United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. Jackson, United States District Judge.
the Court is Charlene Rosette's ("Plaintiff')
Motion to Review Taxation of Costs
(Doc. 60). PNK (Baton Rouge) Partnership
("Defendant") filed an opposition to Plaintiffs
motion (Doc. 61). Plaintiff filed a response to
Defendant's opposition. (Doc 62). For the reasons stated
below, Plaintiffs motion is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART.
matter arises from a complaint filed on January 9, 2017.
(Doc. 1). Plaintiff claimed that she faced a hostile work
environment and retaliation by her superiors due to
Plaintiffs desire to contact senior management officers about
one of Plaintiffs managers being intoxicated at work and
stealing employees' tips. (Id.). Plaintiff
complained that the harassment became so prevalent that she
was forced to file an EEOC complaint, which only further
increased the harassment she faced. (Id.). Plaintiff
claims that she was terminated on August 28, 2015.
(Id.). Plaintiff filed a second EEOC complaint on
October 5, 2015. (Doc. 1-5 at p. 1). Plaintiffs claims
culminated in the Court entering an order dismissing
Plaintiffs complaint on Defendant's motion for summary
judgment. (Doc. 57). In its ruling, the Court found that
Plaintiff was unable to meet the prima facie case for claims
of race-based discrimination, as Plaintiff had not made clear
from the EEOC complaint that race based discrimination was
one of her claims. (Doc. 57 at p. 8). The Court further found
that Plaintiff had not established a proper comparator for
her race-based discrimination claim - someone who was
similarly situated to Plaintiff, but treated more favorably.
Plaintiffs retaliation claim, the Court found that Plaintiff
did not plead relevant facts that would lead the Court to
believe that she had been retaliated against for reporting
activities barred by Title VII, which protects individuals on
the basis of "race, color, religion, sex, and national
origin." The Court found that even if it were true that
Plaintiffs manager came to work intoxicated and stole tips
from the staff, such misdeeds were not discriminatory on the
basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
(Id. at 11). The Court also found that Plaintiff did
not have a "reasonable belief that her supervisor's
activities were unlawful under Title VII, but that her
ultimate complaint to management contained allegations of
race discrimination, and therefore could be addressed under
Title VII. (Id.). After assuming arguendo
that Plaintiff established the prima facie case for
race-based discrimination under Title VII, the Court found
that Plaintiff failed to rebut Defendant's assertation of
a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for her termination.
(Id. at p. 14). Plaintiffs case was dismissed with
prejudice on June 19, 2018. (Id.).
filed an application to tax costs on July 3, 2018. (Doc. 58).
No. response to the application to tax costs was submitted by
Plaintiff. An order taxing costs in the amount of $2, 763.72
was entered against Plaintiff on August 28, 2018. (Doc. 59).
first argues that while the United States Court of Appeals
for the Fifth Circuit has generally recognized that the
prevailing party is entitled to costs incurred participating
in litigation, it is ultimately the Court's discretion to
determine if such costs are warranted. (Doc. 6-1 at p. 2).
Plaintiff further claims that if a Court decides to excuse
the unsuccessful party from paying costs, it must explain its
reasoning for doing so. (Id.) Further, Plaintiff
claims that in order for the court to excuse the unsuccessful
party from paying costs, the claim must be brought in good
faith, and the moving party must have met at least one of
five factors set forth in Wade v. Peterson, 416
Fed.Appx. 354, 356 (5th Cir. 2Oll)(citing Pacheco v.
Mineta, 448 F.3d 783, 794 (5th Cir. 2006)
argues that because she brought her claim against Defendant
in good faith, costs should not be taxed against her. (Doc.
6-1 at pp. 2-3). Plaintiff contends that although Defendant
describes her claim as "baseless" the Court found
that Plaintiff met the prima facie case for race-based
discrimination, and only failed to rebut Defendant's
purported non-discriminatory reason for her termination.
(Id.). Plaintiff avers that it was objectively
reasonable for her to believe that she had a claim against
Defendant, and that she did not file the instant suit in bad
Plaintiff contends that she is of limited financial
resources. (Id. at pp. 3-4). She argues that being
assessed over $2, 500.00 in fees would have a major impact on
her finances, and would be unfairly burdensome. (Id.
at p. 4). Plaintiff next asserts that there is a massive
wealth disparity between herself and Defendant. (Id.
at p. 4). Plaintiff argues that Defendant is a
multi-billion-dollar entity with locations across the United
States, and that it would be inequitable to make Plaintiff, a
party with limited means, pay costs that are trivial to
further claims that the instant matter contained close and
difficult legal issues. Plaintiff claims that this case
required the Court to explore the difficult question of
whether plaintiffs can lodge Title VII claims in the presence
of facial deficiencies on the face of an underlying EEOC
charge. (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff further claims that
this Court had to determine whether a party could maintain a
cause of action under Title VII when the complained of
behavior did not involve claims of any activity covered by
Title VII. (Id. at p. 6).
Plaintiff claims that this case conferred a substantial
benefit to the public. (Id. at p. 8). Plaintiff
argues that her complaint gave the Court the opportunity to
consider the bounds of how liberally a court should construe
the intent of a layman who files a charge with the EEOC if
the EEOC charge is unclear on its face. (Id. at p.
alternative, because 28 U.S.C. § 1920 contains no
provisions for recovery of fees for private process servers
and Freedom of Information Act requests, Plaintiffs amount
owed should be reduced by at least $415.00. (Id. at
p. 9). Plaintiff argues that only in exceptional
circumstances should a party be awarded costs for the use of
a private process server. (Id.). Plaintiff claims
that Defendant has not established that there was an
exceptional circumstance present justifying costs being
awarded for use of a private process server. (Id.).