The United States District Court
District of Colorado

Hon. Philip A. Brimmer, Chief Judge
Jeffrey P. Colwell Esq., Clerk of Court

Our mission is to serve the public by providing a fair and impartial forum that ensures equal access to justice in accordance with the rule of law, protects rights and liberties of all persons, and resolves cases in a timely and efficient manner.

Bills of Costs - Guide and FAQs

Costs may be awarded at the conclusion of a civil case, as permitted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1):

(d) Costs; Attorney's Fees.
(1) Costs Other Than Attorney's Fees. Unless a federal statute, these rules, or a court order provides otherwise, costs—other than attorney's fees—should be allowed to the prevailing party. But costs against the United States, its officers, and its agencies may be imposed only to the extent allowed by law. The clerk may tax costs on 14 days’ notice. On motion served within the next 7 days, the court may review the clerk's action.

An award of costs is made pursuant to a federal law:

28 U.S. Code § 1920 - Taxation of costs
A judge or clerk of any court of the United States may tax as costs the following:

(1) Fees of the clerk and marshal;
(2) Fees for printed or electronically recorded transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(3) Fees and disbursements for printing and witnesses;
(4) Fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials where the copies are necessarily obtained for use in the case;
(5) Docket fees under section 1923 of this title;
(6) Compensation of court appointed experts, compensation of interpreters, and salaries, fees, expenses, and costs of special interpretation services under section 1828 of this title.

A bill of costs shall be filed in the case and, upon allowance, included in the judgment or decree.

The procedure for a bill of costs to be heard in the District of Colorado is governed by a local rule:

Each judgment or final order shall indicate any party entitled to costs. Unless otherwise ordered, the clerk shall tax costs in favor of a prevailing party or parties. A bill of costs shall be filed on the form provided by the court HERE no later than 14 days after entry of the judgment or final order. After filing a bill of costs and prior to appearing before the clerk, counsel and any unrepresented party seeking costs shall file a written statement that they have conferred as to disputes regarding costs. If all disputes are resolved, a stipulation specifying costs shall be filed with the court.

For additional information, please contact the Attorney Services Division of this court.

United States District Court for the District of Colorado
Alfred A. Arraj United States Courthouse
Attorney Services Division
901 19th Street, Room A-105
Denver, Colorado 80294-3589
303-335-2043, or e-mail: [Hearing Officer]


Guide for Filing Bills of Costs at the End of Federal Civil Suits

Hearing Officer Guide to Taxation of Costs
Download Guide
A Complete Handbook and Guide to Bill of Costs Principles and Hearing Procedures. This handbook is intended as a guide to counsel and any unrepresented party seeking costs pursuant to D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.1. It does not express the viewpoints or policies of any judicial officer of the U.S. District Court. The final award of costs rests within the discretion of the presiding judicial officer.
Proposed Bill of Costs Form (local version of AO-133 form) and Instructions
Download Form and Instructions

See Local Civil Rule D.C.COLO.LCivR 54.1.

Please submit your bill according to the procedures laid out in the court's Case Management/Electronic Filing Procedures (Civil). Specifically, Section 4.15 of the CM/ECF procedures provides: "The proposed bills of costs shall be filed electronically in CM/ECF using the docket event "Proposed Bill of Costs.'" An unrepresented non-prisoner pro se party without ECF privileges, and unrepresented prisoners, may file a Bill of Costs in paper format.

Procedure on Setting a Hearing Before the Clerk The clerk conducts the hearings on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays at 8:30, 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. The filing party should confer with the opposing counsel/party regarding a mutually agreeable date and time. Hearings will be held in the Clerk's Office, in either a conference room on the first floor, or a courtroom in the Alfred A. Arraj U.S. Courthouse – report to the Clerk's Office front desk before the hearing, and you will be escorted to the conference room or courtroom. A notice will be filed by the Clerk’s Office after the Proposed Bill of Costs is filed – the notice will confirm your selected hearing date and will notify you about which courtroom you should report to for the hearing.
Selecting a Date and Time for the Hearing Please do not call ahead to reserve a date and time – instead, select a date and time and expect to hear from the clerk only if there is a scheduling conflict. See instruction above.
Multiple Parties in Same Case If there are multiple prevailing parties in a case, the clerk will request that all parties schedule the hearing on the same date and time; common issues can be addressed and decided by the clerk, making a more efficient process.
Affidavit Verifying Costs A separate affidavit as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1924 is not necessary to be attached to, or filed in conjunction with the bill of costs. The Bill of Costs AO 133 form contains a declaration [per 28 U.S.C. § 1746] that adequately suffices for the affidavit required by § 1924.
Attachments The filer must attach supporting documentation – invoices, copying charge lists, receipts, etc.
Summary Chart Please attach an itemized list, chart, or simple spreadsheet, to assist the clerk and the parties to keep track of requested categories and items during the bill of costs hearing.
Objections / Briefing Schedule The non-prevailing party does not need to file an objection to the bill of costs, but is not discouraged from doing so. There is no response/reply schedule with a bill of costs under local civil rule 7.1(d), as a bill of costs is not a motion.
Duty to Confer A conferral between the parties to resolve any individual items or the costs as a whole must be documented by a written statement describing the conferral, filed before the date of the hearing. If an agreement is reached to settle the bill of costs, the parties are directed to file a stipulation if a specific amount is to be awarded, and the clerk will enter on the record the bill – now taxation – of costs for the stipulated amount. If the prevailing party chooses to withdraw its costs, a stipulated amount will not be entered, but counsel is asked to file a notice in the case, stating that it is withdrawing its bill of costs (it should not be filed as a motion).


Bills of Costs Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is a separate affidavit necessary to accompany the bill of costs, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1924? No, the Bill of Costs form contains a declaration that adequately suffices as the affidavit required by § 1924.
  • Do I need to attach supporting documentation, invoices, copying charge lists, receipts, etc.? Yes.
  • Do I need to attach an itemized list, chart, or simple spreadsheet, to assist the clerk and the parties to keep track of requested categories and items during the bill of costs hearing? Yes.
  • Do I or my assistant need to call the clerk to reserve a spot on the clerk’s calendar, before I file the bill of costs? No, the clerk will e-mail (or telephone, if it’s a pro se party) to reset the date if there’s a conflict.
  • As the non-prevailing party, do I need to file an objection to the bill of costs, and if so, when? No, there is no requirement to file an objection, but you may do so if you wish. [Use Docket Event: CM-ECF Civil Events / Other Filings / Documents / “Objection(s).”] There is no response/reply schedule with a bill of costs under Local Civil Rule 7.1(d), as a bill of costs is not a motion.
  • My client was sued by an inmate in a correctional or detention facility - do I need to contact the inmate when setting the bill of costs hearing, and confer with him about possible stipulation to all or part of the costs, since Local rule 7.1(b) says I don’t have to confer with an inmate before filing a motion? Yes, you do have to confer with the inmate by mail or through his/her case manager about the hearing date, phone number the clerk is to call, and whether the inmate will agree to all or part of the costs. Local Civil Rule 7.1(b)(1) pertains to motions, and a bill of costs is not a motion and has its own conferral requirement.
  • Partial Awards – the prevailing party won only on one claim, or won only nominal damages, is the cost award is reduced? No.
  • Are costs awarded against an indigent party? Yes. The Court retains discretion to award or not award – not the clerk.
  • Are Filing Fees Awarded? Yes, including Colo. Judicial Branch fees for a removed case.
  • Are Bar Admission Fees Awarded? No. Admission fees are attorney expenses, i.e., attorney fees; an attorneys’ fees motion may be more appropriate to seek recovery of admission fees.
  • Are Service of Process/Subpoena Fees Awarded? Yes. The clerk awards private process server fees as well, not limited to the fees of the U.S. Marshal – as long as they are reasonable and a reason is given.
  • Court Hearing Transcripts? Maybe. Used in a hearing, for a substantive purpose? Yes. Purchased for counsel’s convenience? No.
  • Deposition Transcripts? Yes. As long as not used strictly for discovery; and if reasonably necessary at time obtained.
  • Deposition Videos? Generally, Yes – but the party must have a valid reason.
  • Witness Fees? Yes. Follow 28 USC § 1821 fee guidelines. The witness must have testified, or been deposed and the deposition awarded. Rates established by the GSA determine lodging and meals & incidental expenses. Includes airfare (reasonable), taxi, car rental, tolls, parking.
  • Fed. R. Civ. P. 30(b)(6) witness, or Corporate Representative? Yes. As long as he/she is not the Real Party in Interest, named or directing the litigation.
  • Expert Witness Fees? No. Expert witnesses are awarded the same costs as any other witness.
  • Fees for Copies? Depends. Pleadings and Filings? No. Client copies? No. Acquiring records from repositories for use in the case? Yes. Used for initial disclosures? No. Incurred as part of discovery response? Yes. Used for deposition or dispositive motion Exhibits? Yes. Used for trial? Yes. Demonstrative Exhibit? Yes, if used and admitted. Electronically Stored Information (ESI)(also called "e-discovery")? Yes, but only what is the equivalent of "copying."
  • Docket Fees under § 1923? Yes.
  • Court appointed experts, interpreters, special interpretation services, special masters? Yes. Translators? No.
  • Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 Offer of Judgment costs? Yes, if the circumstances of the offer and eventual outcome fit the rule’s parameters.
  • Postage/Mailing/Courier delivery fees? No.
  • Award of Costs under Colorado Statutes in Diversity Cases? No, despite previous practices, the clerk will no longer award such costs. See Stender v. Archstone-Smith Operating Tr., No. 18-1432, 2020 WL 2109208 (10th Cir. May 4, 2020). Parties may file motions to the court for the application of state costs statutes in diversity cases; the clerk will only award costs pursuant to the Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(1) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920 costs framework.