Rickard v. Swedish Match North America Inc et al
ORDER declining 67 Motion for Costs; denying as moot 73 Motion for Order Staying Bill of Costs. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 5/9/2014. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Case No. 3:12-cv-00057 KGB
SWEDISH MATCH NORTH AMERICA, INC.
Before the Court is defendant Swedish Match North America, Inc.’s (“SMNA”) verified
bill of costs (Dkt. No. 67) and plaintiff Donald Rickard’s motion for order staying verified bill of
costs (Dkt. No. 73). SMNA seeks costs in the amount of $2,156.72. The Court declines to
award costs to SMNA. Given the nature of this Order, the Court denies as moot Mr. Rickard’s
motion for order staying verified bill of costs.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that “[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.” Under Rule 54(d)(1), “[a] prevailing party is presumptively entitled to
recover all of its costs.” 168th & Dodge, LP v. Rave Reviews Cinemas, LLC, 501 F.3d 945, 958
(8th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). “Despite this presumption, however, the district court has
substantial discretion in awarding costs to a prevailing party.” Greaser v. Mo. Dep’t of Corrs.,
145 F.3d 979, 985 (8th Cir. 1998). For example, “[i]t is of course within a court’s discretion to
deny costs because a plaintiff is poor or for other good reason . . . .” Poe v. John Deere Co., 695
F.2d 1103, 1108 (8th Cir. 1982); see Boas Box Co. v. Proper Folding Box Corp., 55 F.R.D. 79,
81 (E.D.N.Y. 1971) (“[W]here the antagonists are very unevenly matched in size, resources, and
stability, it would be unfortunate to use the possible taxation of costs as a sword of Damocles . . .
.”). “The losing party bears the burden of making the showing that an award is inequitable under
the circumstances.” Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494, 498 (8th Cir. 2002)
(citation omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted).
In his objection to SMNA’s verified bill of costs, Mr. Rickard states that he “is of modest
means” and “brought this lawsuit in good faith, and honestly believed he was a victim of
discrimination” (Dkt. No. 72, at 2).
Based on Mr. Rickard’s objection and under the
circumstances, the Court concludes that awarding costs to SMNA would be inequitable and
punitive and could have a chilling effect on persons who might seek to enforce their rights under
antidiscrimination laws. See Roeben v. BG Excelsior Ltd. P’ship, No. 4:06-cv-01643 JLH, 2008
WL 340486, at *1 (E.D. Ark. Feb. 5, 2008) (declining to award costs in any amount after stating
that “[a]n award of costs at or near the amount sought by [defendant] would be punitive.
Awarding such costs would have a chilling effect on persons who might seek to enforce their
rights . . . .”). For these reasons, the Court declines to award costs to SMNA.
SO ORDERED this 9th day of May, 2014.
Kristine G. Baker
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?