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Court Denies Defendant’s Request for Attorney’s Fees, But Does Award Costs – M.D. Fl.

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  • Court Denies Defendant’s Request for Attorney’s Fees, But Does Award Costs – M.D. Fl.

    Court Denies Defendant’s Request for Attorney’s Fees, But Does Award Costs – M.D. Fl.

    Attached is a case out of the Middle District of Florida, Marx v. Baker County Medical Services, Inc. et. al. The case is before the court on defendant’s motion for taxation of costs and attorney’s fees. The court denies defendant’s request for attorney’s fees, but does award partial costs.

    …“a non-prevailing party’s financial status is a factor that a district court may, but need not, consider in its award of costs pursuant to Rule 54(d).” Chapman v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1039 (11th Cir. 2000). “If a district court in determining the amount of costs to award chooses to consider the nonprevailing party’s financial status, it should require substantial documentation of a true inability to pay.” Id. “If the court considers a party’s financial status, it ‘may not decline to award any costs at all.’” Jessup v. Miami-Dade Cty., No. 08-21571-CIV, 2011 WL 294417, at *1 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 27, 2011) (quoting Jenner v. Bank of Am. Corp., 304 F. App’x 857, 860 (11th Cir. 2009)).

    Here, Plaintiff has provided an affidavit demonstrating that he resigned his position as Respiratory Supervisor at Promise Hospital in October 2017 due to severe knee pain and problems with his neck. (Doc. 45-1). He and his wife are living on Social Security Income disbursements which total $2,622 per month. While Plaintiff is not completely indigent, he states that he cannot pay court costs. Plaintiff has identified significant monthly expenses, limited savings, ongoing health issues related to his knees, anxiety, and depression, ongoing health issues related to his wife’s mental health, and medical bills related to a fainting spell he suffered in June 2018 as reasons he will be unable to pay Defendants’ costs. Upon careful consideration of Eleventh Circuit case law identifying relevant factors in determining whether to reduce a cost award, and in light of the information in Plaintiff’s affidavit demonstrating his inability to pay a hefty cost award, the Court concludes that a reduction of 50% of Defendants’ reasonable costs is appropriate. See Jessup, 2011 WL 294417, at *2 (reducing Defendants’ reasonable costs by 45%, resulting in a total award of $20,252.89).

    In sum, Defendants requested costs of $17,304.95. The Court reduced that request by $1,960.57 ($1770.70 in deposition fees; $47.50 in postage; and $142.37 in witness/mileage fees). Thus, Defendants’ reasonable costs are $15,344.38. The Court reduces that award by 50% based on Plaintiff’s financial status, for a total cost award of $7,672.19.
    Attached Files