Wednesday, December 4, 2013

E-Discovery Expenses Taxable in Florida

Last month, The Supreme Court of Florida adopted amendments to the Uniform Guidelines on the Taxation of Costs effective January 1, 2014 that specifically allow successful litigants to recover certain “Electronic Discovery Expenses.” Specifically, two categories of taxable e-Discovery costs may now be considered: (1) The cost of producing copies of relevant electronic media in response to a discovery request; and (2) The cost of converting ESI or electronically stored information to a reasonably usable format in response to a discovery request that seeks production in such format. The amendments were drafted by the standing Florida Civil Rules Committee which voted 28-0-1 to add provisions to Florida’s Rules of Civil Procedure to allow for the taxation ESI costs, consistent with cost shifting post-trial and recent federal case law awarding costs pursuant to 28 USC § 1920 - Taxation of Costs. My experience has been that under the old uniform guidelines, trial courts only award a modicum of expenses in traditional categories and that the ability to shift costs associated with electronic discovery during post-trial proceedings will be similarly narrow. Perhaps parties would do better to focus their cost-shifting efforts earlier in discovery during litigation, rather than wait until after trial to litigate the issue-- even when parties believe that they will prevail on the merits. Counsel would do well to keep accurate and detailed records of ESI costs if they wish to recoup significant vendor related discovery costs later. See court opinion amending civil rules here--