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Schwarz v. The Village Center Community

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

October 31, 2017

LOUIS SCHWARZ, et al., Plaintiffs, THE VILLAGE CENTER COMMUNITY, et al. Defendants. Plaintiff Transcript Costs Appearance Fee Total Costs

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1]

          PHILIP R. LAMMENS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiffs, who are deaf individuals living in The Villages in Sumter County, brought this action under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) seeking damages and injunctive relief against several Defendants, including the Village Center Community Development District and Sumter Landing Community District (“the Districts”). The Districts prevailed on summary judgment and now seek reimbursement for their costs against each of the Plaintiffs. (Docs. 182, 191).[2] Plaintiffs now ask the Court to review those costs and deny them entirely or reduce them substantially. (Doc. 522). After review, the Court submits a judgment of costs is due to be entered against each of the Plaintiffs in the amounts set forth below, which excludes the costs for American Sign Language interpreters.

         I. Background

         After the entry of summary judgment in their favor, the Districts submitted proposed bills of costs against all thirty-one Plaintiffs. (Docs. 192-222). Once the remaining claims in this case had been resolved, the clerk taxed the proposed bills of costs. (Docs. 489-513, 515-20). Plaintiffs timely moved to review those costs as provided under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1). (Doc. 522).

         Initially, in addition to the costs for preparing Plaintiffs' depositions and providing sign language interpreters, the Districts sought other miscellaneous costs, such as those for condensing transcripts, delivering the transcripts, and exhibit fees. (Docs. 489-520). After Plaintiffs' filed their motion to review costs (where they challenged numerous fees sought by the Districts), the Districts withdrew their request for the miscellaneous fees, along with their request to be reimbursed for the deposition of Janet Tutt. (Doc. 53, App. 1). Currently, the Districts' only seek to tax the costs of the transcripts themselves (including the court reporter's appearance fee), and the costs of providing ASL interpreters (a total amount of $8, 100).[3]

         II. Legal Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that “[u]nless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs-other than attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party.” Title 28 U.S.C. § 1920 defines the costs taxable under Rule 54(d). Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445 (1987). Section 1920 authorizes the taxing of:

(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 section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services ...

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