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Cooksey v. Professional Transportation Inc

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

May 22, 2019

WILLIAM COOKSEY, JR. and JOHN WILLIAMS PLAINTIFFS
v.
PROFESSIONAL TRANSPORTATION, INC., et al. DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge

         Before the Court is a declaration of bill of costs filed by separate defendant Professional Transportation Inc. (“PTI”) (Dkt. No. 97). PTI filed a memorandum in support with an itemization of costs (Dkt. No. 98). Plaintiff William Cooksey, Jr., filed a response in opposition (Dkt. No. 99). For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants in part and denies in part PTI's bill of costs. The Court shall tax costs in favor of PTI, and against Mr. Cooksey, in the amount of $8, 893.55.

         I. Background

         This action arises out of a complaint filed on March 3, 2016, by plaintiffs Mr. Cooksey and John Williams alleging that defendants racially discriminated against their African American employees by paying Caucasian employees a higher wage for similar work (Dkt. No. 1). On August 29, 2016, Mr. Williams moved to dismiss his claims (Dkt. No. 23), and the Court granted his motion (Dkt. No. 69). On September 29, 2017, this Court entered an Order and Judgment granting summary judgment in favor of defendants and dismissing with prejudice Mr. Cooksey's claims (Dkt. Nos. 95, 96). PTI then filed a declaration of bill of costs asking the Court to tax $9, 406.45 in costs, though PTI does not specify which plaintiff should be taxed for which costs.

         II. Discussion

         Recovery of costs in the district court is generally governed by statute and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Pershern v. Fiatallis N. Am., Inc., 834 F.2d 136, 140 (8th Cir. 1987). Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states 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. “To rebut the presumption that the prevailing party is entitled to recover all of its costs, the district court must provide a rationale for denying the prevailing party's claim for costs.” Thompson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 472 F.3d 515, 517 (8th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). 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.

28 U.S.C. § 1920. “‘Absent explicit statutory or contractual authorization to the contrary, federal district courts may tax as costs only those expenses listed in § 1920.'” U.S. v. Mink, 476 F.3d 558, 564 (8th Cir. 2007) (alteration omitted) (quoting United States v. Hiland, 909 F.2d 1114, 1142 (8th Cir. 1990)).

         “[N]ot 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, 834 F.2d at 140. “An award of costs may be reduced or denied because the prevailing party obtained only a nominal victory, or because the taxable costs of the litigation were disproportionate to the result achieved.” Richmond v. SouthwireCo., 980 F.2d 518, 520 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Farmer v. Arabian Amer. Oil ...


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