Court awards more than $28,000 to Dyno Nobel for costs in injury suit

By Tomas Kassahun | Jan 4, 2019

ST. LOUIS – The U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri Eastern Division has awarded more than $28,000 to Dyno Nobel Inc. for expenses it incurred in an injury lawsuit.

According to the court's Dec. 28 opinion, memorandum and order, Dyno Nobel was the prevailing party in a lawsuit with plaintiffs Teddy and Melanie Scott, who alleged Teddy was exposed to harmful substances emitted from a smokestack at Dyno Nobel’s Plant while working at the neighboring Calumet facility.

The district court said Dyno Nobel Inc. conceded that the costs associated with expediting deposition transcripts are ordinarily not taxable and agreed to a reduction of $713.40. 

“Defendant also has agreed to reduce its costs by $390.10 for charges relating to Novitex’s ‘assisting case team with case documents,’” the opinion stated. “Defendant’s costs therefore will be reduced by $1,103.50.”

The court said the plaintiffs objected to $157.50 for a deposition that did not occur. 

“The objection is overruled,” the opinion stated. “‘If a witness is subpoenaed to appear at trial in good faith, the costs may be taxed even if the witness does not actually testify.’”

Additionally, the court said plaintiffs objected to defendant’s charge costs of $7,279.45 and $612.36 for photocopies. 

“Plaintiffs object to the lack of specific detail of what was copied, when it was copied, how many pages were copied or the charge per page,” the opinion stated.

According to the court, "the defendant has supplemented its bill of costs with the invoices for the copies and the court agrees with defendant that a specific detail of what copies were made is unnecessarily burdensome."

The district court added that the plaintiffs also objected "to the use of management services for discovery materials."

Those types of costs are taxable in the district, according to the court.

“Plaintiff’s objections regarding copies and third party management are overruled,” the opinion stated.

The plaintiffs also objected to the charge for syncing the video transcript to the written transcript, the district court said.

According to the court, the defendant argued that these charges have been found to be taxable as reasonably necessary for a party to present videotaped depositions to a jury.

The court, however, disagreed with the defendant, saying it’s not a charge for the written transcript or the video of the deposition.

“The court agrees with plaintiff that defendants cannot recover their synchronization costs associated with this deposition, as ‘synchronization of the written and video deposition transcripts’ is not a fee for the transcript,” the opinion cited. “It is a part of a party’s plan to present evidence to the jury and ... is not recoverable.”

Therefore, the court reduced the bill of costs by $2,110.

The district court concluded that the bill of costs is granted in part and partially denied, reducing it by $3,213.50.

“The clerk of the court shall tax costs in favor of defendant and against plaintiffs in the amount of $28,963.33,” the opinion stated. 

According to the court, Dyno Nobel prevailed in the lawsuit in August after the court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff’s injury was not foreseeable by defendant.

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