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National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA v. Federal Insurance Co.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 19, 2017

NATIONAL UNION FIRE INSURANCE COMPANY OF PITTSBURGH, PA, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

          ORDER

          PHILIP A. BRIMMER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on National Union's Motion to Review Taxation of Costs [Docket No. 801] filed by plaintiff National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA.

         I. BACKGROUND

         This case arose out of a hard-fought insurance coverage dispute. Docket No. 1. Ultimately, the Court entered summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on its declaratory judgment claim and on defendant's counterclaims, which included claims under Colorado law. Docket No. 785. On September 30, 2016, final judgment was entered. Docket No. 786.

         On October 14, 2016, plaintiff filed a proposed bill of costs, seeking $647, 198.44. Docket No. 788. On October 27, 2016, the Clerk of Court held a hearing on plaintiff's bill of costs and verbally indicated what costs were recoverable. Docket No. 801 at 5. On November 14, 2016, the Clerk of Court entered a written taxation of $53, 363.67 in costs. Docket No. 798. The Clerk of the Court awarded costs only pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and, through an apportionment, awarded only one-third of some amounts sought based on there originally being three defendant groups. Id. at 2. On November 21, 2016, plaintiff filed its motion for review. Docket No. 801. After withdrawing some costs, plaintiff now seeks $506, 564.70. Docket No. 803 at 10.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides that, “[u]nless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs - other than attorney's fees - should be allowed to the prevailing party.” “[T]he taxing of costs pursuant to Rule 54(d)(1) rests in the sound judicial discretion of the trial court, and an abuse of that discretion occurs only where the trial court bases its decision on an erroneous conclusion of law or where there is no rational basis in the evidence for the ruling.” Allison v. Bank One-Denver, 289 F.3d 1223, 1248 (10th Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted). Rule 54 “creates a presumption that the district court will award costs to the prevailing party.” Cantrell v. Int'l Bhd. of Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO, Local 2021, 69 F.3d 456, 459 (10th Cir. 1995) (citing Serna v. Manzano, 616 F.2d 1165, 1167 (10th Cir. 1980)). The Court's discretion to award or deny costs is restrained by the requirement that “it must provide a valid reason for not awarding costs to a prevailing party.” Cantrell, 69 F.3d at 459 (citing Serna, 616 F.2d at 1167-68).

         Section 1920 of Title 28 provides that the Clerk of Court may tax the following items as costs awarded pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1):

(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 material where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services ...

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