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A.H. v. St. Louis County

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

April 28, 2017

A.H.,, Plaintiffs,
v.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI,, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CAROL E. JACKSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for bill of costs [Doc. #229] pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920. Plaintiffs have responded in opposition and the matter is fully briefed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiffs brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Missouri law to recover damages resulting from the death of Jereme Hartwig, who committed suicide while in the custody of the St. Louis County Jail. On January 25, 2017, this Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, with costs to be borne by the plaintiffs. On January 31, 2017, defendants filed a bill of costs, seeking $2, 439.57 in costs for litigating this matter.

         II. Legal Standard

         Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that “costs-other than attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party.” Not all expenses of litigation are costs taxable against the losing party, and within the statutory framework of costs eligible to be taxed, the district court has discretion in determining and awarding costs in a given case. Pershern v. Fiatallis N. Am., Inc., 834 F.2d 136, 140 (8th Cir. 1987).

         The following costs are taxable under 28 U.S.C. § 1920:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

         Under Rule 54(d) a prevailing party is “presumptively entitled to recover all of its costs.” In re Derailment Cases, 417 F.3d 840, 844 (8th Cir. 2005). The burden is on the losing party to demonstrate that a request is inequitable. Concord Boat Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494, 498 (8th Cir. 2002). Incurred costs must, however, be “‘necessarily obtained' for use in the case.” Zotos v. Lindbergh Sch. Dist., 121 F.3d 356, 364 (8th Cir. 1997). The court may not award costs other than those authorized by § 1920, because this section “imposes rigid controls on ...


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