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Sacco v. Daimler Chrysler Corp.

July 22, 2008

MATTHEW SACCO AND PATRICIA SACCO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAIMLER CHRYSLER CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas J. McAVOY Senior United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

I. FACTS

On Nov. 16, 2005, Plaintiffs Matthew and Patricia Sacco commenced an action against Defendant DaimlerChrysler Corporation arising out of a motor-vehicle accident on July 26, 2004. On February 4, 2008, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Defendant. On March 6, 2008, Defendant filed a bill of costs with the court. On March 26, 2008, the Court Clerk taxed the costs in the amount of $61,374.48. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to strike Defendant's bill of costs.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1), only "costs other than attorney's fees should be allowed . . . to the prevailing party unless the court directs otherwise." A court may tax as costs: clerk fees, transcript fees for use in the case, fees for printing, and witnesses and copying fees for use in the case. 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The prevailing party may also recover $20.00 in docket fees. 28 U.S.C. §1923. "Fees" generally refer to money paid to the Court and "costs" refer to expenses incurred in litigation. U.S. v. Idaho ex rel. Director, Idaho Dept. of Water Resources, 508 U.S. 1, 8 (1993).

III. DISCUSSION

a. Service of Summons and Subpoena Fees

Defendant claims $2,055.80 for fees for service of trial subpoenas. See Bill of Costs, Table A-2. Defendant further claims $1,040 for fees incurred to subpoena records for trial. See Bill of Costs, Table A-3.

The plain language of Section 1920 does not authorize the shifting of private process fees. See 28 U.S.C. § 1920. However, the Second Circuit has adopted the view that such costs can "'be taxable only to the extent that they do not exceed the costs that would have been incurred had the Marshal's office effected service.'" U.S. for Use and Benefit of Evergreen Pipeline Const. Co., Inc. v. Merritt, 95 F.3d 153, 172 (2d Cir. 1996) (quoting Griffith v. Mt. Carmel Medical Center, 157 F.R.D. 499, 507 (D. Kan. 1994)).

The Court determines here that $1,000 is a reasonable fee for service of the trial subpoenas, and therefore the Court will tax this amount.

Defendant has not demonstrated that the subpoenaed records were necessarily obtained for use in the case. Therefore, the Court will not allow recovery for these costs.

b. Transcript Fees for Use in the Case

Defendant seeks $10,840.42 for court reporter charges and transcript fees of motions, trial, and depositions. See Bill of Costs, Table B and C. The Court disallows these costs. While the Court may tax as costs the court reporter's fees for these transcripts, such reimbursement is limited to transcripts "necessarily obtained for use in the case[.]" 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2). "To assess the losing party with the premium costs of daily transcripts, necessity -- beyond the mere convenience of counsel -- must be shown." Galella v. Onassis, 487 F.2d 986, 999 (2d Cir 1973). Defendant ...


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