Franklin-Mason v. Johnson

District of Columbia, dcd-1:2003-cv-00945

RESPONSE OBJECTIONS re {{169}} Bill of Cossts by ROXANN J. FRANKLIN-MASON. Modified event title on 6/26/2017 (znmw).

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ROXANN J. FRANKLIN MASON)) Plaintiff,)) v.) Civil Action No. 03-945 (JEB))) SEAN J. STACKLEY)) Defendant.) _______________________________________) PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO DEFENDANT'S BILL OF COSTS COMES NOW, Roxann Franklin Mason, by and through her undersigned counsel, and hereby respectfully submits these objections to defendant's bill of costs. The reasons for these objections are as follows: Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, 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). However, Rule 54(d) does not confer authority to "tax costs to reimburse a winning litigant for every expense" incurred in the case. Farmer v. Arabian Am. Oil Co., 379 U.S. 227, 235 (1964). Where the defendant possesses "exclusive knowledge regarding the proposed cost," such as how photocopies were used, then it has the burden to demonstrate that the cost is taxable. Spatz v. Microtel Inns and Suites Franchising, Inc., 2012 WL 1587663, *6 (S.D. Fla. May 4, 2012). Overall, defendant has "the burden of submitting a costs request that will allow the Court to determine which costs were incurred and whether it is entitled to them. Caballero v. Sum Yum Gai, Inc., 2011 WL 1675001, *5 (S.D. Fla. May 3, 2011) (citing Lee v. American 1 Eagle Airlines, Inc., 93 F.Supp.2d 1322, 1335 (S.D. Fla. 2000)). Defendant, accordingly, must state and support its request for costs with sufficient specificity so that the Court may determine whether the costs were necessarily obtained for use in the case. On June 6, 2017, defendant filed a Bill of Cost. By that pleading, defendant requested reimbursement claiming taxed costs for three days of witness fees for Lucy Austin, $300.00 in photocopy costs and $12,348.05 for various transcripts. Defendant is not entitled to claim these costs. As an initial matter, defendant has failed to include any supporting documentation verifying its photocopying costs, as it must. Moreover, defendant is seeking reimbursement for five separate copies of its own exhibits. Declaration of Fred Elmore Haynes in Support of Defendant's Bill of Costs, ¶4. Such additional copies were made for the convenience of counsel to which defendant is not entitled to be reimbursed for. Accordingly, defendant is not entitled to any costs for photocopying. Defendant is also not entitled to three days of witness fees for Ms. Austin. Ms. Austin was a witness for a few hours on one day and was not required to wait any period of time for her testimony. To the extent that defendant is requesting reimbursement for costs associated with the prior trial that resulted in a mistrial, defendant is not so entitled. Finally, defendant requests reimbursement for pretrial conference and trial transcripts of the instant trial, as well as, the prior trial that resulted in the mistrial. Section 1920(2) provides for "[f]ees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case." 28 U.S.C. § 1920(2). "Trial transcription costs may also be taxable under this subsection, but again only if truly necessary for presentation of the case at trial, and not solely for convenience of counsel." Groves v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., 2011 WL 817930, *2 (S.D. 2 Fla., March 2, 2011) (citations omitted). This determination is made "on a case-by-case basis." Id. Here, defendant has not established the basis for its request that it be reimbursed for the transcript from the mistrial and that the full transcript was a cost reasonably necessary to be incurred on the retrial. Declaration, ¶2. Indeed, plaintiff does not recall defendant using any of the first transcript during the course of the trial in this matter. Most important, the costs defendant seeks reimbursement were at an expedited daily transcript rate it incurred during the mistrial. Generally, the costs of an expedited trial transcript are not allowed as a matter of course unless "necessary" in the case "given its length and complexity." Maris Distributing Co. v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc., 302 F.3d 1207, 1226 (11th Cir. 2002). Defendant has not proffered why it is entitled to be reimbursed at the expedited rate given the relative short length and lack of complexity of a single plaintiff Title VII matter. In short, awarding costs of the entire trial transcript in which defendant was not a prevailing party would be unreasonable particularly at an expedited rate. Nor, again, has defendant established that it should be reimbursed for the daily copy of the transcript for the second trial since, given the short length of this trial was at the convenience of counsel. Nor has defendant articulated why it should be reimbursed for the full transcript or even any portion of it in light of the complexity of the case and defendant's failure to even use the transcript during trial. Finally, defendant seeks reimbursement of the transcript of the pretrial conference, again, at an expedited rate. Indeed, it appears defendant waited three weeks after the pretrial hearing to order the transcript for next day delivery. See ECF 169, p. 13. Nor has defendant proffered why the transcript was necessary in any way necessary. Undersigned counsel has reviewed the docket 3 of this matter and it does not appear that defendant used the pretrial conference transcript in any particular pleading. Accordingly, the transcript of pretrial conference was ordered for the convenience of counsel, and defendant is not entitled to its reimbursement. WHEREFORE, for the reasons stated herein and any others deemed just and proper by the Court, Ms. Franklin Mason respectfully files this objection to defendant's Bill of Costs. Respectfully submitted, /s/ Lisa Alexis Jones Lisa Alexis Jones, Esq. One Rockefeller Plaza 10th Floor New York, N.Y. 10020 (646) 756-2967 (888) 755-6778 Facsimile Counsel for Plaintiff Dated: June 23, 2017 CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I hereby certify that on this 23rd day of June 2017, I caused to be sent via ECF Plaintiff's Objections Defendant's Bill of Costs, to: Fred E. Haynes, Esq. Courtney D. Enlow, Esq. Assistant District Attorney 555 Fourth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530 /s/ Lisa Alexis Jones Lisa Alexis Jones, Esq. 4