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Faltermeier v. FCA U.S. LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division

October 24, 2017

DAVID FALTERMEIER, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated Plaintiff,
FCA U.S. LLC, Defendant.



         Plaintiff David Faltermeier alleged that Defendant FCA U.S. LLC (“FCA”) made misrepresentations during a vehicle safety recall, causing him and other customers an ascertainable financial loss. On March 24, 2017, the Court granted Defendant FCA's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 208).

         Now before the Court is FCA's Proposed Bill of Costs (Doc. 213), to which Faltermeier objects (Doc. 217).


         Rule 54(d)(1) provides 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). A 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); see Marx v. Gen. Revenue Corp., 568 U.S. 371, 377 (2013) (“[T]he word ‘should' makes clear that the decision whether to award costs ultimately lies within the sound discretion of the district court.”). But, the “prevailing party is presumptively entitled to recover all of its costs.” Thompson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 472 F.3d 515, 517 (8th Cir. 2006). The prevailing party bears the burden of persuading the court that the items and amounts sought are compensable under 28 U.S.C. § 1920 or some other authority. Combs v. Cordish Cos., No. 14-0227-CV-ODS, 2015 WL 5096009, at *1 (W.D. Mo. Aug. 28, 2015).

         The court's power to tax costs under § 1920 is limited to the items enumerated in the statute. Taniguchi v. Kan.Pac. Saipan, Ltd., 132 S.Ct. 1997, 2000 (2012). ‘Costs' are construed narrowly under the statute. The Supreme Court has cautioned that “[a]lthough ‘costs' has an everyday meaning synonymous with ‘expenses, '” taxable costs “are a fraction of the nontaxable expenses borne by litigants for attorneys, experts, consultants, and investigators.” Id. at 2006.

         Section 1920 identifies six expenses that may be taxed as costs: (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.


          FCA requests $30, 275.45 in costs (Doc. 221).[1] Faltermeier raises specific objections to various items in FCA's Proposed Bill of Costs, which the Court will address in turn.

         I. FCA's costs incurred deposing Faltermeier's witnesses are compensable.

         Faltermeier objects to $8, 525.00 in fees FCA incurred deposing Faltermeier's witnesses. FCA may recover fees paid to Faltermeier's experts for appearing at depositions. See Stanley v. Cottrell, Inc., 784 F.3d 454, 465 (8th Cir. 2015) (finding fees paid to depose the losing party's expert recoverable); Alternative Med. & Pharm., Inc. v. Express Scripts, Inc., No. 4:14-CV-1469, 2016 WL 3443574, at *2-3 (E.D. Mo. June 23, 2016) (same). Faltermeier's citation to Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437 (1987)-which addressed “the power of federal courts to require a losing party to pay the compensation of the winner's expert witnesses”-is inapplicable here. See Id. at 438 (emphasis added). FCA is entitled to recover $8, 525.00 plus $38.00 it paid to a non-party witness. See Pierce v. Moore, No. 11-CV-132, 2015 WL 2412118, at *2-3 (E.D. Mo. May 20, 2015).

         II. The cost of videotaped depositions is compensable in this case.

         Faltermeier objects to $4, 266.50 in fees FCA paid for deposition videos; Faltermeier does not object to fees paid for printed transcripts. Printed and video transcripts are both recoverable when “each transcript was necessarily obtained for use in the case.” See Stanley, 784 F.3d at 466 (noting “[t]here are many circumstances where both printed and electronically recorded transcripts are necessarily obtained for use in the case, ” such as in “a large and complex patent case”). The Court holds that this class action case was sufficiently large and complex such that both the printed and video transcripts were necessarily obtained for use. FCA may recover the cost of video depositions.

         III. FCA's printing ...

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