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Civil Resource Manual

221. Court Costs

Rule 54(d), Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, provides:

Except when express provision therefore is made either in a statute of the United States or in these rules, costs shall be allowed as of course to the prevailing party unless the court otherwise directs .... Costs may be taxed by the clerk on one day's notice. On motion served within 5 days thereafter, the action of the clerk may be reviewed by the court.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 58 provides that "(e)ntry of the judgment shall not be delayed for the taxing of costs." Section 1924 of Title 28 of the United States Code requires the party claiming costs to attach an affidavit, either by himself/herself or his/her duly authorized attorney or agent having knowledge of the facts, that the items claimed are correct, have necessarily been incurred in the case, and that the services for which fees have been charged were actually and necessarily performed. Other statutes relevant to costs in the district courts include 28 U.S.C. § 1914 (filing and miscellaneous fees); 28 U.S.C. § 1920 (taxation of costs); 28 U.S.C. § 1921 (United States Marshal's fees); 28 U.S.C. § 1923 (attorneys' docket fees and costs of briefs); and 28 U.S.C. § 2412(a) (costs against the United States). As to the appellate costs, see 28 U.S.C. § 1911 (Supreme Court); 28 U.S.C. § 1913 (courts of appeal); 28 U.S.C. § 1912 (damages and costs on affirmance); Fed. R. App. P. 39. The allowance of costs to the prevailing party is not a rigid rule, and under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(d), the court can direct otherwise. See Fishgold v. Sullivan Drydock and Repair Corp., 328 U.S. 275, 284 (1945).

[cited in USAM 4-10.010]