N.J.S.A. 22a Cases

N.J.S.A. 22A:2-9 provides for relatively nominal amounts of "costs" to be awarded in the Law Division of the Superior Court, dependent on the nature of the underlying proceeding without reference to the actual expenses incurred. Under that statute the costs to be awarded range from $ 10.00 to $ 50.00. In pertinent part, that statute provides as follows: 22A:2-9. Law Division of Superior Court; costs awarded. Costs awarded to any party in any action, motion or proceeding in the Law Division of the Superior Court, whether he be plaintiff, defendant, third-party plaintiff or in any manner a party therein, shall be as follows: For all proceedings down to and including final judgment when there has been a trial of an issue of fact, fifty dollars ($ 50.00). Upon the entry of judgment final, by default, or upon consent, stipulation, or admissions, or upon the pleadings, or by summary judgment or on dismissal, in all actions or proceedings, to the moving party, forty dollars ($ 40.00). Upon a voluntary dismissal either by stipulation or by order of court, or in any proceeding which has not proceeded to final judgment, twenty dollars ($ 20.00). . . . In proceedings involving the entry of a final judgment where there has been a trial on an issue of fact, costs are to be awarded in the amount of $ 50.00. In proceedings involving the entry of judgment by default, on consent, or by way of summary judgment or dismissal, costs are to be awarded in the amount of $ 40.00. the statute does not deal specifically with matters resolved through arbitration. N.J.S.A. 22A:2-8 provides for additional expenses to be included in a bill of costs, when costs are to be awarded or allowed. Under that statute, a party to whom costs are awarded is entitled to legal fees for witnesses, including mileage, fees paid for publication, fees paid for service of process, and all filing and docketing fees paid to the clerk of the court. That statute also provides for the inclusion of the costs of depositions, when taxable by order of the court. Our case law illustrates a variety of disputes that can be presented, when taxed costs are available pursuant to the rule and the statute just noted. There is a general recognition that the expense of depositions should not normally be included in taxed costs. See Buccinna v.Micheletti 311 N.J. Super. 557, 710 A.2d 1019 (App.Div.1998). By the same token, the expense of depositions has been included in taxed costs in specific circumstances. See Finch. Pruyn & Co., Inc. v. Martinelli, 108 N.J. Super. 156, 260 A.2d 259 (Ch.Div.1969), permitting the expense of depositions to be taxed as costs in litigation involving a claim of fraud. Similarly, experts' fees are generally not permitted as taxed costs. See Buccinna, supra., 311 N.J. Super. at 565-566, 710 A.2d 1019. by the same token, experts' fees have been included in taxed costs in a civil rights action. See Bung's Bar & Grille, Inc. v. Florence Tp., 206 N.J. Super. 432, 502 A.2d 1198 (Law. Div.1985). In Buccinna, the Appellate Division recognized that subpoena fees and mileage should be included in taxed costs, and that the court also has the discretion to award reproduction costs. See Buccinna, 311 N.J. Super. at 566, 710 A.2d 1019.