United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge
March 21, 2019, a jury returned a verdict in favor of the
Commonwealth of Virginia, the Virginia Department of
Alcoholic Beverage Control, and the Virginia Alcoholic
Beverage Control Board (collectively, the "ABC
defendants") on the plaintiffs claim of hostile work
environment based on sexual harassment, in violation of Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII").
The ABC defendants have since filed a bill of costs pursuant
to Rule 54(d)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For
the reasons that follow, the court will award the ABC
defendants costs in the amount of $2, 472.97.
Wheeler filed this action against the ABC defendants on July
18, 2017, asserting a claim of hostile work environment under
Title VII. Wheeler later amended her complaint to
include a claim of retaliation against the ABC defendants. On
February 20, 2019, the court granted summary judgment to the
ABC defendants on the claim of retaliation. On March 21,
2019, a jury found in favor of the ABC defendants on the
hostile work environment claim. On March 25, 2019, the court
entered final judgment in favor of the ABC defendants.
case is now before the court on the ABC defendants'
request for an award of costs in the amount of $5,
985.03. The matter has been fully briefed and is
ripe for review.
of the Applicable Law
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)). The United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has recognized that the
language of Rule 54(d)(1) gives rise to a "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 "articulat[e] 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 Fed.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).
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 ...