United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
S. ROMAN, United States District Judge
March 17, 2017, this Couit granted summary judgment in favor
of Defendants on Plaintiffs remaining claims of false arrest
and malicious prosecution. (ECF No. 160.) On March 28, 2017,
Defendants sought the payment of costs associated with
deposition transcripts, totaling $2, 596.12, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d). (ECF No. 162, Ex. 1.) On April 10, 2017,
Plaintiff filed a motion for disallowance arguing primarily
that, in the Court's discretion, the costs should be
denied due to the "likelihood" that the costs had
already been covered by the Town's insurance carrier and
due to Plaintiffs in forma pauperis status. (ECF No.
164, ¶¶ 3, 5.) The Court directed Defendants to
respond with ten business days and Plaintiff to reply to such
response within seven business days thereafter. (See
ECF No. 165.) Defendants submitted an opposition (ECF Nos.
168, 169), but Plaintiff did not submit a reply.
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) states "[u]nless a
federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides
otherwise, costs-other than attorney's fees-should be
allowed to the prevailing party." "[Tlhe Supreme
Court has held that the term 'costs' includes only
the specific items enumerated in 28 U.S.C. § 1920."
Whitfield v. Scully, 241 F.3d 264, 269 (2d Cir.
2001). Pursuant to § 1920, "[a] judge or clerk of
any court of the United States may tax as costs, .. [f]ees
for printed or electronically recorded transcripts
necessarily obtained for use in the case[.]" 28
U.S.C. § 1920(2) (emphasis added). More specifically,
under this District's Local Rules, "[u]nless
otherwise ordered by the Court, the original transcript of a
deposition, plus one copy, is taxable if the deposition was
used or received in evidence at trial. .. [or] if they were
used by the Court in ruling on a motion for summary judgment
or other dispositive substantive motion." Citigroup
Glob. Markets, Inc. v. Abbar, 63 F.Supp.3d 360, 361-62
(S.D.N.Y. 2014) (transcription costs allowed but not costs
for deposition videos).
costs pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1), 28 U.S.C. § 1920, and
Local Rule 54.1 in favor of the prevailing party is the rule,
not the exception, in civil litigation." Balance
Point Divorce Funding, LLC v. Scrantom, 305 F.R.D. 67,
70-71 (S.D.N.Y. 2015) (citing Whitfield, 241 F.3d at
270). Therefore, it is well within the Court's discretion
"to grant costs for any or all of the transcripts"
claimed by the prevailing party. See Balance Point,
305 F.R.D. at 77 (declining to tax deposition costs where
"none of the deposition transcripts at issue were used
on any actual motion or response to a motion"); see
also Dattner v. Conagra Foods, Inc., 458 F.3d 98, 100
(2d Cir. 2006) ("[t]he decision to award costs pursuant
to Rule 54(d)(1) and Local Rule 54.1 rests within the sound
discretion of the district court").
[T]he losing party has the burden to show that costs should
not be imposed' and, ' [i]n light of the general
rule, when a prevailing parly is denied costs, a district
court must articulate its reasons for doing so."'
Balance Point, 305 F.R.D. at 70-71 (citing
Whitfield, 241 F.3d at 270), "Among the
equitable factors a court may consider in exercising
discretion are the plaintiffs indigence and financial
hardship." Burchette v. Abercrombie & Fitch
Stores, Inc., Ho. 08 Civ. 8786 (RMB) (THK), 2010 WL
3720834, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 22, 2010). But "in
forma pauperis status does not automatically excuse [a
plaintiff] from paying costs." Cucuta v. N.Y.
City, 25 F.Supp.3d 400, 420 (S.D.N.Y. 2014).
considering the arguments set forth by the parties, costs
will be allowed. Plaintiffs case was not frivolous, but he
ultimately did not prevail. Although the Court did not need
to rely on much more than the videotape of the events at
issue to understand how the events unfolded, the deposition
transcripts were submitted in conjunction with the
Defendants' successful motion for summary judgment.
Defendants also make a strong showing that Plaintiff is not
truly indigent or necessarily deserving of in forma
pauperis status. As such the balance of the equities
leads the Court to the conclusion that the costs are
appropriately taxed against Plaintiff. Nevertheless, in
exercising the Court's equitable power, the costs
requested will be reduced by half. Cf DiBella v.
Hopkins,407 F.Supp.2d 537, 541 (S.D.N.Y. 2005) (costs
for deposition used at trial allowed where witness
"played a role generally in the events that led to the