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Cloud Farm Associates L.P v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

September 25, 2018

CLOUD FARM ASSOCIATES, L.P, Plaintiff,
v.
VOLKSWAGEN GROUP OF AMERICA, INC., and ZF SACHS AG, Defendants.

          Joseph C. Schoell, DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP, Wilmington, DE Wilson M. Brown, III, DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP, Philadelphia, PA Patrick J. Kelleher, DRINKER BIDDLE & REATH LLP, Chicago, IL Attorneys for Plaintiff.

          James D. Taylor, SAUL EWING ARNSTEIN & LEHR LLP, Wilmington, DE Michael J. Lennon and Georg C. Reitboeck, ANDREWS KURTH KENYON LLP, New York, NY Susan A. Smith, ANDREWS KURTH KENYON LLP, Washington, DC Attorneys for Defendant Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         In June 2010, Plaintiff Cloud Farm Associates LP ("Plaintiff or "Cloud Farm") filed this patent infringement action against two defendants, including Volkswagen Group of America Inc. ("Defendant" or "Volkswagen"). (D.I. 1) On July 27, 2012, the Court issued a first Claim Construction Opinion and Order. (D.I. 163, 164) On August 10, 2015, the Court issued a second Claim Construction Opinion and Order. (D.I. 340, 341)[1] On October 21, 2015, the parties requested a stay of the proceedings, having jointly concluded that "the issues to be prosecuted and tried in light of the Court's claim construction rulings" made it appropriate "to submit a stipulation of non-infringement and invalidity concerning the patents in suit, together with a proposed final order and judgment for the Court's consideration, reserving the parties' rights to appeal the Court's holdings on claim construction." (D.I. 345) On December 4, 2015, the parties submitted a Joint Stipulation of Non-Infringement and Invalidity and proposed Final Judgment. (D.I. 349) The Court entered Final Judgment on December 8, 2015. (D.I. 350)

         On April 17, 2016, Volkswagen filed a Bill of Costs, supported by a Declaration of Georg Reitboeck, with the Clerk of Court. (D.I. 355) Cloud Farm objected to the Bill of Costs on May 1, 2017. (D.I. 356) The Clerk entered its Taxation of Costs on January 10, 2018. (D.I. 357)

         Pending before the Court is Volkswagen's Motion for Review of Clerk's Taxation of Costs. (D.I. 358) Specifically, Volkswagen requests review of the Clerk's denial of $931.74 for hearing transcripts and $20, 423.49 for deposition transcripts. (D.I. 357 at 2-3; D.I. 358 at 1) The motion is fully briefed. (See D.I. 358, 359, 360) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Volkswagen's motion.

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         "Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d) gives courts the discretion to award costs to prevailing parties." Taniguchi v. Kan.Pac. Saipan, Ltd., 566 U.S. 560, 565 (2012). In particular, Rule 54(d)(1) provides: "Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs - other than attorney's fees - should be allowed to the prevailing party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). As the Third Circuit has observed, Rule 54(d)(1) "uses the word 'costs' as a term of art, rather than to refer to all expenses a prevailing party may incur in a given action." In re Paoli R.R. Yard PCB Litig., 221 F.3d 449, 458 (3d Cir. 2000).

         The categories of costs that are taxable are established by statute: 28 U.S.C. § 1920, a statute to which the Supreme Court "has accorded a narrow reading." Race Tires Am., Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 674 F.3d 158, 171 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Crawford Fitting Co. v. J.T. Gibbons Inc., 482 U.S. 437, 442 (1987)). Section 1920 states, in full:

A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as costs the following:
(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained ...

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