The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cost Recovery for Trial Presentation

Trial Presentation Consultant/Trainer Cheryl Evans recently posted a question regarding taxable costs for trial presentation consultants. Just to make sure everyone knows what we are talking about here, the term “taxable” as used here refers to recoverable costs by the prevailing party in a trial. To further explain, these costs are to be added as a reimbursement for expenses of certain things, in addition to the award per the verdict.

There is some discretion as to interpretation, and the Circuits differ in this as well. In short, if Counsel can prepare a compelling motion regarding the benefits realized and the necessity for these services or products, recovery may be granted. I have routinely seen the prep and development phase covered, and have also heard that even the presentation has been covered in some cases.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920 relate to taxation of costs, but allow for a degree of interpretation of what is “reasonably necessary in the prosecution or defense of the lawsuit…”

I generally suggest that my clients handle it the same as they would with demonstrative graphics.

There are several cases cited in Modern Visual Evidence, by Gregory P. Joseph. This book is a very helpful reference and a valuable resource to those in this profession.

Here are a few case citations – the first two from the above-mentioned reference and the third shared by Cheryl Evans and Michael Arkfeld, regarding exemplification as explained by the Seventh Circuit:

“… as permitting an award of the reasonable expense of preparing maps, charts, graphs, photographs, motion pictures, photostats, and kindred materials,” including graphics services and multi-media evidence display systems.

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

-- 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. LEXIS 72572, 34-36 (N.D. Iowa Aug. 17, 2009). The Court awarded costs for the consultant time and equipment costs in presenting a "multimedia" trial presentation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1920.

Bottom line – get the book.

By the way, today is the first anniversary of this blawg!

Ted Brooks, President

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