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District of Oregon: No Taxation of Costs for Use of Documents in the Production Process

Yesterday, Senior Judge Anna Brown issued a decision, Christian v. Umpqua Bank, No. 3:16-cv-01938-BRR, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114685 (D. Or. July 10, 2018) on the Defendant's Bill of Costs, after it was awarded summary judgment. Judge Brown awarded Umpua $7,670.81 of its requests costs of $17,701.91. 28 U.S.C. § 1920 allows the Court to tax, "[f]ees for exemplification and costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case", as well as printing fees; witness fees; fees of the clerks; fees for transcripts; expert costs, and fees for interpretation.

The opinion cites Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd., 566 U.S. 560 (2012) in stating that the presumption in favor of awarding costs under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) to the winning party, does not mean that the broadest possible interpretation of costs should be given under § 1920. The Court will only award costs allowed under § 1920, even if the opposing party did not object to the costs.

Judge Brown followed existing 9th Circuit precedent in refusing to classify pro hac vice application fees as taxable costs.

The Defendant sought recovery of $6,480.98 for copying costs incurred in uploading and processing electronic records in an electronic discovery review platform. Judge Brown held that, "the majority of the expenses sought by Defendant for copying costs do not relate to 'making copies' of documents for use in the litigation, but instead to the creation and maintenance of an electronic database for the storage and use of documents in the production process. These costs, therefore, are not recoverable under § 1920." Christian, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 114685, at *6. Only $38.86 of the $6,480.98 was awarded - this amount was listed in supporting documentation that showed this was the fee for obtaining unemployment and medical records. "The proper application of a narrowly construed § 1920(4) requires that the tasks and services for which an award of costs is being considered must be described and established with sufficient specificity, particularity, and clarity as to permit a determination that costs are awarded for making copies." Id..

$1,505 was awarded for witness fees, and nominal fees were awarded for subpoena, docket, and clerk fees.

The Defendant conceded the Plaintiff's objection to costs for rough draft transcripts and deposition videos.

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