United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
JOSEPH J. GERMINARO, an individual, and GABRIELLA P. GERMINARO, an individual, Plaintiffs,
FIDELITY NATIONAL TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY and COMMONWEALTH LAND TITLE INSURANCE CORPORATION, a Nebraska corporation, and DOES 1 through 100, Defendants.
Barry Fischer Senior United States District Judge.
NOW, this day 31st of July, 2019, upon consideration of the
Motion for Relief from Taxation of Costs (Docket No. )
filed by Plaintiffs Joseph J. Germinaro and Gabriella P.
Germinaro (“Plaintiffs”), the Brief in Opposition
filed by Defendants Fidelity National Title Insurance Company
and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Corporation
(“Defendants”) (Docket No. 193), Plaintiffs'
reply brief (Docket No. 195), and Defendants' sur-reply
brief (Docket No. 197), and in light of the standard
governing motions for relief from taxation of costs, IT IS
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' Motion is GRANTED, IN PART, and
DENIED, IN PART.
filed a complaint against Defendants Fidelity National Title
Insurance Company and Commonwealth Land Title Insurance
Company alleging that their violation of the Racketeer
Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §
1961, et seq. (“RICO”) prevented
Plaintiffs from effectuating a tax-deferred land exchange
pursuant to 26 U.S.C. § 1031. (Docket Nos. 12, 177).
After discovery closed, the parties filed cross-motions for
summary judgment. (Docket Nos. 199, 124). This Court granted
Defendants' motion on February 21, 2017, and denied
Plaintiffs' partial motion. (Docket Nos. 177-78). Thirty
days later, Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal (Docket No.
180), and Defendants filed a Bill of Costs (Docket No. 181).
Given the pending appeal, the Clerk of Courts
(“Clerk”) notified the parties that he would not
take any action on the Bill of Costs until disposition of the
appeal. (Docket No. 183).
the Third Circuit affirmed this Court's ruling,
Defendants advised the Clerk of the judgment and renewed
their request for $19, 394.52 in costs. (Docket Nos. 181,
184, 186). Plaintiffs filed objections on December 11, 2018.
(Docket Nos. 187, 188). After considering the Plaintiffs'
substantial objections, on June 10, 2019, the Clerk taxed
costs in the amount of $11, 417.00 in favor of Defendants and
against Plaintiffs. (Docket Nos. 189, 190). Seven days later,
Plaintiffs timely filed their Motion for Relief from
Taxation. (Docket No. 191); see Fed. R. Civ. P.
54(d)(1) (mandating “[o]n motion served within the next
7 days, the court may review the clerk's action”).
Standard of Review
Court addresses costs de novo. Camesi v. Univ.
of Pittsburgh Med. Ctr., 673 Fed.Appx. 141, 144 (3d Cir.
2016). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) provides, in
relevant part, “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). To this end, “the
rule creates the ‘strong presumption' that costs
are to be awarded to the prevailing party” and
“[o]nly if the losing party can introduce evidence, and
the district court can articulate reasons within the bounds
of its equitable power, should costs be reduced or denied to
the prevailing party.” In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB
Litig., 221 F.3d 449, 462, 468 (3d Cir. 2000).
“Thus, if a district court, within its discretion,
denies or reduces a prevailing party's award of costs, it
must articulate its reasons for doing so.”
Reger v. Nemours Found., Inc., 599 F.3d 285, 288 (3d
Cir. 2010) (citing In re Paoli, 221 F.3d at 468;
Mathews v. Crosby, 480 F.3d 1265, 1276 (11th Cir.
2007)) (emphasis added). However, a district court is
not required to write an opinion or explain its
reasoning “when it affirms a Clerk of Court's award
of litigation costs.” Id. at 289.
As a general rule, the following costs are recoverable by the
(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 materials 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 ...