Case Law

Court Affirms Taxation of E-Discovery Costs to Prevailing Party Under 28 USC §1920


Race Tires Am., Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 2011 WL 1748620 (W.D. Pa. May 6, 2011). In this antitrust litigation, the plaintiffs moved to appoint a special master and to review the taxation of electronic discovery costs awarded to the defendants. Refusing to appoint a special master to review the reasonableness of the e-discovery costs this late in litigation, the court remarked that its "understanding that e-discovery has become a necessary and sometimes costly function of civil litigation" was the only special expertise necessary. Turning to the clerk of court’s taxation of electronic discovery costs – totaling $143,007.05 and $246,101.41 for the respective defendants – the court considered the plaintiffs' objection that the costs were not taxable pursuant to Title 28 U.S.C. § 1920. As a matter of first impression for the court, it reviewed the varying case law among the jurisdictions but noted that since the section's language was amended in 2008, "no court has categorically excluded e-discovery costs" under § 1920. Finding that the costs paid to third party vendors were necessary for highly technical services and not merely for the convenience of the parties, the court held they were properly taxable to the plaintiffs.

Keywords: taxation, e-discovery, special master, vendor, costs