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Pelka v. City of Waycross

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division

May 6, 2019

SUSI EMERITA PELKA, as the Surviving Spouse and Personal Representative of the Estate of JEFFERY DAVID PELKA, Deceased, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF WAYCROSS, GEORGIA, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court is Defendant City of Waycross, Georgia's Bill of Costs (Doc. 136) and Plaintiff's Motion for Continuance of Taxing of Costs (Doc. 140). On March 21, 2019, Defendant filed a Bill of Costs seeking $5, 164.71, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). (Doc. 136.) The day before, however, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal to the Eleventh Circuit seeking review of this Court's September 29, 2018 Order dismissing her claims against Defendant. (Doc. 134.) Because of the pending appeal, Plaintiff moves to continue the taxing of costs until after the Eleventh Circuit rules.

         A. Plaintiff's Motion to Continue

         The Court is vested with discretion to continue the taxing of costs until a pending appeal is resolved. See Estate of Pidcock By and Through Pidcock v. Sunnyland Am., Inc., 726 F.Supp. 1322, 1341 (S.D. Ga. 1989) (granting a continuance while the case was on appeal "in the interests of judicial economy''); Terrell v. Paulding Cty., 2012 WL 12898009, at *1 (N.D.Ga. Mar. 5, 2012) (denying a continuance to avoid the "possibility of a piecemeal appeal"). Other courts have recognized that promptly ruling on a bill of costs avoids piecemeal appeals and thereby promotes judicial economy. See In re Text Messaging Antitrust Litig., 2014 WL 4343286, at *1 (N.D. 111. Sept. 2, 2014) (prompt action on a bill of costs allows the issue to "be consolidated with the appeal on the merits and heard at the same time"); Allen v. City of Chi., 2016 WL 1070828, at *2 (N.D. 111. Mar. 16, 2016). Finally, a notice of appeal does not deprive the Court of jurisdiction to tax costs. See Rothenberg v. Sec. Mgmt. Co., 677 F.2d 64, 64 (11th Cir. 1982).

         The Court finds that delaying the taxing of costs until after resolution of Plaintiff's appeal would not promote judicial economy. Rather, it would open up the possibility of a piecemeal appeal and further prolong this litigation. Accordingly, Plaintiff's motion to continue taxing costs is denied.

         B. Defendant's Bill of Costs

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) allows the Court to award costs to the prevailing party. The costs that may be taxed against a non-prevailing party are defined in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 as follows:

(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; and
(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.

         The power to tax costs pursuant to Rule 54(d) is not an expansive one; rather, "absent explicit statutory or contractual authorization . . . federal courts are bound by the limitations set out in ... 28 U.S.C. § 1920." Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445 (1987). Consequently, the Court may not tax any cost unless it falls within one of the categories enumerated by the statute. Id. While the Court retains discretion to deny costs to a prevailing party, the presumption is ...


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