Oral argument: Feb. 21, 2012
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Mar. 8, 2011)
COURT COSTS, COMPENSATION OF INTERPRETERS, NEGLIGENCE
After falling through a deck on property owned by Respondent Kan Pacific Saipan, LTD, Petitioner Kouichi Taniguchi filed suit against the company for negligence. The district court granted summary judgment in Kan Pacific’s favor, and also awarded the company costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1920(6); the award included costs incurred in translating various documents from Japanese to English. The Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision, holding that the phrase “compensation of interpreters” in § 1920(6) applies to written translations, in addition to verbal interpretations. Taniguchi now appeals, arguing that the statute’s plain meaning, structure, and legislative history indicate that the term “interpreters” should be limited to oral translators of spoken language. The Supreme Court will decide whether litigants can recover for non-verbal translation costs; this decision has the potential to increase recoverable court costs, and to deter meritorious litigation.