When the prevailing party in a lawsuit reaches a successful outcome at trial, they can file a “Motion to Tax Costs,” and ask the judge to allow the costs for the trial presentation equipment, technical services, and exhibit boards in addition to the jury verdict.

Such a reasonable award of costs might include “an award of the reasonable expenses of preparing maps, charts, graphs, photographs, motion pictures, Photostats, and kindred materials” which commonly include multimedia evidence systems, and graphic boards or services.*

While these costs are completely at the discretion of the judge, it is not uncommon for the modern day judge to allow either some or all of these costs, in addition to the verdict, and award “taxable costs” to the prevailing party.

The Federal Rules of Procedure 54 (d) (1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920 are the applicable statutes, in obtaining “reasonably necessary” costs in the prosecution or defense of a lawsuit.

As a matter of practical experience, the decision to allow costs, and how much is allowed, is at the sole discretion of the judge. IPS has provided trial services in thousands of trial, and we have seen the judge allow all costs, including meals for the trial technicians, and we have come across judges, who go over every line item, and allow for a percentage of the costs, based on what he or she feels is reasonable.

Our experience in California is that the trial judges are a little more liberal on allowing costs, while other out of state court judges are more reserved as to what is allowed.

The following is a list of cites to cases on topic with this issue:

BASF Corp. v. Old World Trading Company, No. 86 C 5602, 1992 U.S. Dist.

Transamerica Life Ins. Co. v. Lincoln Nat’l Life Ins. Co., 2009 U.S. Dist.34-36 (N.D. Iowa Aug. 17 2009)

Cefalu v. Village of Elk Grove, 211 F.3d 416, 427-428 (7th Circuit 2000)

*Modern Visual Evidence, Gregory P. Joseph