RIDDLE et al v. INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES et al
ORDER granting 69 Bill of Costs. For the foregoing reasons, the court OVERRULES plaintiffs' objections to Defendants' Bill of Costs [Doc. No. 70 ], and GRANTS $1,512.40 in costs to defendants [Doc. No. 69 ]. (See Order). Signed by Judge Robert L. Miller, Jr on 10/13/2020. (MAC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
DAWN RIDDLE and
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF
LORI R. KING,
KRISTINA C. HIATT,
) CASE NO. 1:18-CV-3159-RLM-MJD
On August 21, the court granted summary judgment for defendants [Doc.
No. 67] and entered judgment accordingly. The defendants filed a Bill of Costs
with the court, requesting $1,512.40 in expenses [Doc. No. 69] to which the
plaintiffs timely objected [Doc. No. 70]. For the following reasons, the court
overrules the plaintiffs’ objections and awards $1,512.40 in costs to defendants.
The plaintiffs’ brief response to the defendants’ Bill of Costs lays out two
separate grounds for their objection. The plaintiffs argue (1) that the defendants’
reference to “[f]ees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily
obtained for use in the case” is deficient because it is too vague, and (2) that
awarding defendants costs would be unfair because the defendants are funded
by the State of Indiana and the plaintiffs are taxpayers with limited financial
resources [Doc. No. 70].
The prevailing party is entitled to an award of certain litigation costs,
excluding attorney’s fees. Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1). This is “the default rule.” Arce
v. Chi. Transit Auth., 738 Fed. Appx. 335, 361 (7th Cir. 2018). “A party prevails
. . . when a final judgment awards it substantial relief.” Smart v. Local 702 Int’l
Bhd. Of Elec. Workers, 573 F.3d 523, 525 (7th Cir. 2009). On a threshold level,
the defendants are the prevailing party because the court ruled in their favor by
granting their summary judgment motion. Republic Tobacco Co., v. North Atl.
Trading Co., Inc., 481 F.3d 442, 447 (7th Cir. 2006). This means that the
defendants have a right to file a bill of costs seeking reimbursement for certain
expenses under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1).
The plaintiffs bear the burden “of an affirmative showing that the taxed
costs are not appropriate.” Beamon v. Marshall & Ilsley Trust Co., 411 F.3d 854,
864 (7th Cir. 2005). Costs are appropriate even if there is a financial disparity
between the parties. Reed v. International Union of Auto., Aerospace, & Agric.
Implement Workers, Local Union No. 663, 945 F.2d 198, 204 (7th Cir. 1991).
Attached to the defendants’ Bill of Costs as Exhibit 1 are two invoices that
illustrate what expenses were included in the Bill of Costs: a transcript of a factfinding hearing in Tipton County, and deposition copies of Matt Riddle, Dawn
Riddle, and Katie Riddle [Doc. No. 69-1]. Both costs are appropriate. See Majeske
v. City of Chicago, 218 F.3d 816, 825 (7th Cir. 2000); Little v. Mitsubishi Motors
North America, Inc., 514 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 2008). The plaintiffs’ claim that
they have limited financial resources isn’t enough to affirmatively show that
costs aren’t appropriate. Reed v. International Union of Auto., Aerospace, &
Agric. Implement Workers, Local Union No. 663, at 204.
For the foregoing reasons, the court OVERRULES plaintiffs’ objections to
Defendants’ Bill of Costs [Doc. No. 70], and GRANTS $1,512.40 in costs to
defendants [Doc. No. 69].
October 13, 2020
/s/ Robert L. Miller, Jr.
Judge, United States District Court
for the Southern District of Indiana
Sitting by designation
Distribution: All electronically registered counsel of record
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