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Walker v. Mod-U-Kraf Homes, LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

May 30, 2014

ROBIN L. WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
MOD-U-KRAF HOMES, LLC, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GLEN E. CONRAD, Chief District Judge.

This case is presently before the court on the defendant's bill of costs, filed pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, the court will award the defendant costs in the amount of $3, 071.13.

Procedural History

The plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action against the defendant on October 3, 2012. On December 19, 2013, the court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff appealed the decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and that appeal remains pending.

On April 17, 2014, the defendant filed a bill of costs in the amount of $3, 311.13, pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. On April 18, 2014, the plaintiff filed objections to the bill of costs. The court held a hearing on the matter on May 22, 2014.

Summary of the Applicable Law

"Under Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, costs should be allowed to the prevailing party' unless a federal statute provides otherwise." Williams v. Metro Life Ins. Co. , 609 F.3d 622, 636 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1)). Thus, the rule "creates the presumption that costs are to be awarded to the prevailing party." Cherry v. Champion Int'l Corp. , 186 F.3d 442, 446 (4th Cir. 1999). Although the court has the discretion to deny an award of costs, it must "articulate some good reason for doing so, " in order to "overcome the presumption." Id . (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). "Among the factors that justify denying an award of costs are: (1) misconduct by the prevailing party; (2) the unsuccessful party's inability to pay the costs; (3) the excessiveness of the costs in a particular case; (4) the limited value of the prevailing party's victory; or (5) the closeness and difficulty of the issues decided." Ellis v. Grant Thornton LLP , 434 F.App'x 232, 235 (4th Cir. 2011). Although the unsuccessful party's "good faith in pursuing an action is a virtual prerequisite to receiving relief from the normal operation of Rule 54(d)(1), that party's good faith, standing alone, is an insufficient basis for refusing to assess costs against that party." Id . (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

The particular expenses that may be taxed as costs under Rule 54(d)(1) are set forth in 28 U.S.C. ยง 1920. That statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as costs the following:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily ...

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