United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
Bryan Harwell United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on a Motion for an Award of Costs
filed by Defendants Terminix Service, Inc., John Stroman, and
Larry Parker (“Defendants”). [ECF #60]. Plaintiff
Christopher Nowlin (“Plaintiff”) filed the
above-caption suit against Defendants, alleging violations of
racial harassment and discrimination, retaliation in the
workplace and wrongful termination, as well as several
related state law claims. On March 28, 2018, this Court
granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on their
federal claims and dismissed their state law claims without
prejudice. [ECF #58]. The Clerk accordingly entered judgment
for Defendants that same day. Defendants filed their Bill of
Costs on April 3, 2018 requesting costs totaling $2, 233.00.
Plaintiff filed numerous objections to the Bill of Costs.
Defendants responded to the objections with an amended Bill
of Costs, to which Plaintiff filed additional objections.
Defendants' Bill of Costs includes fees for printed or
electronically recorded transcripts that were obtained for
use in the case. [ECF #60-1, p. 2]. In his objections,
Plaintiff objects to the Defendants' Bill of Costs in its
entirety. [ECF #62; ECF #63]. Plaintiff specifically objects
to “a hearing transcript” that Plaintiff alleges
was not presented to the Court, and thus argues Defendants
are not entitled to the cost of $354.00 associated with that
transcript. It appears that Plaintiff is referring to a bill
received on June 30, 2016 from Creel Court Reporting, Inc.
for an employment hearing held in this matter. In response,
Defendants filed an Amended Motion, withdrawing their request
for the costs associated with that hearing transcript. [ECF
#65]. In the Amended Motion, Defendants now seek $1, 879.00,
with this total amount representing the costs associated with
fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts. In
response, Plaintiff again renewed his objection that the
requests for costs be denied because he states that he
presented viable causes of action against the Defendants.
Specifically, Plaintiff argues that he presented evidence of
fault and misconduct on the part of Defendants with respect
to allegations of forgery and termination. [ECF #67].
parties are entitled to an award of costs pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1), which provides:
“[e]xcept when express provision therefor is made
either in a statute of the United States or in these rules,
costs . . . shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing
party unless the court otherwise directs.” The rule
makes clear that, in the ordinary course, a prevailing party
is entitled to an award of costs and there exists a
presumption to that effect. Cherry v. Champion Intl.
Corp., 186 F.3d 442');">186 F.3d 442, 446 (4th Cir. 1999). “To
overcome the presumption, a district court ‘must
justify its decision [to deny costs] by ‘articulating
some good reason for doing so.'” Id.
(citing Teague v. Bakker, 35 F.3d 978, 996 (4th Cir.
1994)). The expenses which may be taxed are listed in 28
U.S.C. § 1920 and Local Civil Rule 54.03. The District
of South Carolina Local Rule 54.03 provides that a bill of
costs may include “all items set forth in the relevant
statutes and rules and is subject to final approval by the
court.” Plaintiff has not pointed to any federal
statute or rule that does not allow Defendants to recover the
costs for the transcripts in this case. Further, 28 U.S.C.
§ 1920(2) permits a court to tax as costs “fees
for printed or electronically recorded transcripts
necessarily obtained for use in the case” and 28 U.S.C.
§ 1920(4) permits “the costs of making copies of
any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for
use in the case.”
transcript invoices do not appear to distinguish between the
original and the copy as they list a single charge for
“original and one copy” of a transcript or
include a copy in the price listed for the transcript.
Further, Plaintiff cites to no authority for the proposition
that the Court should carve out an amount it believes
represents the charge for the copy v. the original
transcript. Additionally, the copies referenced by Plaintiff
would have been necessarily obtained for use in the case had
this case gone to trial. Original deposition transcripts
typically remains sealed until trial, meaning that a copy
would typically be the only means by which a party could
review a deposition transcript. The Court will therefore
allow the costs for these transcripts in the total amount
requested, as it finds that the transcripts were necessarily
obtained for use in this case.
reasons stated above, Defendants are awarded costs in the
amount of $1879.00, which represents the
fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts
needed for use in this case. These costs shall be included in
the judgment of this Court.