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Smith v. Toyota Motor Corp.

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

July 20, 2018

KRISTIN MARIE SMITH Plaintiff,
v.
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          E. RICHARD WEBBER SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Toyota Motor Corporation's Bill of Costs [172].

         I. BACKGROUND

         The underlying case involves a products liability claim brought by Plaintiff Kristin Smith against Defendant Toyota Motor Corporation related to a one-car accident involving a Toyota 4Runner that Plaintiff had purchased and Defendant had designed. On May 1, 2018, following trial, a jury returned its verdict in favor of Defendant. Defendant filed its Bill of Costs on May 22, 2018 [172]. Plaintiff filed an Objection to the Bill of Costs [176], largely arguing Defendant had filed no supporting documentation for any of the expenses claimed as taxable costs apart from an affidavit by Defendant's counsel. In response, Defendant filed a Reply Memorandum in Support of Bill of Costs [179], which included thirty exhibits. Exhibits 1-24 and 26-29 are copies of relevant invoices and Exhibit 25 is a printout of Defendant's counsel's database reflecting the individual costs incurred, including in-firm printing and copying charges billed to Toyota for this case. Exhibit 30 is an affidavit of Craig Dupen. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion to Strike Defendant's Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Bill of Costs or in the Alternative Motion for Additional Time to File Additional Objections [180]. At a teleconference on June 18, 2018, this Court granted Plaintiff seven days to file additional objections and Defendant five days to respond thereafter. Accordingly, on June 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Additional Objections to Defendant's Bill of Costs [185] and on July 2, 2018, Defendant filed a Response to Plaintiff's Additional Objections to Defendant's Bill of Costs [186].

         II. ANALYSIS

         Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides “costs-other than attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party.” See also In re Derailment Cases, 417 F.3d 840, 844 (8th Cir. 2005) (“A prevailing party is presumptively entitled to recover all of its costs.”). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920, the Court may tax costs for:

(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.

         The Court may not award costs other than those authorized by § 1920, because this section “imposes rigid controls on cost-shifting in federal courts[.]” Brisco-Wade v. Carnahan, 297 F.3d 781, 782 (8th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted). However, upon objection by the opposing party as to authorized costs, the Court may exercise its discretion to grant or deny costs. Pershern v. Fiatallis N. Am., Inc., 834 F.2d 136, 140 (8th Cir. 1987). A district court's discretion in this regard is broadly construed. Little Rock Cardiology Clinic PA v. Baptist Health, 591 F.3d 591, 601 (8th Cir. 2009). Plaintiff includes several objections to expenses included in Defendant's Bill of Costs, which this Court will address as follows.

         A. ...


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