California District Court Slashes Award of Taxable Costs, Citing SCOTUS Taniguchi Opinion

20 Sep 2013

In our last blog, we briefly reviewed the facts and holding of the Supreme Court case Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. 132 S.CT. 1997 (2012). This case is being cited in Ancora Technologies, Inc. v. Apple, Inc., Case No. 11-CV-06357 YGR (N.D.Cal. August 26, 2013) to back up the argument that taxable costs under Section 1920 should be limited to the enumerated categories, and such categories should be construed narrowly. We already discussed the first two counts for review:

1. The court allowed TIFF conversion costs of $3,471.61.

2. The court denied electronic data storage costs of $71,611.52.

That was a big blow to Apple’s Bill of Costs totaling $116,366.87; how did it fare on the remaining counts?

3.  Apple sought $5,375.46 for “custom work” and “replacement” charges for “corrupted electronic documents.” However, the court denied this expense, as the Bill of Costs did not adequately offer evidence of such costs, which ran afoul of Local Rule 54-1.

4. Apple then sought costs for printing documents for deposition preparation. Ancora objected that these are not taxable, as they were for conversion to PDF and OCR. Additionally, the copying of 7,000 documents for a deposition was per se unreasonable. The court disagreed, citing Local Rule 54-3(d)(3) which allowed for any costs for formal discovery documents when used for any purpose in the case.

5. Apple requested $13,227.95 for visual aids, charts, diagrams and video. The court cited Local Rule 54-3 (d)(3) that such technical support and equipment is not taxable. The court also mulled over the Taniguchi opinion for the proposition that “…adhering closely to costs that fit within the narrow limits of section 1920 compels the conclusion that the costs be denied.”

6. Finally, Apple wanted $4,891.95 for costs associated with deposition transcripts, which were allowed under Local Rule 54-3(c)(1).

In the end, due to the Local Rules and the Taniguchi opinion interpretation, the court slashed the award of $111,158.23 to a mere $20,875.48. No doubt, Taniguchi will be cited more frequently by losing parties in federal court seeking to reduce taxation of cost awards under Section 1920.

ILS – Plaintiff Electronic Discovery Experts