Summit Technology v. Nidek (Fed. Cir. 2006).
Nidek won at trial, was awarded costs, and initially requested almost $500k under 28 U.S.C. § 1920. After an initial appeal of the exact costs, the district court awarded Nidek $388k. On appeal, the CAFC further reduced the award to $173k after finding that Nidek had failed to provide reliable documentation of its costs.
Cost awards are bound by the constraints of section 1920, and, when challenged, a prevailing party must offer some reliable documentation or other proof that its bill of costs represents the allowable costs that it actually and necessarily incurred during the litigation.
Although the CAFC agreed that Nidek’s costs might be reasonable based on the complexity of the lawsuit, reasonable estimates could not substitute for the required proof.