eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Case Law: No Race Tires on This Vehicle, Taxation of eDiscovery Costs Granted


The trend for defendants requesting plaintiffs to be responsible for eDiscovery costs when they lose is continuing.  Sometimes that request is granted, at least partially, as in this case and this case.  In another case, taxation of eDiscovery costs was initially granted, but then reversed due to the parties' agreement to split the costs.  Then, there’s the case of Race Tires America, Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire CorporationLast May, the winning defendants were awarded $367,000 as reimbursement for eDiscovery costs.  (Hoosier Daddy!)  But, then in March of this year, an appellate court reversed all but $30,370 of those costs, implementing a narrow interpretation of 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4) for assigning those costs.  Now, a new case addresses the issue of taxation of costs once again.

In the case In re Online DVD Rental Antitrust Litig., No. M 09-2029 PJH, (N.D. Cal. Apr. 20, 2012), a federal court recently broadly interpreted the language in the federal statute governing the taxation of costs, 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4).

In this class action involving claims that Netflix had reached an agreement with Walmart to divide the market for sales and online rentals of DVDs, Netflix won summary judgment and filed a motion seeking to recover its costs, including those relating to eDiscovery. After the clerk awarded the costs, the plaintiff subscribers filed a motion with the court seeking review of the award.

In denying the plaintiffs’ request to limit the costs, the court rejected the Third Circuit’s narrow view of 28 U.S.C. § 1920(4) as expressed in its recent decision in the Race Tires America, Inc. v. Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. case, which vacated the district court’s approval of many eDiscovery costs. Although the court noted the Third Circuit’s “well-reasoned opinion,” the California court concluded that “in the absence of directly analogous Ninth Circuit authority, and in view of the court’s prior order in connection with the Blockbuster subscriber plaintiffs’ motion for review of the clerk's taxation of costs, broad construction of section 1920 with respect to electronic discovery production costs—under the facts of this case—is appropriate.” Ultimately, the court awarded the defendants slightly more than $700,000 in costs.

So, what do you think?  Will this ruling isolate the Race Tires case as an anomaly?  Will our monthly Netflix subscription rates go down?  (Probably not.)  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Case Summary Source: Applied Discovery (free subscription required).  For eDiscovery news and best practices, check out the Applied Discovery Blog here.

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