United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CHARLES A. SHAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendant Amica Mutual
Insurance Company's motion for costs as the prevailing
party in this suit. Amica Mutual Insurance Company
(“Amica”) filed a bill of costs seeking a total
of $4, 595.25 in costs. Plaintiffs oppose the bill of costs
and argue that Amica is not entitled to recover a number of
the costs defendant seeks. For the following reasons,
defendant's motion will be granted in part.
presumed that a prevailing party is entitled to costs.
See Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d);
Bathke v. Casey's General Stores, Inc., 64 F.3d
340, 347 (8th Cir. 1995). “When an expense is taxable
as a cost, . . . there is a strong presumption that a
prevailing party shall recover it in full measure.”
Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494,
498 (8th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation omitted). “The
losing party bears the burden of making the showing that an
award is inequitable under the circumstances.”
Id. (internal citation and quotation omitted).
Allowable costs, however, are generally limited to the
categories set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Expenses not
on the statutory list must be borne by the party incurring
them. Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc.,
482 U.S. 437, 442-43 (1987). Pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920, the Court
must carefully scrutinize the claimed costs and the support
offered for them. Farmer v. Arabian Am. Oil Co., 379
U.S. 227, 232-33, 235 (1964); Alexander v. National
Farmers Org., 696 F.2d 1210, 1212 (8th Cir. 1982);
Davis v. Parratt, 608 F.2d 717, 718 (8th Cir. 1979).
Amica has requested the following categories of costs: fees
to the clerk; fees for service of summons and subpoena;
transcript costs and court reporter fees; fees for witnesses;
and mediation costs. In support of their bill of costs, Amica
filed an affidavit and documentation, which the Court has
reviewed. Plaintiffs filed objections to the bill of costs
and argue that Amica should not be allowed to recover the
costs of the transcripts for examinations under oath that
took place before this case was filed. Plaintiffs also argue
that the costs for video-taping the examinations are not
recoverable. In addition, plaintiffs assert that Amica is not
entitled to mediation costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
Transcripts and Court Reporter Fees
Court has broad discretion to tax “fees for printed or
electronically recorded transcripts” that are
reasonably necessary to the case and that were not incurred
purely for investigative purposes. Zotos v. Lindbergh
Sch. Dist., 121 F.3d 356, 363 (8th Cir. 1997);
Slagenweit v. Slagenweit, 63 F.3d 719, 720 (8th Cir.
1995); Koppinger v. Cullen-Schiltz & Assocs.,
513 F.2d 901, 911 (8th Cir. 1975). Absent specific objections
that depositions were improperly taken, transcript costs
“will be taxed as having been necessarily obtained for
use in the case within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. §
1920.” Meder v. Everest & Jennings, Inc.,
553 F.Supp. 149, 150 (E.D. Mo. 1982) (internal quotations and
citation omitted). Furthermore, expenses associated with
video depositions are recoverable under § 1920.
Craftsmen Limousine, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 579
F.3d 894, 897 (8th Cir. 2009).
seeks reimbursement of costs associated with, among other
things, the examinations under oath of Dale and Kim
Neidenbach. As defendant notes, these examinations were
conducted approximately a month before plaintiffs filed suit.
Plaintiffs signed the errata sheets for these examinations
after their case was filed. The examinations took place in
the presence of plaintiffs' counsel, who is counsel of
record in this case, and they were used in this case, by both
parties, in lieu of depositions - which no one disputes
defendant would have been entitled to take under the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. It is obvious from the record that
the examinations were not taken purely for investigative
purposes, but rather at the time the examinations were
conducted, the parties anticipated litigation and Amica
believed they would be necessary for the defense of its case.
The Court finds, given the major role the persons examined
played in the events underlying this case, that the costs
associated with the examinations under oath were reasonably
and necessarily incurred for use in this suit. Zup's
of Babbitt-Aurora, Inc. v. West Bend Mut. Ins. Co., 2014
WL 3862309, at *1 (D. Minn. Aug. 6, 2014) (finding the
transcripts costs for examinations under oath of crucial
witnesses were recoverable, even though they were taken prior
to the case being filed). Defendant is entitled to recover
all of the costs it seeks for “printed or
electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for
use in the case.” Doc. 79 at 1.
mediation fees, the Eighth Circuit has held that a
mediator's fees do not constitute an item of taxable cost
under 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Brisco-Wade v.
Carnahan, 297 F.3d 781, 782 (8th Cir. 2002). Further,
this Court's Local Rules state that, generally, each
party will bear the cost of mediation. Therefore, the Court
will subtract Five Hundred Forty-One Dollars and Twenty-Five
Cents ($541.25), the cost of mediation, from defendant's
Bill of Costs.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that defendant Amica Mutual Insurance
Company's motion for Bill of Costs is GRANTED in part and
DENIED in part. The Clerk of the Court shall tax costs of
this matter in favor of defendant Amica Mutual Insurance
Company and against plaintiffs Dale Neidenbach and Kim