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Kahama VI, LLC v. HJH, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

February 2, 2017

KAHAMA VI, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
HJH, LLC, ROBERT E.W. MCMILLAN, III, WILLIAM R. RIVEIRO, JOHN BAHNG, HOWARD S. MARKS, OLD REPUBLIC NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY and KEVIN PATRICK DONAGHY, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES S. MOODY. JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court upon Defendant's Proposed Bill of Costs (Dkt. 603), Defendant's Motion to Tax Costs (Dkt. 604), and Plaintiff's Response and Objection (Dkt. 611). Upon review, the Court will partially grant Defendant's motion.

         BACKGROUND

         The Parties have been litigating this case for several years. In 2013, Plaintiff brought several claims against Defendant Old Republic National Title Insurance Company (hereinafter “Defendant”). (Dkt. 72 & 150.) The Court dismissed most of the claims in December 2013. (Dkt. 203.) The Court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendant and dismissed all remaining claims in December 2016. (Dkt. 601.) By that point in time, the Parties had engaged in extensive discovery and even filed motions in limine because they were scheduled to go to trial in January 2017. Defendant now seeks to recover its taxable costs. (Dkt. 603 & 605.)

         DISCUSSION

         Courts should award prevailing parties their costs. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). However, courts may only tax costs authorized by statute. U.S. E.E.O.C. v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 620 (11th Cir. 2000). Courts may tax costs enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920, including fees for service of process, witnesses, and transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1920; U.S. E.E.O.C., 213 F.3d 600 at 620. The party seeking an award of costs must submit a request that enables the court to determine the party's entitlement to those costs. See Fodor v. D'Isernia, 599 F.App'x 375, 376 (11th Cir.), cert. denied sub nom. Fodor v. E. Shipbuilding Grp., 136 S.Ct. 146 (2015); Loranger v. Stierheim, 10 F.3d 776, 784 (11th Cir. 1994). A party's failure to provide sufficient detail or documentation regarding the costs can be grounds to deny the costs. Pelc v. Nowak, No. 8:11-CV-79-T-17TGW, 2013 WL 3771233, at *5 (M.D. Fla. July 17, 2013), aff'd, 596 F.App'x 768 (11th Cir. 2015).

         In this case, Defendant seeks to recover $36, 285.59 in costs for (1) service of process, (2) witnesses, (3) deposition transcripts, and (4) hearing transcripts. Defendant has not demonstrated that it is entitled to the full amount requested. As discussed further below, the Court will award Defendant $26, 852.56 in costs.

         i. Fees for Service of Subpoenas

         A prevailing party can recover the costs it incurred using a private process server to serve subpoenas, but those costs cannot exceed the amount authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1921. U.S. E.E.O.C., 213 F.3d 600 at 623-24. Pursuant to that statute and its implementing regulations, process servers shall be paid $65 per hour, plus travel costs and any other out-of-pocket expenses. 28 U.S.C. § 1921; 28 C.F.R. § 0.114(a)(3). Courts will not award fees incurred for rush service absent proof it was necessary. E.g., Cadle v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., 2015 WL 4352048, at *4 (M.D. Fla. July 14, 2015).

         Defendant requests $528.00 in costs for serving seven subpoenas. (Dkt. 603-1, pgs. 1-2.) Defendant utilized private process servers, whose fees ranged from $60 to $90 per subpoena. Defendant's invoices do not indicate how much time the process servers spent to effectuate service or whether they incurred any out-of-pocket expenses. The invoices do indicate that Defendant paid a surcharge of $30 to $35 for rush service of five of the seven subpoenas.[1] Defendant did not explain why it needed to expedite service of these subpoenas. Therefore, the Court will deduct the rush surcharges from the service fees. After doing so, each service fee falls below the $65 cap.

         Defendant is entitled to recover $373 in service fees as calculated below:

Subpoena

Amount Requested

Reductions

Amount Awarded

Landmark

$90.00

$30.00

$60.00

Crouse

$90.00

$30.00

$60.00

McCain

$60.00

$30.00

$30.00

Carpenter

$90.00

$30.00

$60.00

King

$60.00

n/a

$60.00

Kinberg

$75.00

$35.00

$40.00

Depew

$63.00

n/a

$63.00

TOTAL

$528.00

$155.00

$373.00

         ii. Fees for Witnesses

         A prevailing party can recover the fees it paid witnesses to attend court or depositions, but those fees cannot exceed the amount authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1821. Morrison v. Reichhold Chemicals, Inc., 97 F.3d 460, 463 (11th Cir. 1996) (citing Crawford Fitting Co. v. J. T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 439 (1987)). Pursuant to that ...


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