Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Bill of Costs (Litigation Checklist)

This Bill of Costs checklist is part of my Colorado litigation checklist approach to litigation knowledge management and litigation strategy. In Colorado, C.R.C.P. 54(d) states that “costs shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party.” Prevailing plaintiffs can recover costs, C.R.S. 13-16-104, as can prevailing defendants, C.R.S. 13-16-105. C.R.S. 13-16-122 specifies what items may be recovered as “costs,” though this list is not inclusive. See Am. Water Development, Inc. v. City of Alamosa, 874 P.2d 352 (Colo. 1994).

- Timing: Bill of Costs must be filed within 15 days “of the entry of order or judgment, or within such greater time as the court may allow.” C.R.C.P. 121 Section 1-22(1)
- Confer with opposing party (party to be taxed) per C.R.C.P. 121 Section 1-15(8). Include affidavit from attorney stating that costs to be taxed are reasonable and necessary solely for the purpose of this litigation.
- Include invoices/bills reflecting costs to be taxed were actually billed to client.
- Include a proposed order.
Thoughts & Best Practices:
- Consider negotiating a release of right to appeal in exchange for not seeking Bill of Costs; file motion for extension of 15 day deadline to file Bill of Costs if negotiations require more time.
- Bill of costs should be styled a “Bill of Costs and Motion to Approve Bill of Costs.”
- Review C.R.S. 13-16-122 (list of allowable costs) and case law (below) at outset of case to ensure that costs are being billed in a recoverable manner. Statements that applicable requirements are met should be included in affidavit and referenced in motion:
-- Copying expenses incurred for use in this case are recoverable under C.R.S. § 13 16-122(1)(f). See Nguyen v. Regional Transp. Dist., 987 P.2d 933, 936 (Colo. App. 1999); Harvey v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 983 P.2d 34, 41 (Colo. App. 1998) (within court’s discretion to award photocopying charges incurred solely for benefit of particular litigation)
-- Reasonable telephone expenses are properly awarded as costs. Harvey, 983 P.2d at 41-42 (allowing costs for long-distance telephone calls because calls were not commingled with any of the general costs of doing business or the costs of other litigation).
-- Delivery charges also are awardable as costs. See Harvey, 983 P.2d at 41 (court acted within its discretion when awarding delivery costs incurred solely for the benefit of the particular litigation).
-- Pursuant to C.R.S. § 13-16-122(1)(a) docket fees are recoverable as costs.
-- A court reporter’s fee is awardable under C.R.S. § 13-16-122(1)(d), as well as the costs associated with depositions which are needed in order to develop a defense “in light of the facts known to counsel at the time” the depositions were taken. Cherry Creek School v. Voelker, 859 P.2d 805 (Colo. 1993).
-- Computerized legal research costs are awardable if: (1) the client is billed for the computerized legal research separately from attorneys’ fees; (2) the computerized legal research was necessary; and (3) the costs requested for the computerized legal research are reasonable. See Roget v. Grand Pontiac, Inc., 5 P.3d 341, 348-49 (Colo. App. 1999). If these requirements are met, the Court may award costs for computerized legal research. Pueblo Bancorporation v. Lindoe, Inc., 37 P.3d 492, 500 (Colo. App. 2001), aff’d 63 P.3d 353 (Colo. 2003).
Jeff Vail is a Colorado business litigation attorney at The Law Office of Jeff Vail LLC.

This post is part of my Coloradolitigation checklist approach to litigation knowledge management and litigation strategy.

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