United States District Court, S.D. Florida
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION
TO TAX COSTS
G. TORRES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Silversea Cruises LTD.'s
(“Defendant”) motion to tax costs against
Gurpreet Gil Maag (“Plaintiff” or “Ms.
Maag”). [D.E. 83]. Plaintiff responded to
Defendant's motion on June 28, 2019 [D.E. 86] to which
Defendant replied on July 3, 2019. [D.E. 87]. Therefore,
Defendant's motion is now ripe for disposition. After
careful review of the motion, response, reply, relevant
authority, and for the reasons discussed below,
Defendant's motion should be GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part.
a maritime personal injury action in which Plaintiff alleges
that, on July 7, 2017, she boarded the Silver Cloud
ship in Oslo, Norway. At the ship's pool deck restaurant,
Plaintiff ordered an appetizer of guacamole. Plaintiff
alleges that she told the waiter that she was vegetarian and
severely allergic to shellfish. However, unbeknownst to
Plaintiff, there was shellfish in the guacamole and she fell
ill. An employee then escorted Plaintiff to the ship's
infirmary and the ship's personnel gave Plaintiff
medication. The next day, on July 8, 2017, Plaintiff
disembarked the ship and participated in a shore excursion.
returning from the shore excursion, Plaintiff visited the
ship's infirmary again where a door was shut in her
proximity - causing hearing loss, headaches, and fertility
complications. Therefore, Plaintiff filed a one-count
complaint, alleging that Defendant was negligent in
“(a) [f]ail[ing] to properly prepare and serve their
food in such a way as to be safe and not to cause illness to
persons eating said food; and/or (b) [f]ail[ing] to warn of
the dangers presented by eating said unsafe food; and/or (c)
[f]ail[ing] to properly supervise and train its agents,
servants and/or employees in preparing food; and/or (d)
[n]egligently and careless slamm[ing] a door shut in close
proximity to Plaintiff's head; and/or (e) [a]cts and/or
omissions not yet discovered.” [D.E. 1 at ¶9
10, 2019, the Court entered a Report and Recommendation (the
“R&R”) that summary judgment be entered in
favor of Defendant because Plaintiff failed to submit any
sworn evidence in the record of a medical expert. The Court
also determined that, even if Plaintiff's unsworn experts
were considered, Plaintiff could not establish the element of
causation because none of Plaintiff's experts opined that
Defendant's negligence caused Plaintiff's medical
injures. The Court adopted the R&R on May 10, 2019 [D.E.
79] and entered final judgment on May 17, 2019. [D.E. 80].
Accordingly, Defendant seeks costs under 28 U.S.C. §
1920 as the prevailing party.
APPLICABLE PRINCIPLES AND LAW
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 strong presumption exists in favor
of awarding costs. Id. 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.
the filing of a timely motion or bill of costs, which sets
forth in detail the amounts requested, the opposing party has
the burden of showing that the requested costs fall outside
the scope of this statute or are otherwise unreasonable.
See, e.g., Eugene v. 3Don & Partner Estate Group,
LLC, 2009 WL 996016, at *14 (S.D. Fla. Apr. 14, 2009)
(finding that the burden lies with the challenging party to
show that depositions were not related to an issue in the
case at the time they were taken, and thereby show they were
not wholly or partially “necessarily obtained for use
in the case.”).
seeks $5, 087.96 in deposition costs and $195.40 in copying
costs. Plaintiff does not challenge Defendant's
entitlement to costs as Defendant is the prevailing party in
this case when the Court entered final judgment in
Defendant's favor on May 17, 2019. [D.E. 80]. It is
equally clear that the Court has subject matter jurisdiction
over this case based on the underlying record and that
Defendant conferred under the Local Rules prior to filing its
motion. As such, we need only consider whether
Defendant's costs are recoverable under 28 U.S.C. §
Deposition Transcript Costs
Defendant seeks $5, 087.96 in costs for the deposition of Ms.
Maag, Begonia de Usabel, Dr. Jeffrey Wood, Frank Sansone
(“Mr. Sansone”), and Hugo Vanosmael. Defendant
claims that these costs were incurred to resolve factual
issues raised in Plaintiff's complaint and were
necessarily obtained for use at trial. Plaintiff contends, on
the other hand, that some of the costs fall outside the scope
of U.S.C. § 1920 and that Defendant should not recover
any amounts related to delivery, handling, bundling,
indexing, or the acquiring of a signature. Plaintiff also
argues that the cost of Mr. Sansone's deposition should
be disallowed entirely because it was not a transcript
necessarily obtained for use in this case nor was it used in
support of Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Therefore, Plaintiff concludes that Defendant is not entitled
to any costs for Mr. Sansone's deposition nor any other
extraneous deposition charges.
begin with whether Defendant should recover costs related to
the delivery, handling, bundling, indexing, and the acquiring
of a signature. We agree with Plaintiff - and most courts in
our district - that these miscellaneous costs are not taxable
because they are for the convenience of counsel and not
necessarily obtained for use in a case. See Oreilly v.
Art of Freedom Inc., 2018 WL 6616445, at *7 (S.D. Fla.
Dec. 14, 2018), Report and Recommendation adopted, 2019 WL
1115879 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 8, 2019) (“Miscellaneous costs
associated with deposition transcripts, such as shipping and
handling, expedited delivery of transcripts, exhibit costs,
or condensed transcripts, are not taxable because they are
incurred for convenience of counsel, as opposed to being
necessarily obtained for use in the case.”) (citing
Watson v. Lake Cty.,492 Fed.Appx. 991, 997 (11th
Cir. 2012) (finding that “§ 1920 does not
authorize recovery of costs for shipment of
depositions”); Garden-Aire Vill. S. Condo.
Ass'n, Inc. v. QBE Ins. Corp., 2013 WL 12086655, at
*2 (S.D. Fla. June 13, 2013)). “While Plaintiff may
recover the costs for transcripts and court reporter
attendance fees, ” any other miscellaneous charges do
not fall within the scope of U.S.C. § 1920. Id ...