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Barfield v. CSX Transportation, Inc.

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

September 14, 2017

Steven Barfield, Plaintiff,
v.
CSX Transportation, Inc., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART MOTION FOR TAXATION OF COSTS

          PATRICIA D. BARKSDALE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Following partial summary judgment, Doc. 61, and a jury verdict, Doc. 136, the clerk entered final judgment in favor of CSX Transportation, Inc. (“CSXT”), and against Steven Barfield, Doc. 138. Before the Court is CSXT's motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) to allow $8796.51 in costs against Barfield. Docs. 139, 139-1, 139-2.[1] After CSXT filed the motion, the Court allowed Barfield's counsel to withdraw and directed Barfield to file any response by May 12, 2017. See Docs. 148, 149. He did not file a response.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) codifies the “venerable presumption that prevailing parties are entitled to costs.” Marx v. Gen. Rev. Corp., 133 S.Ct. 1166, 1172 (2013). It provides costs “should be allowed to the prevailing party” unless federal law or a court order provides otherwise.[2] Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1).

         “[W]hether to award costs ultimately lies within the sound discretion of the district court.” Marx, 133 S.Ct. at 1172. But if a court exercises its discretion to deny full costs, it “must have and state a sound basis.” Chapman v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1039 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc).

         28 U.S.C. § 1920 limits a district court's discretion under Rule 54(d)(1) by listing costs a court may allow. Maris Distr. Co. v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 302 F.3d 1207, 1225 (11th Cir. 2002). They are:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;[3]
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;[4]
(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;[5]
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;[6]
(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.

28 U.S.C. § 1920.

         Section 1920 reflects congressional policy to place “rigid controls on cost-shifting in federal courts.” Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 444 (1987). “[A]s is evident from § 1920, ” costs are “limited to relatively minor, incidental expenses, ” and “almost always amount to less than the successful litigant's total expenses in connection with a lawsuit.” Taniguchi v. Kan.Pacific Saipan, Ltd., 132 S.Ct. 1997, 2006 (2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         “Items proposed by winning parties as costs should always be given careful scrutiny.” Farmer v. Arabian Am. Oil Co., 379 U.S. 227, 235 (1964), disapproved of on another ground by Crawford, 482 U.S. at 443. Once the prevailing party has shown the requested costs are allowed under § 1920, the losing party must rebut the presumption favoring their award. Manor Healthcare Corp. v. Lomelo, 929 F.2d 633, 639 (11th Cir. 1991). ...


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