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Long v. Alabama Department of Human Resources

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

May 19, 2015

JAMES LONG, Plaintiff,
v.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

MYRON H. THOMPSON, District Judge.

Plaintiff James Long filed this lawsuit against defendants Alabama Department of Human Resources, Nancy Buckner, and Sharon E. Ficquette, asserting that he was retaliated against and ultimately fired for obeying a subpoena in a co-worker's employment-discrimination case against the Department in violation of his First Amendment rights as well as his rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and the Alabama State Employees Protection Act, 1975 Ala. Code § 36-26A-1, et seq.

On January 30, 2015, this court issued an opinion and order granting summary judgment in favor of the defendants on Long's federal claims; dismissing Long's state-law claim without prejudice;[*] and ordering costs taxed against Long. Long v. Alabama Dep't of Human Res., 2015 WL 2345240, at *1 (M.D. Ala. Jan. 30, 2015) (Thompson, J.). This cause is now before the court on the defendants' bill of costs and on Long's objection to, and motion to strike, excess witness costs.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides that "Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs-other than attorneys' fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party." In their bill of costs, the defendants seek to recover a total of $7, 094.40 for the following costs:

(1) Fees for service of summons and subpoena: $35.00;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case: $4, 488.00;
(3) Fees for witnesses: $1, 926.20; and
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case: $645.20.

Long moves to strike, and objects to, only $1, 835.00 in excess witness costs for Frank Gogan because the charged $1, 875.00 was $1, 835.00 over the statutory maximum of $40.00 per day plus mileage. The defendants do not contest this objection and motion to strike.

The clerk taxed $1, 926.20 in witness costs, which can be broken down into $51.20 paid to Carolyn Rawls and $1, 875.00 to Gogan. None of Gogan's fee was for mileage. 28 U.S.C. § 1821 limits the attendance fee to $40.00 per day. Because the defendants do not contend Gogan attended for more than one day and because they do not contest the motion to strike and objection, Long's motion to strike will be granted, his objection will be sustained, and the witness fee for Gogan will be reduced from $1, 875.00 to $40.00.

For the foregoing reasons, and upon consideration of Long's motion to strike, and objection to, excess witness costs, the court concludes that costs should be allowed in the amount of $5, 259.40 and disallowed in the amount of $1, 835.00, as follows:

Requested Disallowed Allowed Fees for $ 35.00 $ 0 $ 35.00 service Fees for $ 4, 488.00 $ 0 $ 4, 488.00 transcripts Fees for $ 1, 926.20 $ 1, 835.00 $ 91.20 witnesses

Fees for $ 645.20 $ 0 $ 645.20 exemplification and copies TOTAL $ 7, 094.40 $ 1, 835.00 $ 5, 259.40

***

Accordingly, it is ORDERED that:

(1) Plaintiff James Long's objection (doc. no. 82) to the bill of costs (doc. no. 80) is sustained and his motion to strike excess witness costs (doc. no. 84) is granted to the extent that $1, 835.00 of the requested costs are disallowed and $5, 259.40 of the requested costs are allowed.

(2) Costs in the amount of $5, 259.40 are taxed against plaintiff Long, for which execution may issue.


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