The Clerk in the US District Court in Utah has signed off on most of the costs Novell asked for from the second SCO v. Novell trial. For the rest, they can ask the judge, as some of the expenses, while the clerk might find them reasonable in a case of this type, can't be ordered by the clerk. Either side now has seven days to ask the judge to review.
Here's the document:
We've reported on every event in the SCO saga, big or small, and so I'm telling you about this next tiny piece in the stupidest lawsuit in the history of the world. But the Greek chorus in me has to whisper in your ear that I don't think Novell will ever see a dime in real life, and not just because it's about to be swallowed alive by Attachmate. It's just that when I look at SCO's usual M.O., what I see is they only pay their own lawyers. They still owe Novell costs from the first trial. I mean, SCO tried to get taxation of costs stayed, which failed, and then it objected to things like folder and binder costs and preparation of trial material costs. SCO is tirelessly awful, judging by my ethical framework. But they certainly are tireless, are they not?
12/06/2010 - 894 - Costs Taxed in amount of $ 187,817.95 for Defendant against Plaintiff signed by Louise York, Chief Deputy Clerk 12/6/2010. (las) (Entered: 12/07/2010)
Here's the text, and I've put in links to the earlier filings mentioned, for your convenience -- they're not in the original:
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
The SCO Group, Inc,
TAXATION OF COSTS
Case No. 2:04 cv 139 TS
Judgment in the above-entitled matter was entered on June 10, 2010. A
bill of costs and
supporting documentation was filed on June 24, 2010. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on July
7, 2010 and a motion to stay the taxation of costs. Defendant objected to the stay of taxation of
costs on July 26, 2010. The court denied the stay on August 17, 2010 and the plaintiff filed its
objections to the cost bill on August 26, 2010. The defendant
replied to the objections on
September 7, 2010.
The objections identify specific items included in the cost bill which it asserts are not
appropriate for taxation under 28 U.S.C. § 1920. In response to the objections of the plaintiff,
the defendant withdrew two contested items, $21,936 for mock trial graphics and $2,914.74 for
folder and binder costs. There remain two areas of contested costs.
The first area are amounts requested for preparation and presentation of trial material
including trial presenter fees for a technology consulting services, graphics consultation and the
slide presentation. The defendant objects to the taxation of these costs because they either are
inappropriate for taxation as professional services or, if considered part of the costs of
exemplification for trial, should be disallowed for failure to meet the test of necessity for use in
the case. The plaintiff responded by noting the highly technical nature of the claims of this cases.
Both parties availed themselves of the court's technological resources and both parties employed
a trial technician. The court itself noted that the trial proceeded smoothly because of the high
quality of the technological resources. The court has discretion to allow such professional fees
but the discretion lies with the judge, not with the clerk who taxes costs as a ministerial duty.
Trial presenter costs, like attorney fees, are not within the scope of the clerk's authority to tax
costs which is limited to the items in 28 U.S.C. § 1920. The clerk disallows the $72,832.50
which are designated as trial presenter fees.
The clerk notes the special nature of this litigation and the need for extensive
exemplification of data for use of the jury during trial. The fact that each party used similar
resources at trial supports the defendant's position that the costs of preparing graphic exhibits
meet the test of being necessary for use in the case. The plaintiff cites cases which state that
courts regularly impose a requirement for prior authorization of costs which generate great
expense and states that the costs should be disallowed on this basis. The clerk notes that prior
authorization has not been required in this district and that the parity of the sophistication of the
trial exhibits for both parties suggest that these extensive, costly exhibits were reasonable in light
of the nature of this case. The clerk will allow the taxation of the requested $32,725.75 for the
graphics costs as exemplification costs at trial.
The plaintiff further objects to the taxation of the copy costs requested by the defendant
on the basis that there were insufficient support to establish that the copies were necessarily
obtained for use in the case. The specific objection is that there was no showing of the nature of
the documents copied and how these documents necessary for use in the case. The plaintiff
further objects to the costs as patently unreasonable as to the number of pages copied and the
time period in which the copying occurred.
The defendant notes that the requirement to support copying costs does not require
excessive documentation of every single copy made but that more general support was sufficient
to show that the material copied was for documents necessarily obtained for use in the case as
required by 28 U.S.C. § 1920.
The clerk notes that the costs of obtaining documents from third parties are clearly
taxable under 28 U.S.C. § 1920, but the internal copying costs of law firms are more
questionable. Many internal copies are made for the convenience of counsel and should be
considered part of office overhead which is included in the hourly fees for attorney services
charged by members of a law firm. Copies of cases and convenience copies of pleadings are
generally not taxable by the clerk. The plaintiff identifies $62,382.28 in copy costs which it feels
have not been established as reasonable and necessarily obtained for use in the case. The clerk is
also unable to decipher what material is represented by the internal billing sheets attached as
support to the bill of costs. Clearly, in this complex litigation, there are recoverable copy costs.
The clerk will reduce the copy costs by $30,000.00 for lack of supporting documentation but will
allow the remaining $32,383.28 of costs requested.
Total costs allowed are $187,817.95 and are included in the judgment. The parties are
further notified that the clerk's taxation may be reviewed by the court upon motion filed within
DATED this 6th day of December, 2010.
D. MARK JONES
Louise S. York, Chief Deputy