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Kuznyetsov v. West Penn Allegheny Health System, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

October 23, 2014

ANDREW KUZNYETSOV, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
WEST PENN ALLEGHENY HEALTH SYSTEM, INC., et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

DONETTA W. AMBROSE, Senior District Judge.

Plaintiffs filed a Motion to Review Taxation of Costs. (ECF No. 160). Plaintiffs are seeking judicial review of the Clerk of Court's taxation of costs against them in the amount of $60, 890.97. Id. Defendants filed a response thereto. (ECF No. 163). After careful review of the submissions of the parties and as set forth more fully below, I am granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs' Motion.

I. Background

The named Plaintiffs, Andrew Kuznyetsov, Charles Boal and Marthann Heilman filed a collective action pursuant to §216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") against Defendants. I conditionally certified the collective action and approximately 14, 800 notices were sent to current and former employees. Over 1, 000 Plaintiffs opted in. This figure was narrowed down to 824 opt-in Plaintiffs through motions and voluntary dismissals.

Discovery was contentious and the motions practice was excessive. As a result, a special master was appointed to rule on all discovery and related motions.

On December 20, 2011, I decertified the collective action holding that the 824 opt-in Plaintiffs were not similarly situated. Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Voluntary Dismissal. I granted the Motion dismissing the claims of the opt-in Plaintiffs without prejudice and dismissing the claims of the named Plaintiffs with prejudice. On March 29, 2012, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal and on September 4, 2013, the Third Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

On October 15, 2013, Defendants filed a Bill of Costs seeking a total of $78, 561.77. On October 31, 2014, the Clerk of Courts filed a Letter calling for objections to the Bill of Costs. On January 20, 2014, the named Plaintiffs filed Objections to the Bill of Costs and Defendants filed a response thereto. On August 1, 2014, the Clerk of Courts issued his Taxation of Costs in the amount of $60, 890.97 in favor of Defendants and against the named Plaintiffs.

Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Motion to Review Taxation of Costs. (ECF No. 160). Defendants filed a response thereto. (ECF No. 163). The issues are now ripe for review.

II. Standard of Review

The taxation of costs by a clerk of court is subject to de novo review by a district court. Reger v. Nemours Found. Inc., 599 F.3d 285, 288 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 221 F.3d 449, 458 (3d Cir. 2000)).

Rule 54 of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure addresses the issue of costs and provides, in pertinent part, that "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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). Rule 54(d)(1) creates a strong presumption that costs are to be awarded to the prevailing party.[1] In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 221 F.3d at 462. The costs mentioned in Rule 54(d)(1) are defined in 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and include:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained ...

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