Recovery of Court Costs in Texas State Court

As a general rule, a successful party to a suit shall recover of his adversary all costs incurred therein.  See Tex. R. Civ. P. 131.

The term “successful party” means one who is successful based on the merits of a civil claim, not on whether damages are actually awarded in favor of that party.  A defendant who obtains a take-nothing judgment is a “successful party.”  The term “costs” means “those items in the clerk’s bill of costs,” which includes:

  • clerks fees;
  • service fees;
  • court-reporter fees for the original stenographic transcripts of trial/hearings; and
  • deposition costs for the original transcript (not additional copies) plus any exhibits.

Rule 203.2 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure requires “[t]he deposition officer [to] file with the court, serve on all parties, and attach as part of the deposition transcript or non-stenographic recording of an oral deposition a certificate duly sworn by the officer stating . . . the amount of the deposition officer’s charges for preparing the original deposition transcript, which the clerk of the court must tax as costs.”

However, if the successful party’s court costs are not on file with the clerk, the successful party should submit an accounting of court costs so that the clerk can perform its ministerial duty and tax costs in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

A successful party in a lawsuit is not required to submit an accounting of its court costs to the trial court or opposing counsel before judgment may be entered adjudicating such costs.  In fact, the trial court’s judgment should only state that costs are awarded, and not state the amount taxed as costs.

Authority/Suggested Reading:

Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 31.007.

Tex. R. Civ. P. 203.2(f).

Tex. R. Civ. P. 622.

Roberts v. Williamson, 111 S.W.3d 113, 124 (Tex. 2003);

Furr’s Supermkts., Inc. v. Bethune, 53 S.W.3d 375, 378 (Tex. 2001).

Rogers v. Walmart Stores, 686 S.W.2d 599, 601 (Tex. 1985).

Wingert v. Devoll, 03-09-00440-CV, 2010 WL 3271744 (Tex. App.—Austin Aug. 20, 2010, pet. denied).

Imperial Lofts, Ltd. v. Imperial Woodworks, Inc., 245 S.W.3d 1, 8 (Tex. App.—Waco 2007, pet. denied).

 Madison v. Williamson, 241 S.W.3d 145, 158 (Tex. App.—Hous. [1st Dist.] 2007, pet. denied).

Labor v. Warren, 268 S.W.3d 273, 278-79 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2008, no pet.).

7-101 Dorsaneo, Texas Litigation Guide § 101.09.

16 Tex. Jur. 3d Costs § 104.