United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
November 18, 2005.
NATHANIEL OWENS, ET AL., Plaintiffs,
MARTIN F. HORN, ET AL., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. CAPUTO, District Judge
Presently before me is Plaintiffs' request that copying costs
associated with document discovery be shifted to the Defendants,
or presumably paid by the United States. The Plaintiffs are
proceeding in forma pauperis, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and request
that all documents requested be copied at the expense of
Defendants and then supplied to Plaintiffs.
28 U.S.C. § 1915 permits people without funds to proceed
without paying filing fees. There is nothing in 28 U.S.C. § 1915
which provides for the payment of litigation costs by the United
States, and there is nothing in it which indicates an opposing
party should pay for copying of discovery documents.
There is authority that such costs are not payable by the
Court. See, e.g. Garraway v. Morabito, 2003 WL 21051724
(N.D.N.Y 2003). Moreover, 28 U.S.C. § 1915 contemplates that an
in forma pauperis party must pay any costs taxed against him or
her at the conclusion of a suit, thereby indicating a
Congressional interest not to relieve such a party from
litigation costs and expenses except for filing fees. Similarly, it is inappropriate to shift these costs to the
Defendants. Simply because the Defendants are agents of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is not reason enough to shift these
costs. The intent of 28 U.S.C. § 1915 is not to provide an
advantage to an indigent litigant, but rather to provide access
to the courts. Financing any litigation so filed and allowed is
another question. I find the weight of authority and reason is
against placing such costs on the United States, and I find it
unwarranted to shift them to the Defendants.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Plaintiffs
shall be responsible for the payment of the costs and expenses of
pursuing this litigation.
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