Watterson et al v. Burgess et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 293 Motion for Fees and Amended Opposition; granting in part and denying in part 295 Motion for Writ of Execution . Signed by Chief Judge Frank D. Whitney on 10/29/19. (Pro se litigant served by US Mail.)(clc) Modified on 10/31/2019 (ctb).
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA
DOCKET NO. 3:13-cv-00159-FDW-DCK
RANDOLPH WATTERSON, et al.,
JENNIFER HOYLE, et al.,
THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Randolph Watterson’s “Motion for Fees
and Plaintiff[‘]s Amended Opposition to Defendant Hoyle[‘]s Amended Response to Plaintiff’s
Motion for Fees (Doc. No. 293) and Plaintiff’s “Motion for Writ of Execution” (Doc. No. 295).
As the prevailing party in this case by virtue of entry of default against Defendant
Jennifer Hoyle, Plaintiff is presumptively entitled to recover its reasonable and allowable costs
pursuant to the applicable federal and local civil procedure rules. See Rule 54(d)(1), Fed. R. Civ.
P. (providing 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”); LCvR 54.1(a)
(providing that “[a] prevailing party may request the Clerk of Court to tax allowable costs, other
than attorney fees, in a civil action as a part of a judgment or decree by electronically filing a bill
of costs”); Cherry v. Champion Int’l Corp., 186 F.3d 442, 446 (4th Cir. 1999) (recognizing that
the language of Rule 54(d)(1) gives rise to a “presumption that costs are to be awarded to the
prevailing party”) (citations omitted).
Nonetheless, to be entitled to an award of costs, the
prevailing party must provide
adequate supporting documentation of its requested costs and comply with the Local Rules and
published guidelines governing the taxation of costs.
The Court has reviewed all the documentation Plaintiff provides to support his claim,
including the sworn declaration provided by his brother Jeffery Watterson – also a plaintiff this
this matter – asserting he paid cash to witnesses, including himself, to cover witness fees. (Doc.
No. 293, p. 13). Jeffery Watterson is not entitled to collect (and Plaintiff Randolph Watterson
cannot recover) witness fees for appearing in court, as he was a plaintiff in the suit. In addition,
there is no declaration or other acknowledgment of receipt by any recipient of the witness fees
Jeffery Watterson says he paid to the individuals listed. Plaintiff Randolph Watterson also
submitted a sworn document “under penalty of perjury” seeking to recover these witness fees, as
well as a “filing fees $455.00” and “postage/legal research x 4 yrs” [sic] in the amount of $200,
plus $4.00 paid for “judgment of the court.” (Doc. No. 295, p. 1).
The Court has reviewed all the record materials related to Plaintiff Randolph Watterson’s
requests to recover costs and fees. The Court also considers the fact that the witness fees in this
matter were not solely related to Plaintiff’s claims against Jennifer Hoyle, as well as the fact any
witness’s testimony did not impact the finding of liability for her because of the Court’s entry of
default against her. The Court, in its discretion, declines to allow all the requested costs, with the
exception of the $350.00 filing fee charged by the Court (see Doc. No. 7) and paid by Plaintiff, as
well as $14.00 fees for copy costs incurred by Plaintiff in the instant action.1 See Bill of Costs
that “[t]he Clerk may disallow any expenses that do not have adequate supporting information and
Court records kept by the Financial Administrator for the United States District Court for the Western District of
North Carolina confirm these payments were made from Plaintiff Randolph Watterson’s prisoner trust account.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motions (Docs. Nos. 293, 295) are
GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART as provided herein.
Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons, costs in the total amount of $364.00 are
AWARDED to Plaintiff Randolph Watterson and hereby included in the Clerk’s Judgment against
Defendant Jennifer Hoyle.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed: October 29, 2019
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