United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. FLEISSIG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the motion (ECF No. 152) of
Plaintiff Betsy Bates to set aside the bill of costs taxed by
the Clerk of Court against her. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion will be denied.
December 1, 2017, after a trial, a jury returned a verdict in
favor of Defendants on Plaintiff's claims for disability
discrimination (based on Plaintiff's deafness) in
violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of
1973, and the Missouri Human Rights Act. On December 19,
2017, less than 21 days after final judgment was entered in
their favor, Defendants filed their verified bill of costs.
Plaintiff did not file any objections within the 14 days set
forth by Local Rule 54-8.03. As such, the Clerk of Court
taxed the costs as claimed in the bill, in the amount of $4,
673.52, on March 20, 2018. Plaintiff filed the current motion
to set aside the bill of costs seven days later.
objects to two categories of the costs taxed: (1) the
compensation of the certified American Sign Language
(“ASL”) interpreters used at Plaintiff's
deposition, in the amount of $970.50,  and (2) the
allegedly duplicative costs for printed transcripts and video
recordings of two depositions.
the first objection, Plaintiff argues that the Court should
exercise its discretion to deny Defendants' request to
recover the costs of the ASL interpreters in light of the
underlying public policy concern of the ADA, which prohibits
public accommodations from imposing a surcharge to cover the
cost of measures that are required to provide individuals
with nondiscriminatory treatment.
the second objection, which was raised for the first time in
her reply brief, Plaintiff asserts that it is improper to tax
the costs for both printed transcripts and video recordings
of the same deposition, and that these costs should be
reduced by $200 to eliminate the “double taxing.”
ECF No. 154 at 3.
also argues that her motion is timely, notwithstanding her
failure to object to the bill of costs within 14 days under
the local rules, because she filed her motion to set aside
costs within the time limit set forth in Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 54(d)(1). See Fed. R. Civ. P.
54(d)(1) (“The clerk may tax costs on 14 days'
notice. On motion served within the next 7 days, the court
may review the clerk's action.”).
response, Defendants argue that Plaintiff waived any
objections to the bill of costs by failing to timely object
in accordance with the local rules. Moreover, Defendants
contend that Plaintiff's objections fail on the merits.
Defendants argue that they are entitled to recover the ASL
interpretation costs at issue, which are taxable under the
relevant statute and were undisputedly a reasonable and
necessary cost incident to taking Plaintiff's deposition.
sur-reply filed with leave of the Court to address
Plaintiff's second objection, Defendants argue that costs
for both printed transcripts and video recordings of the same
deposition have been held to be taxable by the United States
Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, as long as each
transcript was necessarily obtained for use in the case.
Defendants contend that it was Plaintiff who ordered the
videotaping of the two depositions at issue here, and as
such, both types of transcripts were necessarily obtained.
54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allows district
courts to tax costs in favor of a prevailing party, and Title
28 U.S.C. § 1920 defines the expenses that may be taxed
as costs pursuant to that rule.” Stanley v.
Cottrell, Inc., 784 F.3d 454, 464 (8th Cir. 2015).
“As the losing party, [Plaintiff] bears the burden of
overcoming the presumption that [Defendants are] entitled to
recover all costs allowed by § 1920.” Id.
careful consideration of the parties' arguments, the
Court will deny Plaintiff's motion on the merits, without
reaching the timeliness issue. As to Plaintiff's first
objection, under § 1920(6), the Court is permitted to
tax as costs the “compensation of interpreters.”
28 U.S.C. § 1920(6). “To be taxable under §
1920, the incurrence of such cost must be deemed reasonable
and necessary to a determination of the issues in the
suit.” Sunderland v. Bethesda Hosp., Inc., No.
13-80685-CIV, 2016 WL 7443342, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Oct. 13,
2016). In Sutherland, the district court rejected a
nearly identical objection to the cost of ASL interpreters
used in an ADA plaintiff's deposition, finding that the
cost was taxable under § 1920(6) and did not amount to
an improper surcharge under the ADA. Id. Plaintiff
has cited another Florida district court case for the
proposition that, while taxing the cost of ASL interpreters
is not prohibited by the ADA, a district court has discretion
to refuse to tax such costs against an ADA plaintiff who
asserts a non-frivolous claim. See Schwarz v. Villages
Charter School, Inc., Report and Recommendation of
Magistrate Judge, No. 5:12-cv-177-MMH-PRL, Dkt. No. 559, at 7
(M.D. Fla. Oct. 31, 2017), adopted in full, Dkt. No.
565 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 22, 2018). But even assuming that the
Court has such discretion, it would decline to exercise it
here, where the costs are modest in scope and where Plaintiff
does not and cannot dispute that the presence of the ASL
interpreters at her deposition was reasonable and necessary
to a determination of the issues in this suit.
Plaintiff's second objection, the Eighth Circuit has held
that “§ 1920(2) permits taxation of costs for both
printed and electronically recorded transcripts of the same
deposition as long as each transcript is necessarily obtained
for use in a case.” Stanley, 784 F.3d at 467.
Plaintiff presents no argument that the transcripts at issue
here were unnecessarily obtained for use in this case, and
Defendants have explained why both types were required.
See, e.g., Id. at 466 (listing examples of
circumstances “where both printed and electronically
recorded transcripts are necessarily obtained for use in the
case, ” including where attorneys are “called
upon . . . to supply an opposing party with a transcript to
obtain a video or audio recorded deposition”) (citing
Meredith v. Schreiner Transport, Inc., 814 F.Supp.
1004, 1006 (D. Kan. 1993) (“[I]n many cases, a party
insists that the opposing party arrange for a stenographic