Litigation Expenses Dispute and the Supreme Court
In Rimini Street, Inc. et al vs. Oracle USA, Inc., et al., No. 17-1625 (Mar. 4, 2019), a copyright infringement case brought by Oracle against one of its competitors, a jury awarded Oracle $50 million dollars in damages. Post-verdict, the Court ordered defendants to also pay $28 million in attorneys’ fees, $4.9 million in costs and, most relevant here, $12.8 million in litigation expenses for expert witness fees, eDiscovery, and jury consulting.
By the time the case reached the Supreme Court, the only issue in dispute was the $12.8 million in litigation expenses. Justice Kavanaugh framed the question before the Court as “whether the term ‘full costs’ in §505 of the Copyright Act authorizes awards of expenses other than those costs identified in §§1821 and 1920.”
Title 28 U.S.C. §1821 authorizes witness and mileage fees. Section 1920 provides for six specific items which a prevailing party may seek to recover as costs. And §505 of the Copyright Act provides that in a copyright infringement action “the court in its discretion may allow the recovery of full costs by or against any party.”
For years, litigants have relied upon §1920 to seek recovery of eDiscovery costs. Under §1920(4), the court may tax as costs “fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case.” Litigants consider this statute and the interplay of Rule 54(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as the basis for seeking post-judgment costs other than attorneys’ fees. [read more]
Source: Mike Quartararo | Above the Law