United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jonathan A. Strauss, Esq., Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Esq., and
Sonia L. Miller-Van Oort, Esq., Sapientia Law Group,
Minneapolis, MN, on behalf of Plaintiffs.
M. Tindal, Esq., Jon K. Iverson, Esq., and Stephanie A.
Angolkar, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, MN, on
behalf of Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the undersigned United States District Judge
for a ruling on Plaintiffs Jennifer Rae Heglund and Jamie Lee
Heglund's (“Plaintiffs”) Motion for Review of
the Clerk's Action Regarding Cost Judgment [Docket No.
238] (“Motion”). Plaintiffs argue that the
October 7, 2016 Cost Judgment [Docket No. 236] should be
reduced by $1, 240.00. Plaintiffs also request staying
execution of the Cost Judgment pending their appeal to the
Eighth Circuit. For the reasons set forth below,
Plaintiffs' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
underlying action alleges violations of the Driver's
Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”). Plaintiffs
originally sued nearly three dozen Minnesota cities, over one
dozen Minnesota counties, the current and former Commissioner
of the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”),
unknown DPS employees, unknown individuals, and unknown
entities, including cities, counties, and municipalities, as
defendants. Because the complete factual background of this
dispute has been fully recited in previous orders, only facts
pertinent to the present dispute will be presented.
September 5, 2014, the listed City Defendants, other than
Grand Rapids, were dismissed on statute of limitations
grounds. See Mem. Op. Order [Docket No. 138]. On
June 1, 2016, Defendants City of Grand Rapids and Frank
Scherf's Motion for Summary Judgment was granted.
See Mem. Op. Order [Docket No. 215]. On June 17,
2016, Defendants Cities of Aitkin, Babbitt, Biwabik,
Breiting, Chisholm, Deer River, Ely, Emily, Eveleth,
Floodwood, Forest Lake, Gilbert, Hermantown, Hill City, Hoyt
Lakes, International Falls, Keewatin, Leech Lake, Maple
Grove, Nashwauk, Orono, Roseau, Sartell, St. James, Two
Harbors, Cook, Cloquet, and Grand Rapids, and former Grand
Rapids Assistant Chief of Police Frank Scherf
(“Defendants”) filed their Bill of Costs [Docket
No. 222] totaling $3, 311.85. The Affidavit in Support of the
Bill of Costs [Docket No. 223] claimed $2, 275.00 for
deposition transcripts, $904.65 for mileage and hotel fees,
$112.20 for copies, and $20.00 for docket fees.
Objected [Docket No. 225] to the Bill of Costs, arguing that
the total should be reduced by $2, 144.65 to offset untaxable
costs related to certain depositions and travel expenses. On
October 7, 2016, the Clerk entered a Cost Judgment [Docket
No. 236] in favor of Defendants for $2, 407.20. The Clerk
agreed with Plaintiffs that travel expenses were not taxable,
but disagreed that the challenged deposition expenses should
seek review of the Clerk's decision to award Defendants
the full amount of their deposition expenses, arguing that
because Plaintiffs settled their claims with St. Louis
County, Defendants did not reasonably rely upon the
depositions of St. Louis County personnel in defending this
action. Plaintiffs also request staying enforcement of the
Cost Judgment pending their appeal to the Eighth Circuit.
Defendants argue that the deposition costs are properly taxed
because Plaintiffs refused a Rule 68 Offer of Judgment that
was more favorable than dismissal. Defendants also oppose a
object to Defendants' recovery of deposition costs of St.
Louis County employees. Plaintiffs argue that since the City
of Grand Rapids and Frank Scherf in no way relied upon the
depositions of St. Louis County employees to prevail at
summary judgment, the expenses related to the depositions
were not reasonably related to the defenses or dismissal and
should not have been taxed by the Clerk. Defendants respond
that Federal Rule of Procedure 68(d) provides for costs
incurred after an unaccepted settlement offer if the judgment
ultimately obtained is more favorable than the rejected
offer. According to Defendants, since Plaintiffs rejected a
more favorable Rule 68 offer, they are entitled to recoup the
costs they incurred after the offer was made.
U.S.C. § 1920(2) provides for taxation of costs for
“printed or electronically recorded transcripts
necessarily obtained for use in the case.” See also
Marmo v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., 457 F.3d 748, 762-63
(8th Cir. 2006). The District of Minnesota Bill of Costs
Guide echoes §1920(2), requiring that “[t]he
requesting party explain why the transcript was necessarily
obtained.” United States District Court for ...