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Thompson v. Kanabec County

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 2, 2019

Wendy Thompson, Plaintiff,
v.
Kanabec County and Milles Lacs County, Defendants.

          Adrianna Shannon, Esq., and Bonnie Smith, Esq., Shannon Law, LLC, counsel for Plaintiff.

          Cally R. Kjellberg-Nelson, Esq., and Dyan J. Ebert, Esq., Quinlivan & Hughes, PA; counsel for Defendant Kanabec County.

          H. Morrison Kershner, Esq., Kendra Elizabeth Olson, Esq., and Kristi A. Hastings, Esq., Pemberton, Sorlie, Rufer & Kershner, counsel for Defendant Mille Lacs County.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Donovan W. Frank United States District Judge.

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Wendy Thompson's (“Thompson”) Motion for Review of Taxation of Costs. (Doc. No. 210.)

         BACKGROUND

         This Court granted summary judgment on Thompson's federal claim in favor of Defendant Kanabec County (“Kanabec”) and dismissed it with prejudice. (Doc. No. 195.) Absent a federal claim, the Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Thompson's state claims against Defendants Kanabec and Mille Lacs County (“Mille Lacs”) (collectively, “Defendants”) and dismissed them without prejudice. (Id.)

         Thereafter, Kanabec and Mille Lacs each filed a Bill of Costs. (Doc Nos. 197, 198.) Thompson objected to Kanabec's Bill of Costs (Doc. Nos. 198, 199), but did not object to Mille Lacs' Bill of Costs.[1] The clerk entered judgment in favor of Kanabec in the amount of $2, 877.80 (Doc. No. 207) and Mille Lacs in the amount of $3, 130.70 (Doc. No. 208).[2] Thompson filed a motion for review of the clerk's cost judgment with respect to both Kanabec and Mille Lacs. (Doc. No. 210.)

         Thompson argues that the cost judgments are premature because Kanabec and Mille Lacs are not prevailing parties. (Doc. No. 212. at 1.) She argues further that even if Defendants are prevailing parties, the cost judgments are unjust because of the financial disparities between she and the Defendants. (Id. at 2.) Kanabec and Mille Lacs each filed a response in opposition to Thompson's motion for review. (Doc. Nos. 217, 218.)

         DISCUSSION

         I. Legal Standard

         Under 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d), the Court has “substantial discretion” in awarding costs to a prevailing party. Zotos v. Lindbergh, 121 F.3d 356, 363 (8th Cir. 1997). Unless a federal statute, rule, or court provides otherwise, “costs- other than attorney's fees-should be allowed to the prevailing party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1).

         To overcome the presumption of taxation, Thompson has the burden to show that the cost judgment “is inequitable under the circumstances.” Concord Board Corp. v. Brunswick Corp., 309 F.3d 494, 498 ...


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