United States District Court, W.D. New York
DECISION AND ORDER
FRANK P. GERACI, Jr., Chief District Judge.
After a trial in which the jury found no cause of action against Correctional Officers Paul Jayne, Ronald Kennell, Peter Mastrantonio, Brian Evans and Sergeant Toby Barber, the Defendant's counsel submitted a Bill of Costs seeking to have certain costs taxed against the Plaintiff. For the following reasons, I find that (1) mileage expenses requested by Defendants' counsel are not permissible, and are therefore disallowed, and (2) the costs for the production of transcripts are proper, and are therefore taxable.
The default rule in this circuit regarding the award of costs is that "[a]s a general matter, costs - other than attorney's fees - should be allowed to the prevailing party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). The Rule codifies a venerable presumption that prevailing parties are entitled to costs." Carter v. Incorporated Village of Ocean Beach, 759 F.3d 159, 163 (2d Cir. 2014), quoting Marx v. Gen. Revenue Corp., ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 1166, 1172 (2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). Further, "the decision to award costs under Rule 54(d)(1) is committed to the sound discretion of the district court." Carter, 759 F.3d at 164 (internal quotation and citation omitted). However, the ability to tax costs is not unlimited, and district courts are limited in awarding costs to those specifically authorized by statute. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 438 (1987). Where a bill of costs is challenged, the reviewing district court exercises discretion and "decide[s] the cost question [it]self." Whitfield v. Scully, 241 F.3d 264, 269 (2d Cir. 2001) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
The primary statute governing the award of costs, 28 U.S.C. § 1920, provides that:
A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as costs the following:
(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees of the court reporter for all or any part of the stenographic transcript necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(3) Fees and disbursement for printing and witnesses;
(4) Fees for exemplification and copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.
It is undisputed that the Defendants are the prevailing party in this action. However, the Plaintiff argues that the costs requested by the Defendants are not appropriately taxed against him.
The Bill of Costs submitted by the Defendants on March 9, 2015 sought to have taxed (1) the sum of $586.53 that was paid to Depaolo-Crosby Reporting Services, Inc., who produced the transcript of the Plaintiff's deposition on July 2, 2013, and (2) the sum of $523.19 in mileage expenses related to Plaintiff's witnesses Alvin Barnhill, Lee Griffen, and Dawan Brent-Pridgen. ECF No. 50. The Plaintiff filed his Objection to these costs on April 13, 2015, in which he argued that the mileage expenses were inappropriate, since as prisoners, those witnesses cannot claim the expenses themselves. ECF No. ...