Rule 2.625 Taxation of Costs

(A) Right to Costs.

(1) In General. Costs will be allowed to the prevailing party in an action, unless prohibited by statute or by these rules or unless the court directs otherwise, for reasons stated in writing and filed in the action.

(2) Frivolous Claims and Defenses. In an action filed on or after October 1, 1986, if the court finds on motion of a party that an action or defense was frivolous, costs shall be awarded as provided by MCL 600.2591.

(B) Rules for Determining Prevailing Party.

(1) Actions With Several Judgments. If separate judgments are entered under MCR 2.116 or 2.505(A) and the plaintiff prevails in one judgment in an amount and under circumstances which would entitle the plaintiff to costs, he or she is deemed the prevailing party. Costs common to more than one judgment may be allowed only once.

(2) Actions With Several Issues or Counts. In an action involving several issues or counts that state different causes of action or different defenses, the party prevailing on each issue or count may be allowed costs for that issue or count. If there is a single cause of action alleged, the party who prevails on the entire record is deemed the prevailing party.

(3) Actions With Several Defendants. If there are several defendants in one action, and judgment for or dismissal of one or more of them is entered, those defendants are deemed prevailing parties, even though the plaintiff ultimately prevails over the remaining defendants.

(4) Costs on Review in Circuit Court. An appellant in the circuit court who improves his or her position on appeal is deemed the prevailing party.

(C) Costs in Certain Trivial Actions. In an action brought for damages in contract or tort in which the plaintiff recovers less than $100 (unless the recovery is reduced below $100 by a counterclaim), the plaintiff may recover costs no greater than the amount of damages.

(D) Costs When Default or Default Judgment Set Aside. The following provisions apply to an order setting aside a default or a default judgment:

(1) If personal jurisdiction was acquired over the defendant, the order must be conditioned on the defendant's paying or securing payment to the party seeking affirmative relief the taxable costs incurred in procuring the default or the default judgment and acting in reliance on it;

(2) If jurisdiction was acquired by publication, the order may be conditioned on the defendant's paying or securing payment to the party seeking affirmative relief all or a part of the costs as the court may direct;

(3) If jurisdiction was in fact not acquired, costs may not be imposed.

(E) Costs in Garnishment Proceedings. Costs in garnishment proceedings are allowed as in civil actions. Costs may be awarded to the garnishee defendant as follows:

(1) The court may award the garnishee defendant as costs against the plaintiff reasonable attorney fees and other necessary expenses the garnishee defendant incurred in filing the disclosure, if the issue of the garnishee defendant's liability to the principal defendant is not brought to trial.

(2) The court may award the garnishee defendant, against the plaintiff, the total costs of the garnishee defendant's defense, including all necessary expenses and reasonable attorney fees, if the issue of the garnishee defendant's liability to the principal defendant is tried and

(a) the garnishee defendant is held liable in a sum no greater than that admitted in disclosure, or

(b) the plaintiff fails to recover judgment against the principal defendant.

In either (a) or (b), the garnishee defendant may withhold from the amount due the principal defendant the sum awarded for costs, and is chargeable only for the balance.

(F) Procedure for Taxing Costs.

(1) Costs may be taxed by the court on signing the judgment, or may be taxed by the clerk as provided in this subrule.

(2)When costs are to be taxed by the clerk, the party entitled to costs must present to the clerk, within 28 days after the judgment is signed, or within 28 days after entry of an order denying a motion for new trial, a motion to set aside the judgment, a motion for rehearing or reconsideration, or a motion for other postjudgment relief except a motion under MCR 2.612(C),

(a) a bill of costs conforming to subrule (G),

(b) a copy of the bill of costs for each other party, and

(c) a list of the names and addresses of the attorneys for each party or of parties not represented by attorneys.

In addition, the party presenting the bill of costs shall immediately serve a copy of the bill and any accompanying affidavits on the other parties. Failure to present a bill of costs within the time prescribed constitutes a waiver of the right to costs.

(3) Within 14 days after service of the bill of costs, another party may file objections to it, accompanied by affidavits if appropriate. After the time for filing objections, the clerk must promptly examine the bill and any objections or affidavits submitted and allow only those items that appear to be correct, striking all charges for services that in the clerk's judgment were not necessary. The clerk shall notify the parties in the manner provided in MCR 2.107.

(4) The action of the clerk is reviewable by the court on motion of any affected party filed within 7 days from the date that notice of the taxing of costs was sent, but on review only those affidavits or objections that were presented to the clerk may be considered by the court.

(G) Bill of Costs; Supporting Affidavits.

(1) Each item claimed in the bill of costs, except fees of officers for services rendered, must be specified particularly.

(2) The bill of costs must be verified and must contain a statement that

(a) each item of cost or disbursement claimed is correct and has been necessarily incurred in the action, and

(b) the services for which fees have been charged were actually performed.

(3) If witness fees are claimed, an affidavit in support of the bill of costs must state the distance traveled and the days actually attended. If fees are claimed for a party as a witness, the affidavit must state that the party actually testified as a witness on the days listed.

(H) Taxation of Fees on Settlement. Unless otherwise specified a settlement is deemed to include the payment of any costs that might have been taxable.

(I) Special Costs or Damages.

(1) In an action in which the plaintiff's claim is reduced by a counterclaim, or another fact appears that would entitle either party to costs, to multiple costs, or to special damages for delay or otherwise, the court shall, on the application of either party, have that fact entered in the records of the court. A taxing officer may receive no evidence of the matter other than a certified copy of the court records or the certificate of the judge who entered the judgment.

(2) Whenever multiple costs are awarded to a party, they belong to the party. Officers, witnesses, jurors, or other persons claiming fees for services rendered in the action are entitled only to the amount prescribed by law.

(3) A judgment for multiple damages under a statute entitles the prevailing party to single costs only, except as otherwise specially provided by statute or by these rules.

(J)   Costs in Headlee Amendment Suits. A plaintiff who prevails in an action brought pursuant to Const 1963, art 9, § 32 shall receive from the defendant the costs incurred by the plaintiff in maintaining the action as authorized by MCL 600.308a(1) and (6). Costs include a reasonable attorney fee.