UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. $98,699.60 in U. S. Currency

Filing 152

ORDER granting 146 Motion for Bill of Costs and AWARDS the government $7,696.36; granting 150 Motion to Strike. Signed by Chief Judge James C. Dever III on 7/21/2017. (Briggeman, N.)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA WESTERN DIVISION No. 5:13-CV-585-D UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff, v. $98,699.60 IN U.S. CURRENCY, Defendant. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ORDER On February 23, 2017, following a bench trial, this court held that the United States of America ("the government") had proven its case and ordered the forfeiture ofthe defendant property [D.E. 144]. On March 7, 2017, the government filed a motion for a bill of costs [D.E. 146] and a supporting memorandum [D.E. 147]. On March 11, 2017, claimant Kenneth Lamont Clark ("claimant") responded in opposition [D.E. 148]. On March 17, 2017, the government moved to strike claimant's response [D.E. 150] and filed a supporting memorandum [D.E. 151]. As explained below, the court grants the government's motions. I. Initsbillofcosts, the governmentrequests$6,937.75 under28U.S.C. § 1920(2)and$758.61 under 28 U.S.C. § 1920(3). See [D.E. 146]; [D.E. 147] 1, 6. Section 1920(2) permits a party to recover "[fJees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case." 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2). The government requests costs related to seven depositions taken in this case. See [D.E. 147] 1-5. Specifically, the government seeks to recover the court reporters' appearance fees and the costs of printing the original transcripts. See [D.E. 147-1 through 147-8]. (invoices for deposition-related costs). Given the integral role the. deposition testimony played at trial, the depositions and accompanying transcripts were "necessarily obtained for use in the case." Cherry v. Champion lnt'l Com., 186 F.3d 442, 449 (4th Cir. 1999); see LaVay Com. v. Dominion Fed. Sav. &Loan Ass'!!, 830F.2d522, 528 (4thCir. 1987);Petersen v. Midgett, No. 2:12-CV-60-D, 2015 WL 7681257, at *4 (E.D.N.C. Nov. 25, 2015) (unpublished). The costs appropriately "include only the reporter's fee and charge for the original transcript of the deposition." Local Civil Ru1e 54.l(c)(1)(a); seeBoykinAnchor Co. v. AT & T Com., No. 5:10-CV-591-FL, 2014 WL4798726, at *2 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 26, 2014) (unpublished). Thus, the court awards the government $6,937.75 in costs related to the depositions. Section 1920(3) permits a party to recover "[fJees and disbursements for printing and witnesses." 28 U.S.C. § 1920(3). The government seeks mileage and parking expenses for a fact witness, and travel, lodging, and subsistence expenses for an expert witness. See [D.E. 147] 6-8. For both witnesses, the government requests the $40 per day attendance fee available to witnesses under28 U.S.C. § 1821(b). The court grants these requests. See28 U.S.C. § 1821(b), (c)(1)--(c)(4); see also Local Civil Ru1e 54(c)(1)(c). Thus, the court awards the government $758.61 in costs related to the government's trial witnesses. The government also has moved to strike claimants's response in opposition to the government's bill of costs. The government contends that claimant violated Local Civil Ru1e 83.1 when filing his response. Local Civil Ru1e 83.1 (d) r~quires litigants in civil actions to "be represented by at least one member of the bar of this court who shall sign all documents filed in this court." Claimant's counsel, Abdulhakim Saadiq, is not a member of this court's bar. See [D.E. 7]. As such, Local Civil Ru1e 83.1 (d) required that a member ofthis court's bar sign claimant's response in opposition. Clifton J. Gray, ill, ("Gray") signed claimant's response. Gray previously entered an appearance as Local Civil Ru1e 83.1 Counsel to bring claimant in compliance with Local Civil Ru1e 2 83.1. See [D.E. 19]. On September 12,2016, the North Carolina State Bar suspended Gray's law license for five years. See Order ofDiscipline, http://www.ncbar.gov/orders/gray,%20111% 20Clifton %20J%200rdero/o20o:f:ll/o20Disc.pdfQast visited on July 21, 20 17). On March 11, 2017, when Gray signed claimant's response in opposition Gray could not have acted as Local Civil Rule 83.1 Counsel. Thus, claimant's response failed to comply with Local Civil Rule 83.1, and the court grants the government's motion to strike the response. II. In sum, the court GRANTS the government's motion for a bill of costs [D.E. 146] and AWARDS the government $7,696.36. The court GRANTS the government's motion to strike [D.E. 150]. SO ORDERED. This_!!__ day of July 2017. Chief United States District Judge 3

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