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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Willard M provides security guard services across the country. In 2002, the principals of Willard M, Willard E. Shuman and William F. Young, contacted Sterling about the prospect of financing the acquisition of a commercial security guard division of International Total Services. To finance the acquisition, Sterling and Willard M executed two promissory notes on April 29, 2002: a 90-day note in the amount of $3,000,000 and a 90-day revolving credit note for $3,900,000. Willard M executed a third promissory note payable to Sterling on July 3, 2003 for $250,000. The notes were secured by a security agreement dated April 29, 2002, in which Willard M granted Sterling a first priority security interest in all of Willard M’s assets. The notes matured on December 2, 2003 after a number of extensions. When Willard M defaulted, Sterling sued Young and Shuman. Sterling also filed an emergency application for the appointment of a receiver. On December 16, 2003, the trial court signed an agreed order appointing a receiver. The receiver sold Willard M’s assets with court approval. The trial court also approved Sterling’s motion to foreclose on Willard M’s accounts receivable. On March 18, 2004, the trial court granted an agreed order to substitute the receiver. During a June 15, 2004 hearing to approve the sale of Willard M’s assets, the trial court inquired into a number of documents that had been filed by Willard M employees who alleged that they had not been paid for the two weeks prior to termination of employment. The trial court expressed consternation at this fact. The trial court held another hearing on October 8, 2004. The trial court told counsel for Sterling and the substitute receiver that it wanted an accounting of all expenses in the receivership and all the costs to run the receivership, and it stated that the unpaid costs would be taxed against Sterling. The last hearing occurred on January 24, 2005. There, the trial court granted Sterling’s motion for summary judgment, awarded $3,349,017.32 to Sterling, the deficiency amount on three promissory notes, awarded $569,123.97 in attorney’s fees to Sterling, but sua sponte ordered Sterling to pay the remaining receivership expenses that were reflected in the substitute receiver’s final accounting dated December 6, $505,298.45, as costs of court. Sterling appeals from the trial court’s order that directs Sterling to pay $505,298.45 to the substitute receiver. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. The trial court ordered Sterling to pay unpaid, unliquidated employee payroll, federal and state tax liabilities, vendor claims and other expenses as costs of court. The court finds no authority that these unpaid debts of Willard M are costs that can be taxed against a party as court costs. Rather, these expenses are properly designated as business liabilities of Willard M. The only parties to the trial court proceeding are Sterling, Willard M, and the substitute receiver. None of the parties who have unpaid claims intervened in this suit. No entity was adjudged liable for these claims. The liabilities assessed as costs were not generated by the courts or some of their officers, but rather by Willard M or others should the claimants seek a recovery against them. The court concludes that the trial court abused its discretion in taxing Sterling with items that cannot properly be designated as costs of court. OPINION:Keyes, J.; Keyes, Alcala and Bland, J.J.

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