Lochridge et al v. Lindsey Management Company, Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER; IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Lindsey Management Co. lnc.'s first Bill of Costs Doc. 359 is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows: deposition costs in the amount of $12, 120.35 and copying costs in t he amount of $425.57 are GRANTED, and all other requests for costs are DENIED.IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Lindsey's second Bill of Costs Doc. 375 is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows: appellate costs for filing fees and copy ing in the amount of $812.85 are GRANTED, and all other requests for costs are DENIED. The grand total award of costs that Plaintiffs owe to Lindsey in this matter is therefore $13,358.77. Signed by Honorable Timothy L. Brooks on November 15, 2016. (rg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CHAD LOCHRIDGE; EVERETTE LOCHRIDGE;
TWYLA LOCHRIDGE; PATRICIA LEACH;
CARLIS SMITH; LYDIA SMITH; and
CASE NO. 5:12-CV-5047
LINDSEY MANAGEMENT CO., INC.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Currently before the Court are two separate Bills of Costs (Docs. 359 and 375). The
first Bill of Costs (Doc. 359) was filed in this Court1 by Defendant Lindsey Management
Co., Inc. (“Lindsey”) after it prevailed in a jury trial of Plaintiffs’ individual claims, made
pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). In this Bill of Costs, Lindsey requested
$22,687.51, of which $21,087.25 was attributable to costs for deposition transcripts, and
$1,600.26 was for costs of photocopies, scanning, and the production of demonstrative
boards used during the trial. Judge Hendren denied this first Bill of Costs, and Lindsey
appealed that denial to the Eighth Circuit. The Court of Appeals reviewed the matter and
found error in denying costs based solely on the district court’s assumption that the FLSA
did not contemplate an employer recovering costs if it prevailed at trial. The issue of costs
was therefore remanded “for consideration of whether costs should be awarded under Rule
54(d)(1).” See Doc. 373-2, p. 5.
The case was referred to the undersigned after remand, and Lindsey filed a second
The Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren presiding.
Bill of Costs (Doc. 375), now requesting reimbursement of the costs it incurred on appeal.
The second Bill of Costs requested $4,323.20. Part of this request, $812.85 for filing fees
and copying costs, was already approved by the Eighth Circuit. See Doc. 374. The rest
of the request, $3,510.35 for the cost of the trial transcript that Lindsey submitted along
with its appeal brief, is a matter left to the discretion of this Court.
As will be explained in further detail below, Lindsey’s first and second Bills of Costs
(Docs. 359 and 375) are each GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
This case was filed on March 15, 2012, asserting FLSA claims individually and on
behalf of a class of Lindsey employees. The individual plaintiffs listed in the original
complaint were Chad Lochridge, Everette Lochridge, Twyla Lochridge, and Heather
Lochridge. (Doc. 1). An Amended and Substituted Complaint was filed on March 28, 2012
(Doc. 4), adding one more individual plaintiff, Lindsey employee Kevin Kornegay. A
Second Amended and Substituted Complaint was filed on June 28, 2012 (Doc. 16), and
still more individual plaintiffs were added to the lawsuit: Linda Danforth, Ray Danforth,
Patricia Leach, Debra McKee, Brian McKee,2 Patsy Pickel, Steven Pickel, Carlis Smith,
Lydia Smith, and Rebecca Smith. On August 16, 2012, a Third Amended and Substituted
Complaint was filed (Doc. 36), which removed plaintiff Ray Danforth and added new
plaintiffs Judy Kathryn Hale, Sherry Jenkins, Pearson Jenkins, and Ryan Agee.
On February 4, 2013, the Court conditionally certified two collective-action classes.
See Doc. 61. However, on December 10, 2013, the Court decertified one of the classes
Brian McKee passed away during the course of the litigation, and his wife Debra McKee,
who was already a named plaintiff, was later substituted in his place. See Doc. 312.
on Lindsey’s motion. See Doc. 313. This left for trial the claims of one class of hourly
workers, plus the individual claims of the 18 named plaintiffs. Approximately a month
before the scheduled trial, a settlement was reached between: (1) Lindsey and the class,
and (2) Lindsey and 11 of the 18 plaintiffs. The Court approved this settlement on April 7,
2014. (Doc. 325). This left for trial only the individual claims of the remaining seven
plaintiffs: Chad Lochridge, Everette Lochridge, Twyla Lochridge, Patricia Leach, Carlis
Smith, Lydia Smith, and Rebecca Smith.
On September 26, 2014, following a five-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor
of Lindsey. Fourteen days later, on October 10, 2014, Lindsey filed its first Bill of Costs
(Doc. 359) relating to trial expenses. This Bill of Costs requested reimbursement of a
grand total of $22,687.51, which included the following: (1) the costs of deposing seven
former plaintiffs who settled before trial and never testified at trial;3 (2) the costs of
deposing one former plaintiff who settled before trial but also testified at trial;4 (3) the costs
of deposing all seven individual plaintiffs who went to trial;5 (4) the costs of deposing
testifying witnesses Betsy Fox ($129.25 and $138.00, for two depositions), Job Branch
These settling plaintiffs and their deposition costs are as follows: (1) $1,317.00 for the
deposition of Ryan Agee; (2) $1,136.50 for the deposition of (Judy) Kathryn Hale; (3)
$1,171.50 for the deposition of Pearson Jenkins; (4) $1,329.50 for the deposition of Sherry
Jenkins; (5) $801.90 for the deposition of Kevin Kornegay; (6) $1,780.50 for the deposition
of Heather Lochridge; and (7) $1,400.00 for the deposition of Patsy Pickel. (Doc. 359-1).
That former plaintiff was Linda Danforth, whose deposition cost $1,375.10. Id.
The deposition costs for the plaintiffs who went to trial are: (1) $1,030.00 for the
deposition of Chad Lochridge, (2) $1,173.00 for the deposition of Everette Lochridge, (3)
$1,615.50 for the deposition of Twyla Lochridge, (4) $1,559.00 for the deposition of Patricia
Leach, of which $30.00 was for “FedEx Overnight Processing and Delivery,” (5) $1,133.00
for the deposition of Carlis Smith, (6) $1,902.50 for the deposition of Lydia Smith, and (7)
$1,512.50 for the deposition of Rebecca Smith. Id.
($393.50), and Anne Martin ($189.00); (5) the costs of photocopies, scanning, tabs, the
creation of a CD, and a “project management” fee ($1,030.96 total); and (6) the costs
associated with the assembly of demonstrative boards used at trial ($1,263.55). See Docs.
Plaintiffs filed Objections (Doc. 360) to the first Bill of Costs, arguing that the Court
should exercise its discretion and deny Lindsey’s request in its entirety, since the trial
Plaintiffs’ claims were brought in good faith, and it would be manifestly unfair to burden
them with costs after they sued to vindicate their rights under a remedial statute. Further,
Plaintiffs argued that if the Court decided to tax some of the costs, others, such as the
costs of deposing those plaintiffs who settled before trial and never testified, should be
disallowed. Lindsey filed a Response (Doc. 361) to Plaintiffs’ Objections, in which Lindsey
argued that Plaintiffs had failed to present any evidence of special hardship, and thus had
failed to defeat the presumption that costs are recoverable to the prevailing party under
Rule 54(d). As for the deposition costs of the former plaintiffs who settled before trial,
Lindsey argued that it was entitled to these costs because the former plaintiffs worked with
all those who went to trial, and the former plaintiffs’ depositions therefore cannot be said
to have had “no relevance or relation to this case.” (Doc. 361, p. 5). Plaintiffs filed a Reply
(Doc. 362) to Lindsey’s Response, in which Plaintiffs reiterated that the deposition
testimony of the settling plaintiffs was not reasonably necessary for the purpose of proving
the claims of the seven who went to trial.
After considering the parties’ arguments, Judge Hendren issued an Order (Doc.
363) denying Lindsey’s first Bill of Costs in its entirety. He reasoned that the FLSA’s broad,
remedial purpose, coupled with the fact that the statute does not require prospective
plaintiffs to be notified that they may be responsible for the defendant’s costs if they lose,
tends to indicate that a successful defendant in an FLSA case should not recover its costs.
In ruling against Lindsey, the Court interpreted the FLSA’s silence on the m atter:
The FLSA authorizes the recovery of costs by successful plaintiffs, but does
not mention such recovery by successful defendants. A generous reading of
the fee shifting provision in favor of employees suggests that they should not
face taxation of costs if their suit is unsuccessful. The prospect that costs
might be taxed against an unsuccessful plaintiff would undoubtedly dampen
enthusiasm for seeking remedies under the law, thus undermining the
FLSA’s remedial purposes.
Id. at p. 4. The Court did not reach the question of whether costs would otherwise be
taxable under the traditional analysis of Rule 54(d)(1), which codifies a rebuttable
presumption that a prevailing party is entitled to be recompensed for its costs. See
Leonard v. Sw. Bell Corp. Disability Income Plan, 408 F.3d 528, 533 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing
Martin v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., 251 F.3d 691, 696 (8th Cir. 2001)).
As noted previously, Lindsey appealed the Court’s decision to deny costs, arguing
that the FLSA’s silence on the issue of whether a defendant may recover costs does not
preclude the Court from making that award under Rule 54(d). The Court of Appeals
agreed with Lindsey, and now this Court’s task is to assess whether, in the Court’s
discretion, costs should be awarded under Rule 54(d).
After the case was remanded, Lindsey filed a second Bill of Costs (Doc. 375),
seeking to recover $812.85 in copying and filing fees spent on the appeal, and $3,510.35
for the cost of the transcript of the five-day jury trial, which Lindsey submitted along with
its appellate briefing. The Eighth Circuit granted the $812.85 request for costs. With
respect to the $3,510.35 request directed to this Court for reimbursement of the trial
transcript, Plaintiffs filed an Objection (Doc. 376), arguing that the transcript was not
needed on appeal, as the sole issue for the Eighth Circuit was one of statutory
interpretation. Lindsey thereafter filed a Response (Doc. 378) to Plaintiffs’ Objections,
citing to the case of Murphy v. L&J Press Corp., 577 F.2d 27, 29 (8th Cir. 1978), and
maintaining that the cost of the transcript here was properly undertaken, just as it was in
the Murphy case. However, a close reading of Murphy shows that the parties there cited
extensively to the trial transcript in their appellate briefing, and they agreed that it was
necessary to prepare the trial transcript to submit to the Eighth Circuit on appeal. Id. The
Eighth Circuit in Murphy also concurred that “there is little doubt that a transcript was
advisable for the appeal.” Id. at 29. By contrast, Lindsey and the Plaintiffs disagree that
a copy of the trial transcript was necessary on appeal, and the Eighth Circuit did not cite
to the trial transcript at all in its opinion on costs. See Doc. 373-2.
II. LEGAL STANDARD.
According to Rule 54(d)(1), “[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.” The costs available under the Rule are itemized at 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and are
limited to: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for printed or electronically recorded
transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case; (3) fees and disbursements for printing
and witnesses; (4) fees for exemplification6 and the costs of making copies of any materials
where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case; (5) docket fees under 28
U.S.C. § 1923; and (6) compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of
“Exemplification” typically refers to demonstrative evidence, such as maps, charts,
models, and graphic aids. See Cefalu v. Vill. of Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 415, 427 (7th Cir.
interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services
under 28 U.S.C. § 1828.
Not all expenses of litigation are costs taxable against the losing party, and within
the costs eligible to be taxed, the district court has discretion in determining and awarding
costs in a given case. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42
(1987); Pershern v. Fiatallis N. Am., Inc., 834 F.2d 136, 140 (8th Cir. 1987). The losing
party bears the burden of proving that an award is inequitable under the circumstances.
Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494, 498 (8th Cir. 2002); see also 168th
and Dodge, LP v. Rave Reviews Cinemas, LLC, 501 F.3d 945, 958 (8th Cir. 2007) (finding
that a prevailing party is presumptively entitled to recover all of its costs, and the losing
party must suggest a rationale under which the district court's actions constitute an abuse
Certain costs incurred on appeal are taxable in the district court according to
Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39(e). These costs include: (1) the preparation and
transmission of the record; (2) the reporter's transcript, if needed to determine the appeal;
(3) premiums paid for a supersedeas bond or other bond to preserve rights pending
appeal; and (4) the fee for filing the notice of appeal. In the case at bar, Lindsey submitted
to the Court of Appeals a Motion for Bill of Costs in the amount of $812.85—which did not
include the cost of the trial transcript it now seeks to obtain from this Court. Plaintiffs filed
Objections in the Eighth Circuit to Lindsey’s $812.85 request, see Lochridge, et al. v.
Lindsey Management Co., Inc., Case No. 14-3799 (8th Cir. 2016), but the Court of Appeals
awarded these costs, nonetheless. See Doc. 374. The Court of Appeals was not asked
by Lindsey to consider whether the cost of the trial transcript that Lindsey submitted along
with its appeal should also be taxed.
In considering the boundaries of the Court’s discretion to tax costs, the burden rests
with the losing party—in this case, Plaintiffs—to show they are either incapable of paying
costs that are otherwise properly recoverable, or else that they would suffer undue
hardship if ordered to pay costs. Helpful guidance as to these issues is offered by Wright
& Miller, as follows:
In keeping with the discretionary character of the rule, the federal courts are
free to pursue a case-by-case approach and to make their decisions on the
basis of the circumstances and equities of each case. On the other hand, the
court is not likely to exercise its discretion to deny costs to the prevailing
party in the absence of a persuasive reason for doing so, particularly when
the losing party is capable of paying the costs. The burden is on the
unsuccessful party to show circumstances that are sufficient to overcome the
presumption in favor of the prevailing party.
Thus . . . the court may take into account the losing party's inability to pay
costs, but the party must provide sufficient evidence to establish that inability
or undue hardship to avoid paying costs, and other courts have ruled that a
disparity in wealth between the parties without undue hardship also is not a
sufficient ground to deny costs. If the court denies costs, it must state the
reasons for doing so to allow for review.
10 Charles Alan Wright, Arthur R. Miller, and Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice and
Procedure § 2668, at 235-240 (4th ed. 2014).
A. First Bill of Costs (Doc. 359) Relating to Trial Expenses
1. Deposition Transcripts
The Court has reviewed the parties’ briefing and the entire record of the case and
finds that, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920, the costs of the transcripts of the former plaintiffs
who settled with Lindsey well prior to trial and did not testify at trial cannot be considered
depositions that were “necessarily obtained” for use in the trial of the individual claims of
Plaintiffs Chad Lochridge, Everette Lochridge, Twyla Lochridge, Patricia Leach, Carlis
Smith, Lydia Smith, and Rebecca Smith. Therefore, the Court DENIES Lindsey’s first Bill
of Costs as to the deposition costs for Ryan Agee ($1,317.00), (Judy) Kathryn Hale
($1,136.50), Pearson Jenkins ($1,171.50), Sherry Jenkins ($1,329.50), Kevin Kornegay
($801.90), Heather Lochridge ($1,780.50), and Patsy Pickel ($1,400.00).
The deposition costs of the Plaintiffs who went to trial, as well as the depositions of
trial witnesses Linda Danforth, Betsy Fox, Job Branch, and Anne Martin, will be reimbursed
to Lindsey. Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden of showing with even a modicum of
evidence that they would suffer undue hardship if they were required to pay these costs.
They point only to Lindsey’s status as a “multi-million dollar corporation with operations in
several states,” (Doc. 376, p. 3), and claim generally that paying costs “would impose a
substantial hardship on Plaintiffs,” (Doc. 360, p. 2). This is insufficient to overcome the
presumption that Lindsey, as the party that prevailed at trial, should not recoup the costs
they legitimately incurred. Accordingly, Lindsey’s request for costs is GRANTED as to the
deposition costs for Linda Danforth ($1,375.10), Chad Lochridge ($1,030.00), Everette
Lochridge ($1,173.00), Twyla Lochridge ($1,615.50), Patricia Leach ($1,529.007), Carlis
Smith ($1,133.00), Lydia Smith ($1,902.50), Rebecca Smith ($1,512.50), Betsy Fox
($129.25 plus $138.00, for two depositions), Job Branch ($393.50), and Anne Martin
The claimed cost for this deposition was $1,559.00; however, the Court subtracted the
unreasonable charge of $30.00 for “FedEx Overnight Processing and Delivery” from the
($189.00). The grand total award for these deposition costs is $12,120.35.
2. Costs of Copying and Exemplification
Lindsey requests its costs for copying and scanning documents in the amount of
$1,030.96. Included in this total is a $367.32 charge for “Litigation Scanning,” an $80.50
charge for “Tabs—Standard Index,” a $56.43 charge for “[Color] 8.5X11 Scans” in addition
to a separate charge for color copies, a $25.00 charge for “CD Creation,” and a $30.00
charge for “Project Management.” (Doc. 359-1, p. 22). The Court in its discretion finds the
above charges to be excessive and generally unnecessary for trial, and DENIES
reimbursement to Lindsey for these particular costs. The rest of the copying costs for
$336.71 in “Copy Work” and $56.43 in “[Color] 8/5X11 Copies” appear proper. Therefore,
the Court GRANTS Lindsey recovery in the amount of $393.14 in copying costs, plus sales
tax of 0.0825% of the total, or $32.43 in sales tax. The grand total award of costs for the
copying requested in the first Bill of Costs (Doc. 359) is $425.57.
Lindsey also requests costs associated with the fabrication of trial boards, which it
claims were used as demonstrative exhibits during the trial. (Doc. 359-1, p. 23). The Court
has no information about these trial boards, as neither party described them with any
particularity in its briefing, and the undersigned was not the trial judge in this case and
therefore did not observe exactly how the boards were used at trial. The Exhibit List (Doc.
357) offered by Lindsey, which was filed of record by Judge Hendren after the trial, lists two
demonstrative exhibits, one depicting a “hierarchy at each property managed by Plaintiffs,”
and another “identifying responsibilities of Plaintiffs.” (Doc. 357, p. 2). The Exhibit List also
includes a “Map of southeastern part of United States” and an exhibit called “Facing Your
Giants,” which apparently spans a number of pages. Id. Turning to the bill for these
demonstratives, there is a charge of $19.25 for “assembly” and “velcro”; a $170.00 project
management fee; an $810.00 charge for five trial boards, with no explanation as to what
the trial boards entailed or how they were created; and a $168.00 charge to laminate 32
items, again, without any explanation of what the items were. See Doc. 359-1, p. 23.
There is insufficient evidence in the record for the Court to critically evaluate
whether all the items billed by Lindsey for “demonstrative trial boards” were necessary for
trial, or instead were more along the lines of an extravagant, unneeded purchase. Further,
the Court will not speculate as to whether the lamination of 32 unspecified items was
necessary for one or all of the five trial boards, whether all five boards were actually used
at trial and were necessary to be used, or whether the Exhibit List, which appears to
include only two or three demonstratives, is a more accurate snapshot of what Lindsey
presented to the jury. The Court in its discretion therefore DENIES Lindsey’s request for
the exemplification costs of demonstrative exhibits in the amount of $1,263.55.
B. Second Bill of Costs (Doc. 375) Relating to the Appeal
The second Bill of Costs requests $812.85 in filing and copying fees related to the
appeal, and $3,510.35 in transcript fees. The request for $812.85 is GRANTED, as per
the directive of the Court of Appeals. See Doc. 374. Lindsey’s additional request for costs
related to its production of the trial transcript is DENIED. According to Federal Rule of
Appellate Procedure 39(e)(2), the cost of a transcript made for purposes of appeal is only
compensable if it is "needed to determine the appeal." Here, the Court finds that the trial
transcript was not needed, as the Eighth Circuit’s Opinion (Doc. 373-2) did not rely on it in
any respect, and only focused on a pure issue of law.
For the reasons explained herein, IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Lindsey
Management Co. lnc.'s first Bill of Costs (Doc. 359) is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED
IN PART as follows : deposition costs in the amount of $12 ,120.35 and copying costs in the
amount of $425 .57 are GRANTED , and all other requests for costs are DENIED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Lindsey's second Bill of Costs (Doc. 375) is
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as follows : appellate costs for filing fees and
copying in the amount of $812 .85 are GRANTED, and all other requests for costs are
The grand total award of costs that Plaintiffs owe to Lindsey in this matter is
therefore $13,358.77 .
IT IS SO ORDERED on this
IS' d;y of Novem
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