United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
STADTMUELLER U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
September 30, 2016, after a trial to the Court, judgment was
entered in this matter in favor of the plaintiff, CNH
Industrial America LLC (“CNH”), for approximately
$3 million. (Docket #179). This judgment exceeded by several
hundred thousand dollars the amount for which CNH offered to
settle with the defendant, Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc.
(“JLL”), a month and a half earlier. (Docket
trial, on October 13, 2016, CNH timely submitted its bill of
costs totaling $304,153.49. (Docket #186). JLL objected to
some of those costs, including the biggest-ticket item:
photographs of the signs at all of CNH’s dealerships.
(Docket #197). CNH responded to JLL’s objections.
(Docket #201). On February 6, 2017, the Clerk of Court issued
its taxation of costs, taxing costs in the amount of only
$24,695.50. (Docket #212).
parties appealed. (Docket #193 and #203). During the
pendency of the appeal, CNH filed motions before this Court
seeking an amendment of the judgment to include statutory
interest and double taxable costs pursuant to Wisconsin law,
as well as review of the taxation of costs issued by the
Clerk of the Court on February 6, 2017. (Docket #189 and
#213). The Court agreed to review the issues presented in
CNH’s motions, but not before the appeal was resolved.
March 12, 2018, the Court of Appeals issued its mandate,
affirming this Court’s judgment. (Docket #223). The
parties attempted to resolve their disputes about costs and
interest without resort to further motion practice in this
Court, including by mediating their issues before Magistrate
Judge David E. Jones, but those efforts were not successful.
See (Docket #230 and #231). In light of this, CNH
has again filed a motion for statutory interest, double
costs, and review of the Clerk of Court’s taxation of
costs. (Docket #232).
parties’ briefing reveals that they agree that CNH is
entitled to double its taxable costs, but they dispute the
amount of those costs. The parties also disagree as to the
rate of interest to be applied to those costs. In this Order,
the Court resolves those issues, finally putting this case to
lawsuit arose out of a contract dispute. In 2007, CNH began a
corporate rebranding program for its New Holland Agriculture
line of products (the “Rebranding Program”).
(Docket #174 at 4, Proposed Findings of Fact; Docket #178 at
5, Transcript of Bench Trial Decision wherein the Court
adopted the parties’ proposed facts). The Rebranding
Program would involve, among other things, the manufacture
and installation of new signs at more than one thousand CNH
dealers in the United States and Canada. (Docket #174 at 4).
CNH retained JLL as its project manager for the Rebranding
Program. Id. at 5. CNH and JLL entered into a
service agreement under which JLL was obligated to research
and document warranty information for all raw materials and
sub-components, oversee manufacturing that met JLL’s
and CNH’s expectations for quality control, negotiate
the best possible warranty program for the signs, disclose
all elements of the warranty program to CNH, and provide
ongoing management services for warranties for one year
following installation. Id. at 5–6.
trial, CNH proved that JLL breached these obligations,
causing CNH to suffer $5,482,735.00 in damages in replacing
failed signs manufactured with defective vinyl. (Docket #178
at 20; Docket #179). The Court further determined that a
contractual limitation on liability provision contained in
the parties’ agreement was enforceable, and, in
accordance with its terms, CNH’s recovery was limited
to such amounts as CNH previously paid as project management
fees to JLL, which amounted to $3,026,361.60, together with
any additional amounts that JLL may successfully recover from
third-party service providers. Id.
REVIEW OF COSTS
Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) permits courts to award
costs to a prevailing party. The Court may award costs that
“fall into one of the categories of costs statutorily
authorized for reimbursement.” Cefalu v. Vill. of
Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 427 (7th Cir. 2000). Under 28
U.S.C. § 1920, a court may tax the following expenses as
costs: (1) fees of the clerk and marshal; (2) fees for
printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily
obtained for use in the case; (3) fees and disbursements for
printing and witnesses; (4) fees for exemplification and
copies of papers necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) docket fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1923; and (6)
compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of
interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses and costs of
special interpretative services under 28 U.S.C. § 1828.
instant motion, CNH asks this Court to review the
Clerk’s taxation of costs and increase the taxed amount
by $279,457.99. With the strictures of Section 1920 in mind,
the Court turns to the specific categories of costs CNH seeks
Photographs of signs ...