Farmer v. Arabian American Oil Co.
379 U.S. 227 (1964)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Farmer v. Arabian American Oil Co., 379 U.S. 227 (1964)

Farmer v. Arabian American Oil Co.

No. 32

Argued November 9-10, 1964

Decided December 14, 1964*

379 U.S. 227

Syllabus

A doctor formerly employed by an oil company to work in Saudi Arabia sued for breach of his employment contract. The jury failed to agree, and the District Judge granted the company's motion for a directed verdict. Costs of more than $6,600 were taxed against the doctor, including transportation expenses of witnesses from Arabia and daily transcripts requested by company counsel. The Court of Appeals reversed, on the ground that a verdict should not have been directed, and remanded for a new trial. On remand, the case was dismissed because of the doctor's inability to post a $6,000 bond as security for costs. The Court of Appeals again reversed, and indicated that the costs already taxed were exorbitant. At a second trial, the jury found for the company. The clerk taxed costs at almost $12,000 for the two trials, which the second District Judge reduced by over 90%, eliminating the expenses of the overseas witnesses and the cost of the daily transcripts. The Court of Appeals upheld the costs for the second trial, but reversed as to costs for the first trial, although reducing the amount, holding that the second judge failed to give proper deference to the first judge's taxation of costs.

Held:

1. The 100-mile subpoena provision in Rule 45(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure does not completely bar a district court from taxing as costs expenses of transporting witnesses more than 100 miles, for Rule 54(d) does leave the district court discretion to tax such expenses. Pp. 379 U. S. 231-232.

2. It was not error for the District Judge at the end of the second trial when judgment was finally entered, to determine costs for both trials, the first judgment and taxation of costs having been upset by the reversal of the trial judgment. Pp. 379 U. S. 232-233.

3. The District Judge's discretion was appropriately exercised in his taxation of costs for both trials. Pp. 379 U. S. 233-236.

324 F.2d 359, reversed.

Page 379 U. S. 228

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