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Bellofatto v. Red Robin International, Inc.

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

June 12, 2015

ALEXANDRA BELLOFATTO, Plaintiff,
v.
RED ROBIN INTERNATIONAL, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GLEN E. CONRAD, 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, 985.27.

Procedural History

The plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action against the defendant on April 10, 2014. On December 24, 2014, the court denied the defendant's motion for summary judgment, and the case proceeded to trial on January 6, 2015. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant on January 9, 2015, and the court entered the final judgment on January 12, 2015.

The case is now before the court on the defendant's request for an award of costs in the amount of $16, 336.19.[1] The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for review.

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.Appx. 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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