United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
UNITED STATES and STATE OF FLORIDA ex rel. ANGELA RUCKH, Plaintiffs,
SALUS REHABILITATION, LLC, et al., Defendants.
D. MERRYDAY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
defendants move (Doc. 474) to tax $156,630.22 in costs for
transcripts and printing. Objecting, the relator correctly
observes (Doc. 479) that several of the requested costs
appear unnecessary or inadequately documented.
the defendants move to tax $48,029.14 in
“deposition-related costs.” (Doc. 474-2) A party
cannot recover a transcript cost if the cost “w[as]
merely incurred for convenience, to aid in thorough
preparation, or for purposes of investigation.”
E.E.O.C. v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600,
620–21 (11th Cir. 2000). Because a “travel”
or “condensed” transcript is convenient but
unnecessary, the defendants cannot recover the cost of the
condensed transcripts. Similarly, the defendants cannot
recover the cost of a digital transcript or the “rough
ASCII” (that is, the uncertified rough draft provided
by the reporter soon after the deposition). See,
e.g., George v. Fl. Dep’t of Corrections,
2008 WL 2571348 at *5–*6 (S.D. Fla. May 23, 2008)
(Rosenbaum, J.). Also, in this instance the defendants cannot
recovery the cost of expediting a transcript, a
“handling fee,” or a “shipping fee.”
See, e.g., GEICO Gen. Ins. Co. v. Gould,
2015 WL 12838847 at *3–*4 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 13, 2015)
(McCoun, J.). Finally, several of the invoices include an
“app fee,” but the defendants fail to show the
necessity of the fee.
the invoices show unreasonably expensive charges for copying.
The defendants, which paid $1.95 for each color copy, fail to
show the necessity of color copying. Additionally, the
defendants paid $0.50 or more for each black-and-white copy,
a sum that exceeds the reasonable cost of copying. The
defendants can tax $0.15 per copy for the copies. See,
e.g., Martinez-Pinillos v. Air Flow Filters,
Inc., 2010 WL 6121708 at *5 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 22, 2010)
(taxing copies at fifteen cents per page); Perkins v.
Tolen, 2012 WL 3244512 at *3 (M.D. Fla. July 13, 2012)
(taxing copies at fifteen cents per page). As shown in the
appendix to this order, the defendants can recover $29,761.90
in deposition costs.
Cost of daily trial transcription
defendants deposited with the court reporter $50,000 for
daily transcription of the four-week trial, and the cost of
the daily transcription exhausted the deposit. Although
unnecessary in the typical action, the cost of daily
transcription is taxable in an action of unusual length or
complexity. Maris Dist. Co. v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc.,
302 F.3d 1207, 1225–26 (11th Cir. 2002). During the
four-week trial of this action, the parties called nearly
two-dozen witnesses and introduced several thousand pages of
exhibits. Escobar’s reminder about the
“rigorous” materiality requirement required
careful attention to the testimony of Ruckh, Bradley, Palega,
and others. Because the daily transcription was reasonably
necessary to the defense of this action, the defendants can
recover the $50,000 cost of the daily transcription.
defendants request taxing $52,774.84 for printing costs.
Objecting to taxing $33,572.80 of the costs, the relator
correctly observes that the defendants fail to provide
information sufficient to determine the necessity of the
printing. Because the defendants “provide no
information about what was printed, where, by whom, or for
what reason” (Doc. 479 at 8), the defendants cannot
recover $33,572.80 of the requested costs. See Cullens v.
Ga. Dep’t of Trans., 29 F.3d 1489, 1494 (11th Cir.
1994) (affirming the denial of printing costs where the
movant failed to present “evidence regarding the
documents copied[,] including their use or intended
use”). The defendants can recover $19,202.04 for
the defendants’ motion for sanctions, an August 12,
2015 order (Doc. 235) holds that the defendants “are
entitled to a credit of $5,826.25.” A January 31, 2018
order (Doc. 475) holds that the relator “is entitled to
an award of $17,844.75.” After adjusting for the
sanctions, the defendants can tax costs of
Sovereign immunity Invoking sovereign immunity, the State of
Florida and the United States object (Docs. 478 and 480) to
taxing costs against the governments and request that the
clerk tax costs against Ruckh only. Neither Ruckh nor the
defendants oppose the requests. The unopposed requests (Docs.
478 and 480) not to tax costs against the governments are
clerk is directed to enter judgment for the defendants and
against Angela ...