The trial judge has great discretion to tax the cost of a deposition if he finds that all or any part of the deposition is necessarily obtained for use in the case.
Plaintiff was awarded damages in contract and fraud for defendant's failure to deliver crude oil. Defendant argued that the judge erred in the first trial by recalling the jury to reconsider its verdict. Defendant argued next that both parties waived performance requirements. Defendant also contested the trial court judge's taxation for various costs incurred by plaintiff during the two trials. The costs included deposition costs of $4,841.18. The court affirmed the judgment that defendant breached its contract with plaintiff, holding that there was no reversible error; however it reversed the damage award, and remanded for a new trial limited to determining contract damages. Finally, the court reversed the fraud verdict and award of punitive damages.
Did the trial court abuse its discretion in taxing the cost of the depostitions?
The trial judge has great discretion to tax the cost of a deposition if he finds that "all or any part [of the deposition] was 'necessarily obtained for use in the case.'" The court will not overturn his decision unless a clear abuse thereof is shown. The trial judge determined that each of the depositions, whether actually admitted at trial or not, was necessarily obtained for use in this case. Even the depositions of witnesses testifying for plaintiff were used by counsel to structure their questioning of the witnesses.