United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER ON OBJECTIONS TO AMOUNT OF COSTS TAXED
F. Cox United States District Court Judge
are eleven firefighters who were laid off by the City of
Detroit (“the City”) during a reduction in force.
Plaintiffs were recalled to work 80 days after being laid off
and their labor union, Defendant International Association of
Firefighters Local 344 (“the Union”) successfully
grieved their layoffs. In this action, Plaintiffs asserted
Title VII race discrimination claims against the City and the
Opinion & Order issued on January 26, 2017, this Court:
1) granted summary judgment in favor of the City as to
Plaintiffs' claims against it; 2) granted summary
judgment in favor of the Union as to Plaintiffs' claims
against it; and 3) denied both Defendants' requests for
sanctions. This Court issued a Judgment the same day.
the Union filed a Bill of Costs (D.E. No. 94) on February 9,
2017, seeking a total of $10, 334.87 in costs for court
reporter and transcript fees.
February 9, 2017, the clerk taxed costs against Plaintiffs
and in favor of the Union in the total amount of $9, 302.17.
(D.E. No. 95). The clerk denied $1, 032.70 in court reporter
fees that had been requested by the Union, stating:
Court reporter fees as to witness John King ($328.00),
Vincent Fields ($527, 60), and Marcus Holmes ($177.10) are
denied, as the bill of costs documents that the corresponding
deposition transcripts were used only by plaintiffs in
support of their motion responses, and not by the prevailing
defendants. (The costs for these witnesses are included in
invoice numbers 60445, 600956, and 598011 in the bill of
costs. Costs for these witnesses were determined by adding
the cost of their transcripts, plus one-half the cost for the
attendance fees, where applicable, and on-half the cost for
the document imaging fees.)
(D.E. No. 95 at Pg ID 4257).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in
pertinent part, that unless a federal statute, a specific
rule, 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). Rule 54(d)
further provides that after the clerk has taxed costs, the
court “may review the clerk's action”
“[o]n motion served within the next 7 days.”
February 15, 2017, both Plaintiff and the Union filed timely
objections to the costs taxed by the clerk. (D.E. Nos. 96
contend that the amount of costs taxed should be reduced in
two respects. First, they assert that the clerk should not
have taxed costs as to the depositions of Ralph Glenn, Jr.
and Lee Jones, Jr. because although Plaintiffs cited to them
in their summary judgment briefs, the Union did not.
Plaintiffs ask the Court to reduce the costs to $8, 051.37
for those two depositions. Second, Plaintiffs ask the Court
to “order the payment of no more than $4, 000.00 in
costs” because: 1) taxing the full amount would have a
chilling effect on future litigation; 2) Plaintiffs are still
members of the Union and awarding costs may “keep this
episode in the fire department an open wound.” (D.E.
No. 96 at 2-3).
Union is also unhappy with amount of the taxed costs by the
clerk. It contends that the clerk erred in not allowing costs
for three depositions (John King, Vincent Fields, and Marcus
Holmes) and should have allowed the entire $10, 334.87 that
it sought. The Union argues that “[transcripts are
reasonably necessary, and therefore taxable, if cited by any
party in support or defense of a motion for summary judgment.
See Lamar v. Oakland County, 2008 WL 239830 (E.D.
Mich.) and Keweenaw Bay Indian Cmty. v Rising, 2005
WL 3535124 (W.D. Mich.).” (D.E. No. 97 at 1).
reviewed the parties' objections, the Court concludes
that the Union should be awarded the entire amount of costs
sought for deposition transcripts.
54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that
‘costs shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing
party unless the court otherwise directs.' This language
creates a presumption in favor of awarding costs, but allows
denial of costs at the discretion of the trial court.”
White & White, Inc. v. American Hosp. Supply
Corp., 786 F.2d 728, 730 (6th Cir. 1986). Thus, the
award of costs under Rule 54 is addressed to the court's
discretion. Singleton v. Smith, 241 F.3d 534, 538
(6th Cir. 2001).
allowable cost - the only one at issue here - is the cost of
“[f]ees for printed or electronically recorded
transcripts necessarily obtained for ...