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Passmore v. 21St Century Oncology, LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division

August 26, 2019

SALLY J. PASSMORE and PAULA J. THYFAULT, Plaintiffs,
v.
21ST CENTURY ONCOLOGY, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          MARCIA MORALES HOWARD UNITED SLATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court on the Proposed Bill of Costs (Doc. 68; Bill of Costs) filed by Defendant 21st Century Oncology, LLC on June 12, 2019. Although Plaintiffs have not objected to the Bill of Costs, the Court is of the view that Defendant seeks to tax costs beyond those permitted under the applicable statute as well as costs for which it has failed to establish its entitlement.

         Rule 54(d)(1), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Rule(s)) provides in pertinent part that costs other than attorney's fees “should be allowed to the prevailing party.” See Rule 54(d)(1). This provision “establishes a presumption that costs are to be awarded to a prevailing party, but vests the district court with discretion to decide otherwise.” Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d 1012, 1038 (11th Cir. 2000) (en banc) (citations omitted). However, Rule 54 does not allow a court “to reimburse a winning litigant for every expense” incurred in the case. Farmer v. Arabian Am. Oil Co., 379 U.S. 227, 234 (1964). Rather, “a court may only tax costs as authorized by statute.” EEOC v. W & O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 620 (11th Cir. 2000). As such, absent explicit statutory authorization, a court's authority to tax costs is limited to those costs “enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920.” Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 445 (1987).

         Pursuant to § 1920, only the following costs may be taxed:

(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 28 U.S.C. § 1923; and
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under 28 U.S.C. § 1828.

28 U.S.C. § 1920. Notably, the party seeking to tax costs bears the burden of establishing its entitlement to the award of those costs. See Lee v. American Eagle Airlines, Inc., 93 F.Supp.2d 1322, 1335 (S.D. Fla. 2000). This includes providing sufficient information for the court to determine whether a particular cost was “necessarily obtained for use in the case.” Travelers Indemnity Company of Connecticut v. Attorney's Title Ins. Fund, No. 2:13-cv-670-FtM-38CM, 2019 WL 359862, at *3 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 14, 2019) (Report & Recommendation adopted by 2019 WL 354881) (M.D. Fla. Jan. 29, 2019).

         Here, upon review of the Bill of Costs, the Court determines that Defendant has failed to establish its entitlement to an award of certain costs as discussed below:

1. Expert witness fees in excess of the $40.00 statutory witness fee set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1821 are not taxable. See Kivi v. Nationwide Mutual Ins. Co., 695 F.2d 1285, 1289 (11th Cir. 1983) (“[I]t is well settled that expert witness fees cannot be assessed in excess of witness fees provided in § 1821.”) (quoting Morrison v. Reichhold Chemicals, Inc., 97 F.3d 460, 463 (11th Cir. 1996)). Thus, the Court will reduce the witness fees sought by Defendant by $1, 973.75. See Bill of Costs at 22.
2. The cost of renting a conference room for a deposition is not taxable. See Computer Program and Systems, Inc. v. Wazu Holdings, Ltd., Civil Action 15-00405-KD-N, 2019 WL 1119352, at *10 (S.D. Ala. March 11, 2019) (collecting cases); Groves v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., No. 09-20800-CIV, 2011 WL 817930, at *2 (S.D. Fla. March 2, 2011). Thus, the Court will reduce the amount sought for “printed or electronically recorded ...

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