USA – FEDERAL – SLAGENWEIT – 1995 (Child died, return moot) SLAGENWEIT v SLAGENWEIT. This is an appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. While the appeal was pending, the child died unexpectedly. Because of the child’s death, the appeals court dismissed the appeal for the child’s return as moot and vacated the district Court’s order for costs to the father. They remanded the case back to the District court with instructions to dismiss as moot. The District did this, but determined that the father was still the prevailing party for the purpose of awarding costs. The appeals Court affirmed the District courts decision.

Slagenweit v Slagenweit (8th Cir. 1995)63 F.3d 719

Ulla C. Slagenweit, Appellant


Steven P. Slagenweit, Appellee

No 94-3988, U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Cir., 18 Aug 1995

<* page 720>

Ulla C. Slagenweit sued Steven P. Slagenweit under the
International Child Abduction Remedies Act of April ’29, 1988, 42
U.S.C.  11601-11610, seeking the return of their minor child to
Ulla’s custody in Germany. The district court FN1 denied her
petition, and Ulla appealed. While the appeal was pending, the
district court awarded Steven costs in the amount of $1,496.56 for
Ulla’s deposition, a copy of Steven’s deposition, and the
translation of documents. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d)(1). The minor
child unexpectedly died several days later, and Ulla filed a
motion for review of the taxation of costs.

In light of the child’s death, we dismissed the appeal as moot,
vacated the district court’s order, and remanded with instructions
to dismiss the case as moot. The district court did so but
concluded, over Ulla’s objection, that Steven was still the
prevailing party for the purpose of awarding costs. Ulla now
appeals the taxation of costs, arguing that Steven was not the
prevailing party and”that the district court failed’ to follow our
mandate on remand. We affirm.

The district court properly concluded that it need not vacate its
prior award of costs to Steven. Even though the underlying
judgment had been vacated, it was within the court’s discretion to
consider an award of costs because Steven was the prevailing party
between the time the district court dismissed Ulla’s petition and
the time we vacated the judgment as moot. See Bishop v Committee
on Professional Ethics and Conduct of the Iowa State Bar Ass’n.
686 Fed 1278, 1290 (8th Cir.1982). Although the Su- <* page 721>
preme Court’s recent decision in U.S. Bancorp Mortg. Co v Bonner
Mall Partnership, — U.S. —, 115 S.Ct. 386, 130 L.Ed.2d 233
(1994), might lead us to a different result on the facts in Bishop
because the prevailing party in that case caused mootness, here
Steven was haled into court and forced to defend by Ulla, won in
the district court and then saw the case mooted by a tragic
happenstance. The district court did not abuse its discretion in
conduding that Steven was entitled to his costs.

Ulla also argues the district court abused its discretion in the
specific costs that it awarded. Upon review of the limited record
before us, we cannot say that the district court abused its
discretion. See 28 U.S.C.  1920 (specifying taxable costs);
Richmond v Southwire Co., 980 F.2d 518, 520-21 (8th Cir.1992)
(standard of review). Ulla argues that the cost of her deposition
was improperly taxed because it was not introduced at trial This
argument fails, because she has not shown that the deposition was
purely investigative.; See 28 U.S.C.  1920(2) (alowing as cost
court-reporter fees for all or any part of stenographic transcript
necessarily obtained for use in case); Koppinger v Cullen-Schiltz
and Assocs., 613 F.2d 901, 911 (8th Cir. 1975). She also has
failed to show that Steven obtained a copy of his deposition for
reasons other than trial preparation. See 28 U.S.C.  1920(4)
(allowing as cost fees for copies of papers necessarily obtained
for use in case); Fogleman v ARAMCO, 920 F.2d 278, 285 (5th
Cir.1991) (deposition copy obtained for use during trial and for
trial preparation, rather than mere convenience, may be included
in taxable costs). Finally, Ulla has failed to demonstrate that
costs for the translated documents were unnecessarily incurred.
See 28 U.S.C.  1920(6) (court may tax as cost compensation of
interpreters); Chore-Tine Equip. v Cumberland Corp., 713 F.2d 774,
782 (Fed.Cir. 1983) (award of costs for translation of German
patent found relevant to defendant’s contentions was appropriate
under  1920(6)).

Accordingly, we affirm.

1. The Hon. Michael J. Melloy, Chief Judge, United States
Distirct Court for the Northern District of Iowa.