United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
RONALD W. BROWDY, Plaintiff,
SYNOVOS, INC., Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
HONORABLE CHRISTOPHER P. TUTTE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
cause is before me on referral for consideration of Synovos,
Inc.'s (Synovos's) Verified Motion of Defendant
to Tax Costs. (Doc. 41). Plaintiff Ronald Browdy opposes
the motion. (Doc. 43). For the reasons discussed below, I
respectfully recommend that Synovos's motion for costs be
granted in part and denied in part.
background of this employment discrimination case is set
forth in a recent decision of the Court (Doc. 39) and
therefore need only be summarized here. Synovos provides
inventory control solutions to its customers and hired
Browdy, a black male, in 2012 to serve on its Implementation
Team. Id. at 1; (Doc. 11 at 2). Roughly eighteen
months later, Browdy was promoted to Implementation Team
manager and placed in charge of four employees. Id.
2015 or early 2016, as part of a restructuring, Synovos
eliminated the Implementation Team and created a Rapid Launch
Team (RLT). Id. at 2. As a consequence, all members
of the Implementation Team, including Browdy, were made part
of the RLT and converted to the position of RLT member.
Id. Browdy was the only RLT member who was a manager
prior to the restructuring. Id. Because this
conversion stripped him of his supervisory responsibilities,
he viewed it as a demotion. Id. at 2-3.
2016, Synovos posted two openings for the position of RLT
manager and hired an outside consultant, Danielle White, to
compile a short list of candidates. Id. at 3.
Although Browdy applied, White did not consider him qualified
for the job and therefore did not include him on her short
list. Id. Browdy was notified in June
2017 that he had not been selected for the RLT manager
next month, Browdy filed a claim with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging he was denied a
promotion to RLT manager and “subsequently
demoted” because of his race. Id. at 4. The
EEOC issued a “Notice of Right to Sue” three
months later. (Doc. 11 at 2).
thereafter initiated the instant action (Doc. 1), asserting
in his operative complaint that he was demoted to RLT member
and later denied a promotion to RLT manager because of his
race, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.
(Title VII) (Doc. 11).
March 2019, following the completion of discovery, Synovos
moved for summary judgment with respect to both Browdy's
demotion and failure-to-promote claims. (Doc. 29). In support
of that motion, Synovos argued that Brody had failed to: (1)
exhaust his administrative remedies regarding his demotion
claim; and (2) establish a prima facie case of race
discrimination as to his failure-to-promote claim.
Id. The Court granted Synovos summary judgment on
both claims in June 2019 and entered judgment in its favor.
(Doc. 39). The instant motion for costs followed. (Doc. 41).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a
prevailing party may recover its costs, not inclusive of
attorneys' fees. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). “Usually
the litigant in whose favor judgment is rendered is the
prevailing party for purposes of [R]ule 54(d).”
Haughton v. SunTrust Bank, Inc., 403 Fed.Appx. 458,
459 (11th Cir. 2010) (quoting Head v. Medford, 62
F.3d 351, 354 (11th Cir. 1995)).
a district court may not award costs to a prevailing party
under Rule 54 “in excess of those permitted by Congress
under 28 U.S.C. § 1920.” Maris Distrib. Co. v.
Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 302 F.3d 1207, 1225 (11th Cir.
2002) (citing Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons,
Inc., 482 U.S. 437 (1987)). Section 1920 authorizes the
recovery of the following costs: (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 for court appointed experts and interpreter
services. 28 U.S.C. § 1920(1)-(6).
appeal, “a district court's decision about whether
to award costs to the prevailing party [is reviewed] for [an]
abuse of discretion.” Mathews v. Crosby, 480
F.3d 1265, 1276 (11th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted).
Synovos submits that it is the prevailing party and moves for
costs totaling $2, 062.35. Those costs consist of: (a) $1,
626.95 for “costs incident” to Browdy's
deposition; (b) $35.40 for the costs of making copies; and
(c) $400 for mediation. (Docs. 41, 42). In support of its
motion for costs, Synovos submits various invoices and
documentation, as well ...