transcription cost requested by Defendants must be reduced.
The invoice they provided is not itemized-it simply states
that $1613.80 is due for the original and a copy of three
different depositions. Dkt. No. 120 at 6. This "does not
preclude an award of costs when counsel declares under
penalty of perjury that the costs are correct and necessarily
incurred." Frischhertz v. SmithKline Beechan
Corp., Civ. A. No. 10-2125, 2013 WL 3894021, at *4 (E.D.
La. July 26, 2013); see also Hassinger v. JP Morgan Chase
& Co., Civ. A. No. 06- 2931, 2009 WL 2382960, at *1
(E.D. La. July 27, 2009). Here, counsel made such a
declaration. Dkt. No. 120 at 1.
Plaintiff points out, the invoice might reflect impermissible
costs like "delivery fees[ ] [and] shipping handling
charges." Dkt. No. 123 at 4. This objection is valid.
See United States ex rel. King v. Solvay S.A., Civ.
A. No. H-06-2662, 2016 WL 3523873, at *4-5 (S.D. Tex. June
28, 2016), appeal filed, 2016 WL 3523873 (5th Cir.
Aug. 1, 2016); Am. Guarantee & Liab. Ins. Co. v. U.S.
Fidelity & Guar. Co., No. 4:O6CV655, 2010 WL
1935998, at *12 (E.D. Mo. May 10, 2010). To find the proper
reduction, the Court observes that the United States Postal
Service offers priority, one-day, flat-rate shipping for
three-pound envelopes from the transcript company's zip
code to defense counsel's for $23.85. Postage Price