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Brickey v. Hall

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

March 3, 2017

RANDALL E. BRICKEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBB HALL, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Chief United States District Judge.

         This case arises from plaintiff Randall Brickey's termination from the Saltville Police Department ("SPD") following the publication of Brickey's responses to questions posed to him by local newspapers during his Town Council campaign. Brickey filed this civil action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several members of the SPD and the Saltville Town Council, alleging that his termination constituted a retaliatory discharge in violation of the First Amendment. The case is presently before the court on the defendant Rob Hall'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 $1, 620.90.

         Procedural History

         On September 2, 2014, the court denied in part and granted in part the defendants' motion for summary judgment. As a result, all defendants, with the exception of Robb Hall, were dismissed from the case. Hall filed a Notice of Appeal, seeking review of the court's denial of summary judgment that was based on the determination that Hall was not shielded by qualified immunity. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded, and held that Hall was entitled to qualified immunity. On August 5, 2016, the court, in a final judgment order, entered summary judgment in favor of Hall.

         The case is now before the court on the defendant's request for an award of costs in the amount of $2, 466.70. The time to respond to Hall's bill of costs has lapsed, and plaintiff has not indicated any opposition. The matter 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 citations omitted). The particular expenses that may be taxed as costs under Rule 54(d)(1) are set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 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 obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title; and
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services ...

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