United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
C. BUCKLEW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
cause is before the Court on Plaintiffs' Motion to Tax
Costs. (Doc. No. 113). Defendant opposes the motion. (Doc.
No. 115). As explained below, the motion is granted in part.
Fancy Farms produces hand-harvested strawberries for
commercial sale. To obtain a steady workforce for its
strawberry operations, beginning with the 2013-14 strawberry
season, Fancy Farms sought to employ workers through the H-2A
temporary agricultural guestworker program. To assist it in
obtaining workers through the H-2A program, Fancy Farms hired
Nestor Molina, a principal of All Nations Staffing, and his
business partner, Patrick Burns, as employees on June 20,
time did Fancy Farms authorize Molina or Burns to request
recruitment fees from prospective H-2A workers, or to accept
recruitment payments from prospective workers. Fancy Farms
did not, however, contractually forbid Molina,
Burns, or their agents from seeking or receiving recruitment
fees from prospective workers, despite federal regulations
requiring it to do so. Plaintiffs (54 foreign laborers who
are citizens of Honduras) paid recruitment fees in amounts
between $3, 000 and $4, 000 to various agents of Molina as a
condition of hire with Fancy Farms.
asserted two claims against Fancy Farms: (1) violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), and (2) breach
of contract. This Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Fancy Farms on Plaintiffs' FLSA claim and granted partial
summary judgment in favor of Fancy Farms on Plaintiffs'
breach of contract claim. (Doc. No. 74). Thereafter, the
parties filed a stipulation, in which they agreed that the
Court's summary judgment order resulted in barring 28 of
the 54 plaintiffs' breach of contract claims. (Doc. No.
83). Additionally, the parties agreed in the stipulation that
the Court could resolve the remaining 26 plaintiffs'
breach of contract claims based on the evidentiary record
before it. (Doc. No. 83). As a result, the Court found in
favor of Fancy Farms on all Plaintiffs' breach of
contract claims. (Doc. No. 95).
Fancy Farms moved for an award of costs as the prevailing
party. (Doc. No. 97). The Court awarded costs to Fancy Farms
in the amount of $2, 690.61, which included $824.90 for Carl
Grooms' (Fancy Farms' president) deposition. (Doc.
No. 98, 99, 104).
Plaintiffs appealed this Court's rulings, and the
Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part this
Court's judgment. (Doc. No. 106). Specifically, the
Eleventh Circuit affirmed the Court's judgment in favor
of Fancy Farms on the FLSA claim. (Doc. No. 106). The
Eleventh Circuit also affirmed this Court's judgment in
favor of Fancy Farms as to 43 of the 54 plaintiffs'
breach of contract claim. (Doc. No. 106). However, the
Eleventh Circuit vacated part of this Court's judgment to
the extent that this Court found that the 11 Remaining
Plaintiffs did not show that their recruitment payments were
proximately caused by Fancy Farms' breach. (Doc. No.
106). The Eleventh Circuit then remanded the case for further
proceedings as to the 11 Remaining Plaintiffs' breach of
contract claim. (Doc. No. 106).
remand, this Court concluded that causation existed and
directed that judgment be entered in favor of the 11
Remaining Plaintiffs on their breach of contract claim. (Doc.
No. 109). Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the instant motion to
tax costs in their favor.
Motion to Tax Costs
Plaintiffs move this Court for an award of $14, 513.15 in
costs. In reviewing Plaintiffs' motion for costs, the
Court is mindful of the following:
A prevailing party may recover costs as a matter of course
unless otherwise directed by the Court or applicable statute.
Congress has delineated which costs are recoverable under
Rule 54(d), Fed.R.Civ.P. The Court has the discretion to
award those costs specifically enumerated in 28 U.S.C. §
1920. The Court, however, may not tax as costs any items not
authorized by statute. When challenging whether costs are