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GEICO General Insurance Co. v. Berguiristain

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

February 2, 2017

GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL BERGUIRISTAIN, NICOLE MELISSA GALINDO, FRANK GALLETTI, MARIA GALLETTI, ANN MARIE MAGRI, JANETTE DEL ROSARIO-PARDO, EDDY PARDO, ANDY ROMERO, OFF ROAD HUMMER ADVENTURE, LLC, JUSTIN TIRRI, ANTHONY TIRRI and SARAH TIRRI, Defendants.

          ORDER

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

         THIS CAUSE comes before the Court on Defendant Ann Marie Magri's Motion to Tax Costs Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) (Doc. 118), and Plaintiff GEICO General Insurance Company's response (Doc. 122). The Court, having reviewed the motion, supporting documents, response, and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, concludes that the motion should be granted in part and denied in part.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         GEICO brought this insurance coverage action following a May 26, 2013 automobile accident. GEICO's insured, Frank Galletti, was driving the vehicle when the accident happened, injuring passenger Ann Marie Magri. The sole issue in this case was whether Galletti had permission or a reasonable belief that he had permission to be driving the vehicle at the time of the accident. On December 6, 2017, a jury returned a verdict in favor of Magri and against GEICO.

         Magri now seeks costs in the total amount of $14, 550.42 pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d). (Doc. 118.).

         STANDARD FOR AWARDING COSTS

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) prescribes an award of costs for a prevailing party unless a federal statute, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or a court order provides otherwise. See Durden v. Citicorp Trust Bank, FSB, No. 3:07-cv-974-J-34JRK, 2010 WL 2105921, at *1 (M.D. Fla. Apr. 26, 2010) (stating that Rule 54 establishes a presumption that costs should be awarded unless the district court decides otherwise (citing Chapman v. Al Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1038 (11th Cir. 2000))). A strong presumption exists in favor of awarding costs. See Durden, 2010 WL 2105921, at *1; see also Arcadian Fertilizer, L.P. v. MPW Indus. Servs., Inc., 249 F.3d 1293, 1296 (11th Cir. 2001). The district court's discretion in not awarding all costs is limited; the district court must articulate a sound reason for not awarding full costs. See Chapman, 229 F.3d at 1038-39; Durden, 2010 WL 2105921, at *1. “However, a court may only tax costs as authorized by statute.” E.E.O.C. v. W & O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 620 (11th Cir. 2000). Specifically, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. section 1920, the following may be taxed as costs:

(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 [28 U.S.C. § 1923]; [and]
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under [28 U.S.C. § 1828].

See generally Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987), superseded on other grounds by 42 U.S.C. § 1988(c) (finding that 28 U.S.C. § 1920 defines the term “costs” as used in Rule 54(d) and enumerates the expenses that a federal court may tax as a cost under the discretionary authority granted in Rule 54(d)). The party seeking an award of costs or expenses bears the burden of submitting a request that enables a court to determine what costs or expenses were incurred by the party and ...


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