Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Butts v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Martinsburg

April 30, 2018

KAYLA BUTTS, individually and on behalf of her daughter A.F., a minor, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL JOHN ALOI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the undersigned pursuant to a referral order (ECF No. 198) entered by United States Chief District Judge, Gina M. Groh, on March 27, 2018. For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's objections to Plaintiff's Bill of Costs are granted in part and denied in part as indicated below.

         I. Procedural History

         On March 2, 2018, Plaintiff[1] filed a timely Bill of Costs (ECF No. 193) detailing the costs it seeks to have reimbursed from the United States following a verdict in the Plaintiff's favor on February 22, 2018. On March 15, 2018, the sole defendant, the United States, filed its Objections to Bill of Costs (ECF No. 194) objecting to the large costs of the transcripts, fees of the clerk for the Berkeley and Jefferson County filings, fees for Service of Process, and the fees for “Other Costs” that were detailed on the Bill. Thereafter on March 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Response to Defendant United States' Objections to Plaintiff's Bill of Costs. (ECF No. 195). The Plaintiff added several additional costs for “service of process” for witnesses and, for the first time, produced receipts for service of process to all individuals named, transcripts and video, and expert reports. (ECF No. 195). On March 27, 2018, the defendant filed its Reply to Plaintiff's Response to the United States of America's Objection. (ECF No. 199). The Reply argued that only service through United States' Marshal's is taxable, some of the transcripts that Plaintiff attempt to tax were unnecessary to the Plaintiff's case, and the affidavit provided in the Plaintiff's Response does not detail the necessary information for taxing copying costs under § 1920. Subsequently on March 28, 2018, Plaintiff filed its Response to Defendant United States' Reply to Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Objections to Plaintiff's Bill of Costs. (ECF No. 200). In this Response, Plaintiff reiterated her prior argument that the United States was wrong.

         II. Applicable Law

         Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows a prevailing party to recover certain costs accrued during the course of litigation. When the judgment is against the United States, “costs . . . may be imposed only to the extent allowed by law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54. “A judgment for costs, as enumerated in section 1920 of this title, but not including the fees and expenses or attorneys, may be awarded to the prevailing party in any civil action brought by or against the United States . . . .” 28 U.S.C. § 2412 (a)(1). “A party seeking an award of fees and other expenses” will have thirty days to submit their bill of costs for court approval. Id. (d)(1)(B). This rule creates a presumption that costs should be awarded to the prevailing party. Delta Air Lines, Inc.v. August, 450 U.S. 346, 352 (1981). A District Court “must justify its decision by ‘articulating some good reason for doing so'” to overcome this presumption. Teague v. Bakker, 35 F.3d 978, 995-96 (4th Cir. 1994).

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1920, a prevailing party is allowed to tax the following costs that were necessary in the litigation:

1. Fees of the clerk and marshal;
2. Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for the 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.

         The prevailing party, when submitting a bill of costs to a court, “bears the burden of demonstrating that the costs sought were ‘necessarily obtained for use in the case.'” Councell v. Homer Laughlin China Co., 5:11CV45, 2012 WL 1981792 (N.D. W.Va. June 1, 2012). Whether or not the actual costs requested will be awarded is in the “sound discretion of the court, ” and the court must examine the costs with “careful scrutiny.” Id. at *1.

         Plaintiff provided the Court with AO Form 133 with the costs detailed as follows:

Fees of the Clerk: $851.34
Fees for Service of summons or subpoena: $2, 893.20[2]
Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts: $19, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.