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Civil Practice – Costs – Discovery – Electronically Stored Information – Copying Only

Civil Practice – Costs – Discovery – Electronically Stored Information – Copying Only

Country Vintner of North Carolina, LLC v. E. & J. Gallo Winery, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-02-0860, 7 pp.) (W. Earl Britt, Sr.J.) 5:09-cv-00326; E.D.N.C.

Holding: Even though defendant (the prevailing party) spent $111,047.75 for the technical, specialized services that were needed in order to “collect, process, preserve, track, copy to digital format, and ultimately produce” the large amount of electronically stored information (ESI) that was utilized in the discovery process in this case, under 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4), defendant is only entitled to recover “fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies….”

Defendant is awarded $218.59 in ESI-related costs and $350 for court fees.

The Fourth Circuit has not determined whether costs incurred in relation to the collection, processing, and production of ESI are taxable under § 1920(4).

The court adopts the reasoning of Race Tires America, Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp., 674 F.3d 158 (3d Cir.); petition for cert. filed, No. 11-1520 (U.S. June 14, 2012). Thereunder, a prevailing party may recover costs associated with copying or duplicating its files, but it may not receive reimbursement for any other ESI-related expenses.

In this case, the only tasks that involve copying are the conversion of native files to .tff and .pdf formats and the transfer of files onto CDs.


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