United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
ANTOON II, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendants' joint motion for costs (Doc.
425) filed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), 28
U.S.C. § 1920, and Middle District of Florida Local Rule
4.18. Plaintiff, who is now proceeding pro se, did not file a
response to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the
Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants'
who are the prevailing parties, filed a joint motion for
costs. Defendants contend that they are entitled to recover
costs against Plaintiff pursuant to Rule 54, Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and Local Rule 4.18 (M.D. Fla. 2009). In
support, Defendants submit a bill of costs and receipts,
claiming entitlement to $14, 449.49 in total costs. According
to Defendants' motion, their costs are categorized as
follows: (1) fees for printed or electronically recorded
transcripts totaling $10, 577.20; (2) printing fees totaling
$1, 539.85; (3) witness fees totaling $208.54; and (4) fees
for exemplification and costs of making copies totaling $2,
background, Plaintiff is currently serving a life sentence
while in the custody of the Secretary of the Florida
Department of Corrections. Plaintiff initiated this action by
filing a pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Civil Rights Complaint
Form alleging in pertinent part an excessive use of force
claim stemming from an incident that occurred while Plaintiff
was detained at the Charlotte County Jail. The Court granted
Plaintiffs motion to proceed in forma pauperis and
two years into litigation granted Plaintiffs motion to
appoint counsel. Doc. 139. The case ultimately proceeded to a
five-day jury trial. At trial, the Charlotte County Sheriff
moved for judgment on the pleadings (Doc. 408), which the
Court granted (Doc. 409). The question of liability as to the
remaining correctional officer defendants went to the jury.
The jury returned a defense verdict. Doc. 420.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that "costs other
than attorneys' fees shall be allowed as of course to the
prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d). There is a presumption arising from Rule
54(d)(1) that costs are to be taxed in favor of a prevailing
party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1) (emphasizing that absent a
federal statute or rule of court, costs "should be
allowed" to the prevailing party). "To defeat the
presumption and deny full costs, a district court must have
and state a sound basis for doing so." Chapman v. Al
Transport. 229 F.3d 1012, 1039 (11th Cir. 2000) (en
banc). "[A] non-prevailing party's
financial status is a factor that a district court may, but
need not, consider in its award of costs pursuant to Rule
54(d)." ANG v. Coastal International Sec. Inc..
417 F.App'x 836, 838 (11th Cir. 2011) (citations
omitted). However, if considering financial status, the Court
"must require substantial documentation of a true
inability to pay." Id.
28 U.S.C. § 1920 enumerates the costs that may be taxed
at the discretion of the court. Crawford Fitting Co. v.
J.T. Gibbons Inc.. 482 U.S. 437, 441 (1987). Costs that
may be awarded under § 1920 include: "(1) fees of
the clerk and marshal; (2) fees of the court reporter for all
or any part of the stenographic transcript necessarily
obtained for use in the case; (3) fees and disbursements for
printing and witnesses; [and] (4) fees for exemplification
and copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the
case." 28 U.S.C. § 1920. In the exercise of sound
discretion, the court is accorded great latitude in
ascertaining taxable costs. E.E.O.C v. W&O.
Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 621 (11th Cir. 2000). However, such
costs may not exceed those permitted by 28 U.S.C. §
1920. Matthews v. Crosby. 480 F.3d 1265, 1276 (11th
Cir. 2007)(citations omitted); see also Crawford.
482 U.S. at 445 (stating "absent explicit statutory or
contractual authorization for the taxation of the expense of
a litigants' witnesses as costs, the federal courts are
bound by the limitations set out in 28 U.S.C. § 1820 and
in this case are considered the prevailing parties because
the Court granted the Defendant Sherriff s motion for
judgment on the pleadings at trial and the jury returned a
defense verdict for the remaining defendants. Defendants seek
reimbursement of the following costs:
Fees for Printed or Electronically Recorded
seek reimbursement for $10, 577.20 in costs for the
transcript of the January 20, 2015 hearing before Judge
Chappell, the transcript of Plaintiffs criminal hearings, and
the deposition transcripts of: Mark Geyer, Stephen McNeeley,
Sergio Bertuzzi, Norman Wilson, Anthony Fenech, David Cox,
Dale Speicher, Nicholas Risi, Lorrie Gordan Scheribung, R.N.,
Daniel Staub, Chistopher Wertenbach, William Gaut, Dr.
Richard Lipsey, Lori Butts, Ph.D., and Terry Jones. Doc. 425
at 3-4. Defendants note that they have deducted from their
request the costs for "shipping and handling/delivery as
well as for condensed transcripts." Id. at 3,
Court first addresses Defendants' request for deposition
transcript costs. A prevailing party may tax the costs for a
deposition. 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2); W&O. Inc.
213 F.3d at 620. However, deposition costs are not taxable
when the "costs were merely incurred to convenience, to
aid in thorough preparation, or for purposes of investigation
only." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
Thus, in order to recover the costs for a deposition, it must
have been, in whole or part, ...