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Knox Energy, LLC v. Gasco Drilling, Inc.

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

July 30, 2018

KNOX ENERGY, LLC, Plaintiff,
v.
GASCO DRILLING, INC., Defendant.

          J. Scott Sexton, H. David Gibson, Michael J. Finney, and Scott A. Stephenson, Gentry Locke Rakes & Moore, LLP, Roanoke, Virginia, for Plaintiff and Counterclaim Defendants;

          Thomas R. Scott, Jr., Benjamin A. Street, and Jason D. Gallagher, Street Law Firm, LLP, Grundy, Virginia, for Defendant and Counterclaim Plaintiff.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          James P. Jones United States District Judge

         In this civil case in which a jury's verdict was upheld by the court of appeals, the prevailing party has filed an Amended Bill of Costs and the losing party has objected to the taxation of certain of those costs. For the following reasons, the Objections will be sustained in part and overruled in part.

         I.

         Following a jury verdict and entry of judgment in favor of Knox Energy, LLC, and Consol Energy, Inc. (collectively, “Consol”), Consol filed an Amended Bill of Costs in the total amount of $26, 255.76. The losing party, Gasco Drilling, Inc. (“Gasco”), has objected to certain items included in the Amended Bill of Costs. I stayed resolution of the Amended Bill of Costs pending the court of appeals' decision on Gasco's appeal. The court of appeals upheld the jury's verdict and my judgment in favor of Consol, Knox Energy, LLC v. Gasco Drilling, Inc., No. 17-1878, 2018 WL 2944408 (4th Cir. June 11, 2018) (unpublished), issuing its mandate on July 3, 2018. I allowed Consol seven days from that date to file a response to the Objections and granted Gasco seven days thereafter to file any reply. Consol timely filed a response and Gasco did not file a reply; therefore, the Objections are ripe for decision.[1]

         II.

         Rule 54 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandates that costs other than attorneys' fees be allowed to the prevailing party, unless a statute, rule, or the court provides otherwise. Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). This “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). Factors justifying the denial of an award of costs include misconduct by the prevailing party, the losing party's inability to pay, excessiveness of the claimed costs, and the closeness of the issues presented. Id.

         A federal statute “enumerates expenses that a federal court may tax as a cost under the discretionary authority found in Rule 54(d).” Crawford Fitting Co. v. J. T. Gibbons, Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 441-42 (1987); see 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The allowable costs are:

(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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