Forsyth v. University of Alabama Board of Trustees et al, No. 7:2017cv00854 - Document 95 (N.D. Ala. 2022)

Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER This case is before the court on Defendants Bill of Costs. (Doc. # 82). The matter has been fully briefed (Docs. # 82, 86, 88) and is now ripe for review; Defendants Bill of Costs (Doc. # 82) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Defendant is entitled to $11,074.90 less $1,570.05. Accordingly, the court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to tax costs against Plaintiff in the amount of $9,504.85. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 1/11/2022. (KAM)
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Forsyth v. University of Alabama Board of Trustees et al Doc. 95 FILED 2022 Jan-11 PM 04:09 U.S. DISTRICT COURT N.D. OF ALABAMA UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA WESTERN DIVISION MARTIN FORSYTH, Plaintiff, v. UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Defendant. } } } } } } } } } } Case No.: 7:17-cv-00854-RDP MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER This case is before the court on Defendant’s Bill of Costs. (Doc. # 82). The matter has been fully briefed (Docs. # 82, 86, 88) and is now ripe for review.1 The court concludes that while Defendant is due to be awarded costs, it is not entitled to recover all the costs it has claimed. “[A] court may only tax costs as authorized by statute.” EEOC v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d 600, 620 (11th Cir. 2000). The relevant fee-shifting statute here is 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2), which permits the recovery of “[f]ees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in this case[.]” Defendant seeks $11,074.90. (Doc. # 82 at 1). Plaintiff objects to the Bill of Costs on two grounds. First, he asserts that Defendant’s invoices include expenses that are not compensable as costs. (Doc. # 86 at 5-7). The court agrees with respect to the following costs: professional attendance (Doc. # 82 at 6 [$140]), exhibit management (id. [$117.90]), condensed/concordance (id. at 7 [$30]; id. at 8 [$30]; id. at 9 [$30]; id. at 12 [$30]; id. [$30]; id. at 13 [$30]; id. [$30]; id. at 14 [$30]), deposition disk (id. at 7 [$30]; 1 Previously, the court stayed Defendant’s Bill of Costs because Plaintiff’s appeal was pending. (Doc. # 89). After the Eleventh Circuit affirmed this court’s summary judgment ruling, Defendant moved to lift the stay (Doc. # 93), which the court granted (Doc. # 94). Although the court gave Plaintiff the opportunity to modify his earlier objections (id.), he did not do so. Dockets.Justia.com id. at 8 [$20]; id. at 9 [$20]; id. at 12 [$20]; id. [$20]; id. at 13 [$20]; id. [$20]; id. at 14 [$20]), read & sign (id. at 7 [$40]; id. at 8 [$40]; id. at 9 [$40]), postage/handling (id. at 7 [$20]; id. at 8 [$20]; id. at 9 [$20]; id. at 12 [$15]; id. at 13 [$15]; id. at 14 [$15]), exhibit copy (id. at 7 [$22.05]; id. at 8 [$116.20]; id. at 9 [$248.85]; id. at 12 [$102.20]; id. at 13 [$33.95]; id. at 14 [$56.35]), exhibit binder (id. at 9 [$20]), and exhibit scan to disk (id. at 12 [$40.65]; id. at 13 [$14.55]; id. at 14 [$22.35]). The court also agrees with Plaintiff that “Defendant provides nothing to indicate an essential need” for these costs. Henderson v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., No. 8:04-CV2382T24TGW, 2006 WL 4978430, at *4 (M.D. Fla. July 6, 2006). That is, although Defendant asserts that “these costs were necessary,” it has not provided a sufficient explanation as to why that is so. (See Doc. # 88 at 4). Because the court cannot evaluate whether these costs, which total $1,570.05, were truly necessary (or, rather, for Defendant’s convenience), the court will not award them.2 The court, however, disagrees with Plaintiff on whether Defendant should be able to recover video deposition costs. See Morrison v. Reichhold Chems., Inc., 97 F.3d 460, 464-65 (11th Cir. 1996) (explaining that video deposition costs are recoverable under section 1920). The court finds Plaintiff’s objection particularly uncompelling, given that Plaintiff noticed these witnesses for video depositions. (See Doc. # 88 at 4). Plaintiff’s second objection is that Defendant should not be awarded costs for depositions that it did not cite in its briefing. (Doc. # 86 at 7). The court disagrees. Defendant submitted these depositions of Plaintiff’s supervisors in its evidentiary submissions, (Doc. # 71), and the court cited them in its opinion (see Doc. # 80). In addition, Plaintiff noticed these depositions and questioned these deponents for a total of twelve hours. (Doc. # 88 at 3). Because the depositions 2 And even if Defendant had demonstrated necessity, the court would still not be able to award some of the requested costs. See, e.g., Duckworth v. Whisenant, 97 F.3d 1393, 1399 (11th Cir. 1996) (postage not recoverable under section 1920); Watson v. Lake Cty., 492 F. App’x 991, 997 (11th Cir. 2012) (nor are binder costs). 2 were related to the issues in the case, transcript costs are properly taxable under section 1920. See E.E.O.C. v. W&O, Inc., 213 F.3d at 622. For the reasons above, Defendant’s Bill of Costs (Doc. # 82) is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Defendant is entitled to $11,074.90 less $1,570.05. Accordingly, the court DIRECTS the Clerk of Court to tax costs against Plaintiff in the amount of $9,504.85. DONE and ORDERED this January 11, 2022. _________________________________ R. DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 3