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Sunday, July 29, 2012

E.D.T. ex rel. Adamah v. Tayson, Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2010 WL 4116666 (E.D.N.Y.) [United Kingdom] [Attorneys fees and Costs]

In E.D.T. ex rel. Adamah v. Tayson, Not Reported in F.Supp.2d, 2010 WL 4116666 (E.D.N.Y.) Petitioner Ides Adamah successfully petitioned for the return of her child ("E.D.T.") to the United Kingdom pursuant to the Hague Convention. See Adamah v. Tayson (In re E.D.T.), 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 54172, 2010 WL 2265308 (May 27, 2010 E.D.N.Y.). Petitioner then sought reimbursement from respondent Evans Tayson ("Tayson") of costs incurred pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 11607(b)(3).

Adamah did not seek an award of attorney's fees against Tayson, only costs, including reimbursement for: (1) filing fees for commencement of her petition for the return of her child; (2) fees related to service of process; (3) costs of procuring transcripts of depositions, the hearing and other trial proceedings; (4) disbursements for postage, telephone calls, copying costs, messenger service and local transportation; and (5) airfare for Adamah's attendance at trial-related proceedings and the collection of her daughter. In support of her motion, she submitted documentation and/or invoices attesting to the foregoing costs, with the exception of travel expenses for two plane trips. Further, apart from airfare, the remainder of Adamah's costs were out-of-pocket expenses incurred by her counsel on her behalf.

The Court observed that an award of costs to a prevailing petitioner is mandatory under ICARA unless the respondent establishes that "such order would be clearly inappropriate." 42 U.S.C. 11607(b) (3). After being duly served with Adamah's motion for costs, Tayson failed to respond or to otherwise defend against the petition; therefore, he did not establish that an award of costs against him would be inappropriate.

The Court held that the travel expenses Adamah incurred were clearly "transportation costs related to the return of the child," 42 U.S.C. 11607(b) (3), and she was entitled to reimbursement for those travel expenses for which she had airfare charges. The Court observed that as to the expenses her counsel incurred on her behalf, the Second Circuit has held that reasonable, identifiable out-of-pocket disbursements ordinarily charged to clients are recoverable. See United States Football League, 887 F.2d 408, 416 (2d Cir.1989); Kuzma v. Internal Revenue Service, 821 F.2d 930, 933-34 (2d Cir.1987) (providing a non-exclusive list of recoverable costs, including photocopying, travel and telephone costs). Payment is not permitted, however, for items that constitute routine office overhead. See LeBlanc-Sternberg v. Fletcher, 143 F.3d 748, 763 (2d Cir.1998). Based on a review of Adamah's application, the Court found that the costs incurred on her behalf were recoverable. Adamah's motion is granted and she was awarded costs in the total amount of $9,408.95.

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