Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cardona v. The Mason And Dixon Lines, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 10, 2018

ALBA CARDONA, Plaintiff,
v.
THE MASON AND DIXON LINES, INC. and TIMOTHY LEVERETT, Defendants.

          ORDER

          JOHN J. O'SULLIVAN, UNITED SPATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Bill of Costs (DE# 166, 8/11/17) and the Supplemental Bill of Costs (DE# 189, 10/2/17)[1] filed by the defendants.

         BACKGROUND

         On July 13, 2017, the jury rendered a verdict in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff. See Verdict (DE# 140, 7/13/17). On the same day, the Court entered a final judgment in accordance with the verdict. See Final Judgment (DE# 141, 7/13/17). The defendants now seek to recover costs pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 1920 and Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Memorandum in Support of Defendants, The Mason and Dixon Lines, Incorporated and Timothy Leverett's, Bill of Costs (DE# 167 at 1, 8/11/17).

         ANALYSIS

         1. ENTITLEMENT

         Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that costs other than attorneys' fees shall be allowed to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). A "prevailing party, " for purposes of the rule, is a party in whose favor judgment is rendered. See Util. Automation 2000, Inc. v. Choctawhatchee Elec. Co-op., Inc., 298 F.3d 1238, 1248 (11th Cir. 2002). In the instant case, the Court entered a judgment in favor of the defendants and against the plaintiff. See Final Judgment (DE# 141, 7/13/17). As such, the defendants are the prevailing party and are entitled to recover taxable costs.

         2. ABILITY TO PAY

         The plaintiff argues that the defendants' request for costs should be denied in its entirety because the plaintiff does not have the ability to pay those costs. See Plaintiff's Response and Objections to Defendants' Bill of Costs (DE# 166) (DE# 184 at 9, 9/25/17). In support of this argument, the plaintiff has filed an affidavit. See Affidavit of Alba Cardona in Opposition to Defendant's Bill of Costs and Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Same (DE# 186-1, 9/25/17) (hereinafter "Plaintiff's Affidavit"). In her affidavit, the plaintiff attests that she is 74 years old and on a fixed monthly income of $851.00 which she receives from the Social Security Administration, Id. at ¶ 5. She further attests that she has $900.00 in her bank account and no other accounts, Id. at ¶ 4. The plaintiff also states that she relies on "family tenants" to help pay her mortgage and has no additional assets or other sources of income. Id. at ¶7. The plaintiff concludes that she is "not in an economic position to satisfy any costs in this matter... ."Id. at 9.

         The defendants respond that the Court should not consider the plaintiff's financial state in awarding costs to the defendants. Defendants' Reply to Plaintiffs Response and Objections to Defendants' Bill of Costs (DE# 188 at 9, 10/2/17). The defendants note that the plaintiff's affidavit is not sufficiently detailed and that the plaintiff could pay costs over time. Id.

         The Court finds that there is no justification to reduce a cost award based solely on the plaintiff's alleged inability to satisfy a judgment. See Mathews v. Crosby, 480 F.3d 1265, 1276-77 (11th Cir. 2007) (affirming an award of costs despite a claim of indigence because the district court had no "sound basis to overcome the strong presumption that a prevailing party is entitled to costs") (citing Chapman v. Al Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1023-24 (11th Cir. 2000)). In the instant case, there is an insufficient showing for the Court to conclude that the plaintiff is unable to pay the award of costs. The plaintiff does not specify how much her tenants contribute towards her mortgage or list her monthly expenses. "This Court requires substantial documentation of a true inability to pay for [it to] reduce the amount of costs to be paid, and may not decline to award any costs at all." Perez v. Saks Fifth Ave., Inc., No. 07-21794-CIV, 2011 WL 13172510, at *11 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 14, 2011).

         3. TAXABLE COSTS

         Title 28, United States Code, Section 1920 sets out the specific costs that may be recovered:

         A judge or clerk of any Court of the United States may tax as costs the following:

(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 under section 1828 of this title.

28 U.S.C. §1920. In the exercise of sound discretion, trial courts are accorded great latitude ascertaining taxable costs. However, in exercising its discretion to tax costs, absent explicit statutory authorization, federal courts are limited to those costs specifically enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. E.E.O.C. v. W&O. Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 620 (11th Cir. 2000). Accordingly, the defendants may only recover those costs they are entitled to recover under 28 U.S.C. §1920.

         a. Fees of the Clerk

         The defendants seek to recover $400.00 paid to the Clerk of the Court as a filing fee. This amount was incurred when the defendants removed the case from state court to this Court. Section 1920(1) permits the recovery of "[f]ees of the clerk and marshal, " 28 U.S.C. § 1920(1). The plaintiff does not dispute this amount. See Plaintiff's Response and Objections to Defendants' Bill of Costs (DE# 166) (DE# ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.