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Yudenko v. Guarinni

June 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.


Following an August 2009 jury trial, judgment was entered in favor of Lancaster County and against Andrey Yudenko in this prisoner civil rights case. Vincent Guarinni, Lance Seibert, Robert Bodnar, and Brian Weaver were dismissed prior to trial.

On November 6, 2009, Mr. Guarinni, Mr. Seibert, Mr. Bodnar, Mr. Weaver, and Lancaster County filed a bill of costs, to which Mr. Yudenko objected. On February 19, 2010, the Clerk of Court taxed costs in the amount of $3,576.37.*fn1 Mr. Yudenko filed this motion to vacate the clerk's taxation of costs. For the reasons discussed below, this motion will be granted.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) provides: "Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs--other than attorney's fees--should be allowed to the prevailing party.... The clerk may tax costs on 14 days notice. On motion served within the next 7 days, the court may review the clerk's action." The defendants filed a timely bill of costs.

Mr. Yudenko objects to specific costs taxed by the Clerk of Court and requests the taxation of costs be vacated because he is indigent. Some of the challenged costs are taxable. The bill of costs, however, will be vacated due to Mr. Yudenko's indigency.

A. Objections to Specific Costs

A prevailing party in a civil case may recover filing fees, copying costs, witness fees, printing costs, compensation for certain experts, and fees for interpreters.*fn2 Mr. Yudenko challenges the taxation of the following costs: photocopying costs; certain costs associated with the depositions, including delivery and postage fees, charges for copies of exhibits, and travel expenses; and the charges for subpoena and copy service for medical records.

1. Photocopy Costs

Mr. Yudenko maintains the photocopy costs should not be allowed because the photocopy invoices are not itemized. Motion to Vacate at 7.

The "costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case" are taxable. 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4). "The party seeking costs for copying... must provide evidence of the material copied so that the court can determine whether each copy was in fact necessary." Montgomery Co. v. Microvote Corp., 2004 WL 1087196, at *7 (E.D. Pa. May 13, 2004) (quoting Herbst v. General Accident Ins. Co., 2000 WL 1185517, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Aug. 21, 2000)). Although "the prevailing party is not expected to provide a detailed description of every piece of paper copied, it is expected to provide the 'best breakdown of the copied material obtainable from its records.'" Montgomery Co., 2004 WL 1087196, at *7 (quoting Ass'n of Minority Contractors & Suppliers, Inc. v. Halliday Props., Inc., 1999 WL 1551903, at *4 (E.D. Pa. June 24, 1999)).

Where the prevailing party does not provide an itemized description of the copying, courts have disallowed or reduced the photocopying costs because they were unable to determine whether the costs were necessary. See Morgan-Mapp v. George W. Hill Correctional Facility, 2009 WL 1035141, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 16, 2009) (where prevailing party "provide[d] no description of the material being copied," the court could not determine whether the copies were necessary and the court did not allow the unidentified costs to be taxed); Montgomery County, 2004 WL 1087196, at *8 (reducing copying costs because the prevailing party failed "to provide an adequate breakdown of copying costs"); Elliott, Reihner, Siedzikoski, & Egan, Inc. v. Richter, 2000 WL 427377, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 20, 2000) (disallowing the taxation of copying costs because the costs were not itemized, the prevailing party merely submitted a chart with dates and corresponding amounts without a description of the items copied); Ass'n of Minority Contractors and Suppliers, 1999 WL 551903, at *4 (copying costs not taxed because prevailing party "[did] not provide a sufficient breakdown of their copying costs to enable the court to evaluate the necessity of these costs").

Although defendants provided receipts for the photocopying, they do not provide a description of the photocopies obtained.*fn3 See The Bill of Costs to the Clerk of Courts of Defendants Vincent Guarini, et al. at Exh. B, Yudenko v. Guarini, No. 06-4161 (E.D. Pa. filed Nov. 6, 2009). Therefore, I am unable to determine ...

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