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Williams v. Arctic Cat, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. New York

August 20, 2014

BARBARA WILLIAMS and CRAIG WILLIAMS, Her husband, Plaintiffs,
v.
ARCTIC CAT, INC., ARCTIC CAT, ARCTIC CAT PRODUCTION, LLC, ARCTIC CAT PRODUCTION SUPPORT, LLC, ARCTIC CAT SALES, INC., ARCTIC CAT SHARES SERVICES, LLC, GANDER MOUNTAIN COMPANY, and GANDER DIRECT MARKETING SERVICES, LLC, Defendants.

DECISION AND ORDER

THOMAS J. McAVOY, Senior District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion for Modification of Defendant Gander Mountain's Bill of Cost and Plaintiffs' Motion for Modification of Defendant Arctic Cat's Bill of Costs. See Dkt. #s 330, 331. Defendants have responded to the motions and Plaintiffs have submitted a reply brief.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Barbara and Craig Williams commenced the instant personal injury action against Defendants arising out of Barbara Williams' operation of an Arctic Cat Prowler XT 650 H1 manufactured by Defendant Arctic Cat and sold by Defendant Gander Mountain. Plaintiffs asserted claims for strict products liability, negligence, and breach of warranty. In a Decision and Order issued on September 12, 2012, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs' design defect and breach of warranty claims. See Dkt. # 150. The Court found the breach-ofwarranty claims against Defendant Arctic Cat time barred. Id . On September 19, 2012, the Court clarified that earlier ruling by confirming that breach-of-warranty claims against Defendant Gander Mountain were dismissed. See Dkt. # 153. The Court dismissed these claims on the grounds that the evidence could not support a finding that the vehicle in question was not minimally safe, or that Plaintiff's injuries were caused by the failure to warn. Id.

Defendants filed timely motions for reconsideration, and in responding to those motions Plaintiffs also sought reconsideration of the Court's decisions. See Dkt. #s 156, 157, 162. On December 6, 2012, the Court issued a Decision and Order that addressed these motions. The Court again denied Defendants' motions for summary judgment in part. See Dkt. # 181. The Court also denied Plaintiffs' motion for reconsideration on their breach-of-warranty claim. Id . No party filed a motion for reconsideration of that Order.

The Court set a trial date, which was continued several times at the parties' request. Eventually, the parties submitted pre-trial filings and motions in limine. After the Court addressed those motions, the trial occurred on Plaintiffs' one remaining cause of action, for failure to warn of the danger of driving the Prowler on a paved surface. At the end of an eight-day trial, the jury returned a verdict of no cause of action in favor of the Defendants. See Dkt. # 309. Defendants filed bills of costs. See Dkt. #s. 315, 319. The Court thereafter taxed those costs. See Dkt. #s 327, 328. Plaintiff then filed the instant motions, which allege that the costs taxed are excessive and should be reduced or eliminated.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Plaintiffs challenge the Clerk's assessment of costs, arguing that Defendants seek to recover costs not available under federal law and that equitable considerations should cause the Court to deny or limit the costs recovered. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) permits the Clerk of Court to tax costs for the prevailing party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). The Court may "review" the Clerk's action upon the motion of the taxed party. Id . Federal law permits taxation of costs in the following areas:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily ordained 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 ...

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