Appellants have moved for leave to file in these consolidated cases a bill of costs pursuant to Rule 39 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.
First, WMATA contends that appellants waived their right to recover as costs any part of the charge for printing the joint appendix by joining in a stipulation which called for the parties to share that charge. WMATA also calls attention to the fact that Rule 39 imposes a time limit of fourteen days from the entry of judgment on appeal for the filing of a bill of costs, and that appellants failed to meet that deadline. Finding neither premise persuasive, we grant appellants' motion.
A brief summary of relevant developments on these appeals will serve to elucidate our discussion of the problem of costs. Appellants sought in this court an injunction pending resolution of the appeals on the merits. WMATA urged us to consider and rule on the merits on the basis of the papers filed in connection with the motion for injunctive relief, a procedure to which appellants were amenable. We granted an injunction but declined, pending oral argument, to rule on the merits of the appeals.
Appellants adopted, as their opening brief, their memorandum in support of the application for the injunction.
WMATA contends that the stipulation respecting a sharing of the expense of printing the joint appendix permanently disabled appellants from claiming any part of that expense as a taxable cost. Appellants, on the other hand, argue that the stipulation merely recognized their initial responsibility to at least share in the payment of the printer's bill when presented,
Rule 39(a) specifies that "if a judgment is reversed, costs shall be taxed against the appellee unless otherwise ordered" by the court.
It will be recalled that the stipulation followed on the heels of WMATA's decision to submit a brief additional to its filed memorandum in opposition to an injunction pending appeal. The stipulation, prompted by WMATA's desire for an accompanying joint appendix, simply provided that the parties "will pay their proportionate share of the printer's bill for printing the joint appendix based upon the number of pages designated by each." This provision, WMATA states, was an irrevocable commitment by appellants to absorb their share irrespective of the outcome of the appeals. In the context in which the stipulation came about, we cannot accept that interpretation.
By the stipulation, the parties devised a plan and a timetable by which additional briefs and a printed joint appendix would be presented to the court. Since both sides designated materials for inclusion in the appendix, the immediate concern was the printer's bill therefor. The stipulated arrangement was a sharing of the bill in proportion to the number of pages respectively designated, and through that arrangement it was contemplated that the printer would be promptly paid. That the parties agreed to that much is very clear, but we cannot say that appellants agreed to more.
Beyond the exigencies of paying the printer was the question of where the financial burden of the joint appendix would finally come to rest. It is not at all unusual for litigants to share a printing expense in the first instance, with an award of costs on that account to abide the judgment. Indeed, the Appellate Rules recognize and utilize the practice.
Absent a contrary direction by this court, appellants were entitled, we have said, to their costs as a matter of course.
We are likewise unable to accept WMATA's contention that a recovery of costs in these cases is foreclosed by appellants' failure to file their bill therefor within the 14-day period specified by Rule 39(c).
As we have stated, the parties agreed to divide proportionately the printer's charge for producing the joint appendix. Appellants represent that they stood ready to pay any bill for their share that WMATA might have tendered before we ruled on the appeals and, as the winning parties, would have included the payment in their bill of costs.
In these circumstances, we think WMATA is hardly in position to invoke the 14-day time limit. The largest single item in appellant's bill of costs is their portion of the charge for printing the joint appendix. Appellants could not prepare a complete bill of costs without knowing just what their part of the printing expense was. Appellants could reasonably assume, from the fact that WMATA long saw fit to retain that information, that WMATA was unconcerned with time considerations. In a word, we do not consider appellants imprudent in awaiting a copy of the printer's invoice before filing their bill of costs. To have done otherwise would have resulted in a piecemeal presentation of costs, and thereby imposed an unnecessary burden on the parties and the court.