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Garcia v. ALS Education, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

March 30, 2018

ANA GARCIA, Plaintiff,



         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant's Motion for Bill of Costs, ECF No. [91]. The Plaintiff has filed a Response in opposition to the Motion, ECF No. [93]. The Honorable Kathleen M. Williams, has referred the Motion to the undersigned, ECF No. [92]. Based upon a thorough review of the record and for the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED IN PART, and costs are awarded to the Defendant in the amount of $2, 818.45 for taxable costs incurred in this action.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         This matter was initiated when Plaintiff Ana Garcia filed a four-count Complaint against her former employer ALS Education, Inc., d/b/a Accelerated Learning Solutions (“ALS”), in the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit In and For Miami-Dade County, Florida, ECF No. [1]. The Complaint alleged violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-19 (“FLSA”), including retaliation claims, and alleged violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., (“FMLA”), ECF No. [1-1]. After the Defendant removed the action to this Court, the Defendant moved to dismiss the Plaintiff's FMLA claims, as well as her claim for FLSA retaliation, ECF No. [27]. The Court granted that Motion and dismissed the FMLA claims, and the FLSA retaliation claim, leaving Plaintiff's FLSA claims for unpaid wages and liquidated damages to be litigated by the Parties, ECF No. [54].

         Thereafter, on July 21, 2017, the Court granted Defendant ALS' Motion for Summary Judgment and Final Judgment was entered on behalf of ALS, ECF Nos. [88] [89]. Defendant then filed the instant Motion for Bill of Costs seeking to recover $2, 963.45 in costs incurred in this matter, ECF No. [91]. In support of its request, the Defendant has submitted a Memorandum of Law and receipts for the costs that the Defendant seeks to recover, ECF No. [91-1]. The Plaintiff filed a response in Opposition to Defendant's Motion, ECF No. [93].

         II. ANALYSIS

         Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1), a prevailing party is entitled to recover costs as a matter of course unless directed otherwise by a court or statute. A court may tax as costs those expenses enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. See Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445 (1987) (absent explicit statutory or contractual authorization, federal courts are bound by the limitations set out in § 1920). “To defeat the presumption and deny full costs, a district court must have a sound basis for doing so.” Chapman v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1039 (11th Cir. 2000). The court should not take into consideration the relative wealth of the parties, as it would undermine the presumption that Rule 54(d)(1) creates in favor of the prevailing parties. Id.

         There is no contention in the case at bar that there is a basis for reducing costs that fall within the scope of section 1920. The following discussion analyzes the taxable costs pursuant to this statute.

         1. Fees of the Clerk

         In the Bill of Costs, the Defendant first seeks to recover four hundred dollars ($400.00) paid to the Clerk of Court for removal of this matter to the Southern District of Florida, ECF No. [91-1] at 2.

         Section 1920(1) authorizes fees of the clerk as costs, and a “removal fee is unquestionably a fee of the clerk.” Thermoset Corp. v. Bldg. Materials Corp. of Am., No. 14-60268-CIV, 2015 WL 11197752, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 29, 2015), report and recommendation adopted, No. 14-60268-CIV, 2016 WL 3944034 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 2, 2016) (internal citation omitted); Nelson v. North Broward Med. Cntr, No. 12-61867-CIV, 2014 WL 2195157, at *2 (S.D. Fla. May 27, 2014) (removal fee is taxable). In light of the law and Plaintiff's failure to challenge Defendant's request for the removal fee, the undersigned awards Defendant four hundred dollars ($400.00) for this cost. See E.E.O.C. v. W & O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 621 (11th Cir. 2000) (finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by taxing unchallenged costs).

         2. Fees for Deposition and Deposition Transcripts

         The Defendant seeks to recover costs in the amount of $2, 563.45 associated with conducting depositions in the case. Specifically, Defendant seeks to recover $1, 645.55 for the cost of the Plaintiff's deposition, and further seeks $908.90 for the costs for the depositions of three of the Defendant's employees, ECF No. [91] at 2.

         In the Eleventh Circuit, deposition transcripts are generally taxable as long as they were “necessarily obtained for use in the case.” E.E.O.C., 213 F.3d at, 620-21. District courts have wide latitude in determining whether a deposition was necessary but the general rule is that “a deposition is considered to be necessary if it was related to an issue that was present in the case when the ...

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