United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
MANUEL A. GONZALEZ, ISHMAEL RAMJOHN, and ALELI GONZALEZ, Plaintiffs,
GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
S. MOODY, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE comes before the Court upon Plaintiffs' Proposed
Bill of Costs (Dkt. 273), Plaintiffs' Motion to Tax Costs
(Dkt. 274), and Defendant's Response in Opposition (Dkt.
282). Upon review, the Court will partially grant
Plaintiffs' motion. Specifically, the Court awards costs
in Plaintiffs' favor in the amount of $31, 763.82.
Parties have been litigating this bad faith insurance case
since February 4, 2015 (Dkt. 1). The case proceeded to trial
and, after a five-day jury trial, the jury entered a verdict
finding that Defendant failed to settle Lisa Anderson's
liability claim against Plaintiffs in good faith (Dkt. 247).
On March 8, 2017, final judgment was entered in
Plaintiffs' favor and against Defendant in the amount of
$414, 698.34 (Dkt. 270). Plaintiffs now seek to recover their
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.
2015), 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).
case, Plaintiffs seek to recover $70, 912.97 in costs for (1)
fees of the clerk and marshal, (2) deposition and hearing
transcripts, (3) witnesses, (4) copies, and (5) interpreters.
Plaintiffs also request that the Court award them prejudgment
interest on their taxable costs. As discussed further below,
the Court will award Plaintiffs $31, 763.82 in costs. The
Court denies the request for prejudgment interest.
Fees of the Clerk and Marshal
of the clerk and marshal” may be taxed as costs under
28 U.S.C. § 1920(1). Plaintiffs request the $400 filing
fee to the clerk and a $15 service fee to Defendant's
registered agent, the Florida Chief Financial Officer. The
$15 fee will be reduced to $8 because it was served by mail.
28 C.F.R. § 0.114(a)(1)(2). Accordingly, these fees
also request costs in the amount of $1, 210 associated with
using a private process server to serve subpoenas for both
deposition and trial. 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., No.
6:13-cv-1591-Orl-31GJK, 2015 WL 4352048, at *4 (M.D. Fla.
July 14, 2015).
utilized private process servers, whose fees ranged from $45
to $125 per subpoena. Plaintiffs' 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 Plaintiffs paid a
surcharge of $45 for rush service of one subpoena. Plaintiffs
did not explain why they needed to expedite service of this
subpoena. Therefore, the Court will deduct the rush surcharge
from the service fees. The Court also deducts the second
service on Carl Tims because Plaintiffs did not provide a
reason for the second service in their motion. The Court also
deducts any fee above the $65 cap. After applying these
deductions, Plaintiffs are entitled to recover $875 in
Plaintiffs' total costs in this category total $1, 283
Fees for Deposition and Hearing Transcripts
prevailing party can recover costs incurred obtaining
deposition transcripts if they were “necessarily
obtained for use in the case.” U.S. E.E.O.C.,
213 F.3d 600 at 620-21. The party's use of the deposition
in a dispositive motion or inclusion of the deponent in its
witness list tends to show that the deposition was
necessarily obtained for use in the case. See id. at
621. However, even when the prevailing party did not
ultimately use the deposition, a court may still award it the
cost as long as “no evidence shows that the deposition
was unrelated to an issue in the case at the time it was
taken.” Watson v. Lake Cty., 492 F. App'x
991, 996-97 (11th Cir. 2012).
costs incurred for the party's convenience-as opposed to
necessity- are not recoverable. U.S. E.E.O.C., 213
F.3d 600 at 620. Charges for condensed transcripts,
summaries, scanning, and CD litigation packages are typically
not recoverable because they are costs incurred for the
party's convenience. E.g., Wiand v. Wells Fargo Bank,
N.A., No. 8:12-CV-557-T-27EAJ, 2015 WL 12839237, at
*9-*11 (M.D. Fla. June 10, 2015), report and
recommendation adopted, No. 8:12-CV-557-T-27EAJ, 2016 WL
355490 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 29, 2016) (internal citations
omitted). In addition, charges for shipping and handling are
not recoverable. Watson, 492 F. App'x 991 at
997. A prevailing party may recover the cost of
video-recording a deposition, but only if the party noticed
the deposition to be video-recorded, the ...