United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION & ORDER REGARDING COSTS
F. COX UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action, Plaintiffs asserted Title VII claims against their
labor union, the Detroit Fire Fighters Association, Local
344, IAFF, AFL-CIO (“the Union”). This Court
granted summary judgment in favor of the Union as to
Plaintiffs' claims. As the prevailing party in this case,
the Union filed a Bill of Costs seeking a total of $10,
334.87 in costs. After the Clerk of the Court taxed costs in
the amount of $9, 302.17, both Plaintiffs and the Union filed
objections. As explained below, the Court finds
Plaintiffs' objections without merit and concludes that
the Union should be awarded the full amount of costs sought.
September 10, 2013, Plaintiffs filed this action asserting
Title VII disparate-treatment race discrimination claims
against: 1) the City of Detroit (“the City”); and
2) the Union.
the close of discovery, each Defendant filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment. This Court issued an Opinion & Order on
January 26, 2017, wherein it granted both motions. (ECF No.
91). As to the City's motion, this Court concluded that
Plaintiffs failed to present direct evidence to support their
claims and that they also failed to establish a prima facie
case under the circumstantial evidence approach, which
includes a heightened burden in this reduction-in-force case.
(Id. at 2). As to the Union's motion, this Court
granted summary judgment in favor of the Union because
Plaintiffs cannot establish that the Union breached its duty
of fair representation to Plaintiffs which, under
then-existing Sixth Circuit case law, they must do in order
to proceed with a Title VII claim against the Union.
the Judgment was issued, the Union filed a Bill of Costs.
(ECF Nos. 93 & 94). The Clerk of the Court taxed costs
against Plaintiffs in the amount of $9, 302.17, less than the
full amount requested by the Union. (ECF No. 95). Both
Plaintiffs and the Union filed objections concerning costs.
(ECF Nos. 96 & 97).
Order issued on March 27, 2017, this Court addressed the
objections and ruled that the Union should be awarded the
entire amount of costs sought for deposition transcripts.
(ECF No. 109). In doing so, this Court explained, in
Having reviewed the parties' objections, the Court
concludes that the Union should be awarded the entire amount
of costs sought for deposition transcripts.
“Rule 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).
One allowable cost - the only one at issue here - is the cost
of “[f]ees for printed or electronically recorded
transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case.”
28 U.S.C. § 1920(2).
“Ordinarily, the costs of taking and transcribing
depositions reasonably necessary for the litigation are
allowed to the prevailing party. Necessity is determined at
the time of taking, and the fact that a deposition is not
actually used at trial is not controlling.” Sales
v. Marshall, 873 F.2d 115, 120 (6th Cir. 1989).
The five deposition transcripts that Plaintiffs take issue
with are those of Vincent Fields, Ralph Glenn, Jr., Lee
Jones, Jr., John King, and Marcus Holmes. The Court concludes
that those deposition transcripts were reasonably necessary
for the litigation.
Fields, Glenn, and Jones were named Plaintiffs and, as such,
it was necessary for the Union to depose those men in order
to defend against this lawsuit.
Moreover, district courts within this Circuit have
“found that depositions cited by either party in
support or defense of a motion are ‘reasonably
necessary for the litigation' and, therefore, are taxable
by the prevailing party under § 1920(2).” See,
e.g., Lamar v. Oakland Cnty., 2008 WL 239830 at * 1
(E.D. Mich. 2008); see also Keweenaw Bay Indian Cmty. v.
Rising, 2005 WL 3535124 at *2 (W.D. 2005). All of the
transcripts at issue were submitted to the Court in
connection with the Defendants' Motions for Summary
Judgment. That these transcripts were submitted by