United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Corpus Christi Division
ORDER ON REQUEST FOR BILL OF COSTS
GONZALES RAMOS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 10, 2019, Defendants filed their proposed bill of costs
(D.E. 333), seeking a total of $72, 434.95 in taxable costs.
On April 23, 2019, before the expiration of the 14-day notice
period when the Clerk was to issue the bill of costs,
Plaintiffs filed their objections (D.E. 334). Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(d)(1). Therefore, taxing of the bill of costs is now a
matter for the Court. By separate Order (D.E. 339), the Court
deemed Plaintiffs' objections timely filed and
Defendants' objection on that basis in their reply (D.E.
335) is OVERRULED. For the reasons set out below, the Court
awards $14, 920.98 to Defendants as costs against Plaintiffs.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d), costs other than
attorney's fees should be granted to the prevailing
party. Rule 54 affords the court discretion to award taxable
costs according to the circumstances of the case and 28
U.S.C. § 1920 defines which costs are taxable.
Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S.
437, 440 (1987). The statute states:
A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as
costs the following:
(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
interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.
28 U.S.C. § 1920. The court does not have discretion to
tax expenses that are omitted from § 1920. Crawford
Fitting, 482 U.S. at 441; Coats v. Penrod Drilling
Corp., 5 F.3d 877, 891 (5th Cir. 1993).
party who seeks to recover costs has the burden of showing
the necessity and reasonableness of the costs requested.
Faculty Rights Coal. v. Shahrokhi, No. Civ.A.
H-04-2127, 2005 WL 1924192, at *1 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 10, 2005).
A district court has wide discretion to determine whether the
prevailing party is entitled to an award of costs for claimed
expenses in a particular case. Migis v. Pearle Vision,
Inc., 135 F.3d 1041, 1049 (5th Cir. 1998); Conoco,
Inc. v. Energy & Envtl. Int'l, L.C., No. Civ.A.
H-01-4242 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 22, 2006).
costs may be denied in unusual cases, such as those where
there are offsetting victories, where the losing party fought
valiantly in a close case in the public interest, or where
the prevailing party's litigation tactics were abusive or
vexatious. Sheets v. Yamaha Corp., 891 F.2d 533, 539
(5th Cir. 1990) (addressing hardball tactics and taxing costs
against the prevailing party); Salley v. E.I.
DuPont de Nemours & Co., 966 F.2d 1011, 1017 (5th
Cir. 1992) (improper litigation conduct warrants a denial of
costs to a prevailing party); Johnson v. Big Lots Stores,
Inc., 639 F.Supp.2d 696 (E.D. La. 2009) (addressing the
“equitable” taxation of costs where both parties
enjoyed some substantive victories); Rose v. East Texas
Medical Center Regional Healthcare System, No. 2:05 CV
216, 2008 WL 4755609 (E.D. Tex. Oct. 28, 2008) (addressing a
public interest victory in a case lost on its merits). The
court may also consider the losing party's limited
financial resources and good faith prosecution of its action,
although neither of those factors alone is sufficient to deny
all costs. Smith v. Chrysler Grp., L.L.C., 909 F.3d
744, 753 (5th Cir. 2018); Pacheco v. Mineta, 448
F.3d 783, 794-95 (5th Cir. 2006).
addition to weighing these equitable issues, a court has
“great latitude” or “wide discretion”
to make fact determinations regarding whether specific costs
that fall within the § 1920 definitions were reasonable
and necessary for use in the case. Crawford Fitting,
482 U.S. at 441-43; Fogleman v. ARAMCO, 920 F.2d
278, 286 (5th Cir. 1991). A court is required to give
“careful scrutiny” to the costs submitted by the
prevailing party. Farmer v. Arabian Am. Oil Co., 379
U.S. 227, 235 (1964). Whether costs are denied in their