House et al v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation et al
ORDER granting in part 40 Motion for Bill of Costs. As the prevailing party, defendants Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and Brock & Scott, PLLC are awarded (1) $400.00 in costs pursuant to § 1920(1) and (2) $40.50 in costs pu rsuant to § 1920(4). Total costs in the amount of $440.50 are taxed against plaintiffs and shall be included in the judgment. Within 14 days of this order, defendants may reapply for costs for the deposition transcripts of plaintiffs with adequate documentation as specified herein. Signed by Julie Richards Johnston, Clerk of Court on 12/22/2016. (Briggeman, N.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
SHONTAY HOUSE and MARY VEGA,
FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE
CORPORATION, BROCK & SCOTT,
ORDER ON BILL OF COSTS
This matter is before the clerk on the motion for bill of costs [DE-40] filed by defendants
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and Brock & Scott, PLLC. Plaintiffs failed to file any
objections or a motion for disallowance of costs, and the time for doing so has expired. See Local
Civil Rule 54.1(b)(1). The matter is therefore ripe for determination. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion for bill of costs is allowed in part.
On September 28, 2016, the court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment,
denied plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment, and entered judgment in favor of
defendants [DE-39]. Defendants timely filed a motion for bill of costs [DE-40] on October 12,
Defendants seek costs under Rule 54(d)(1) as the prevailing parties in this action. See Fed.
R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) (“Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise,
costs—other than attorney’s fees—should be allowed to the prevailing party.”). Federal courts
may assess only those costs listed in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. See Arlington Cent. Sch. Bd. of Educ. v.
Murphy, 548 U.S. 291, 301 (2006); Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 44142 (1987), superseded on other grounds by statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1988. Local Civil Rule 54.1
“further refines the scope of recoverable costs.” Earp v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., No. 5:11CV-680-D, 2014 WL 4105678, at *1 (E.D.N.C. Aug. 19, 2014). In this case, defendants seek
recovery of $3,017.05 in costs from plaintiffs.
First, defendants seek reimbursement in the amount of $400.00 for the filing fee and
administrative fee they paid when removing the action to this court from state court. Title 28,
United States Code Section 1920(1) provides that fees of the clerk may be taxed, and accordingly
this request is granted.
Second, defendants seek costs for the transcripts of the depositions of both plaintiffs.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2), fees of the court reporter for all or any part of the transcripts
necessarily obtained for use in the case may be taxed against the losing party. The deposition
transcripts were cited by both plaintiffs and defendants in support of the summary judgment
briefing in this case, and the undersigned finds that the depositions were necessarily obtained for
use in the case. Nevertheless, defendants’ request for costs pursuant to § 1920(2) is disallowed
without prejudice to renew.
The invoices submitted by defendants in support of the request for costs include charges
for shipping and handling, exhibit copies, witness signatures letters, and expedited processing.
This court has construed 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2) and Local Civil Rule 54.1 as not encompassing any
of these charges. See Dutton v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., No. 4:11-CV-94-BO, 2015 WL
1643025, at *2 (E.D.N.C. March 13, 2015 (“In construing 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and Local Civil Rule
54.1, this court has also denied fees for copies of deposition exhibits, read and sign, rough drafts,
litigation support packages, ASCII disks, shipping, handling and expedited processing.”);
Nwaebube v. Employ’t Sec. Comm’n of N.C., No. 5:09-CV-395-F, 2012 WL 3643667, at *1
(E.D.N.C. Aug. 21, 2012) (disallowing costs of exhibit copies); Hexion v. Specialty Chems., Inc.
v. Oak-Bark Corp., No. 7:09-CV-105-D, 2012 WL 2458638, at *6 (E.D.N.C., June 27, 2012)
(disallowing costs for shipping and postage); Parrish v. Johnston Comty. Coll. No. 5:09-CV-22H, slip. op. at 2-3 (E.D.N.C. Feb. 13, 2012) (observing that “Local Civil Rule 54.1(c)(1)(a)
specifies that taxable costs incident to the taking of depositions normally include only the court
reporter’s fee and the fee for the original transcript of the deposition”). Additionally, the invoices
for the depositions all include charges for “Original/Copy” of the deposition transcript. Local
Civil Rule 54.1(c)(1)(a) specifies that allowable costs normally only include the charge for the
original transcript of the deposition. Accordingly, defendants’ request for costs for the deposition
transcripts of plaintiffs is disallowed. Defendants may reapply for the costs of the original
transcript of the depositions of these witnesses by filing a request with appropriate supporting
documentation within 14 days of this order.
Finally, defendants seek costs pursuant to § 1920(4) for the fees charged by the Local
Government Federal Credit Union for researching and copying plaintiff Vega’s bank records. Title
28, United States Code Section 1920(4) allows for fees exemplification and copies of papers
necessarily obtained for use in the case. Here, defendants submitted the acquired documents in
support of its motion for summary judgment. In the absence of any objection by the plaintiffs, the
undersigned finds that the copies were made for use in the case. The defendants’ request for $40.50
in costs pursuant to § 1920(4) is allowed.
In summary, defendants’ motion for bill of costs [DE-40] is GRANTED in part. As the
prevailing party, defendants Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation and Brock & Scott,
PLLC are awarded (1) $400.00 in costs pursuant to § 1920(1) and (2) $40.50 in costs pursuant to
§ 1920(4). Total costs in the amount of $440.50 are taxed against plaintiffs and shall be included
in the judgment. Within 14 days of this order, defendants may reapply for costs for the
deposition transcripts of plaintiffs with adequate documentation as specified herein.
SO ORDERED. This the 22nd day of December, 2016.
Julie Richards Johnston
Clerk of Court
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?