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DIRECTV, INC. v. CRUMLISH

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania


July 16, 2004.

DIRECTV, INC.
v.
JOHN CRUMLISH, et al.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHARD B. SURRICK, District Judge

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for a Default Judgment as to Defendant John Crumlish. (Doc. No. 67.) For the following reasons, we will grant Plaintiff's Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff filed this action on May 23, 2003, against several Defendants, including Crumlish. (Doc. No. 1.) On May 30, 2003, Plaintiff served Crumlish with a summons and the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(b)(2)(A)(iii) by leaving the same at Crumlish's residence with a person of suitable age and discretion residing therein. (Doc. No. 9.) Crumlish failed to timely answer or otherwise respond to the Complaint. Accordingly, on November 11, 2003, the Clerk entered a default with respect to Crumlish. Plaintiff now moves that we enter a default judgment against Crumlish in the amount of $11,682.05, plus post-judgment interest, and that we enjoin Crumlish from committing any further violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 605, and/or 18 U.S.C. § 2511 and 2512.

  II. ANALYSIS

  "A consequence of the entry of a default judgment is that `the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true.'" Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting 10 C. WRIGHT, A. MILLER, & M. KANE, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE, § 2688 at 444 (2d ed. 1983) (citing Thomson v. Wooster, 114 U.S. 104 (1885))). In this case, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants: (1) effected the unauthorized interception and receipt of Plaintiff's satellite programming through the use of illegal satellite decoding devices, or by the manipulation of the satellite system authorized to carry the satellite programming where Defendants are located, or by such other means which are unknown to Plaintiff and known only to Defendants; illegally and without authorization, intercepted, received, and exhibited, or otherwise assisted in the unauthorized interception, reception, or exhibition of satellite programming transmitted by Plaintiff; and divulged or published the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of such satellite communications, all in violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605(a),*fn1 (Compl. ¶¶ 32-33); (2) intentionally intercepted, endeavored to intercept, or procured other persons to intercept electronic communications from Plaintiff; and disclosed or endeavored to disclose to others the contents of those electronic communications knowing, or having reason to know, that the information was obtained through the interception of electronic communications, all in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511, (Compl. ¶¶ 38-39); (3) possessed, manufactured, and/or assembled an electronic, mechanical, or other device knowing, or having a reason to know, that the design or such device renders it primarily useful for the purpose of the surreptitious interception of Plaintiff's wire or electronic communications and that such device or any component thereof has been or will be sent through the mail or transported in interstate or foreign commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2512,*fn2 (Compl. ¶¶ 42-43); and (4) knowingly manufactured, assembled, or modified an electronic, mechanical, or other device or equipment knowing, or having reason to know, that the device or equipment is used primarily in the assistance of the unauthorized decryption of Plaintiff's satellite programming, or direct-to-home satellite services, or is intended for any other prohibited activity; actively programmed and reprogrammed access cards and designed electronic systems for use in surreptitiously obtaining Plaintiff's satellite programming; and engaged in the unlawful assembly and/or modification of devices primarily in the assistance of the unauthorized decryption of Plaintiff's satellite programming by removing and inserting pirate access devices and/or inserting illegally programmed access cards into Plaintiff's receivers, all in violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(4),*fn3 (Compl. ¶ 46). We assume that Plaintiff's allegations are true and proceed to determine the damages that are proper in this case.

  Plaintiff requests an award of statutory damages pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II).*fn4 Under that section, because Plaintiff sufficiently alleges that Defendants violated § 605(e)(4), Plaintiff is entitled to "statutory damages in a sum not less than $10,000, or more than $100,000, as the court considers just."*fn5 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II); see also DirecTV, Inc. v. Adkins, No. 1:03 CV 00064, 2004 WL 1260058 (W.D. Va. June 9, 2004) (awarding the plaintiff $10,000 for each violation of § 604(e)(4) even though it meant "financial ruin" to the defendants). Accordingly, we are compelled to award Plaintiff the $10,000 in statutory damages it requests.

  In addition, Plaintiff asks that we award it reasonable attorney's fees in the amount of $1,607.70, and costs in the amount of $74.35. Under 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii), the court "shall direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding reasonable attorneys' fees to an aggrieved party who prevails." We find that the requested attorney's fees are reasonable, and we award Plaintiff the requested fees and costs.

  An appropriate Order follows. ORDER

  AND NOW, this 16th day of July, 2004, upon consideration of Plaintiff's Motion for a Default Judgment as to Defendant John Crumlish, (Doc. No. 67), and all papers filed in support thereof and opposition thereto, it is ORDERED that:

1. Plaintiff's Motion for a Default Judgment is GRANTED.
  2. Judgment is entered in favor of Plaintiff and against John Crumlish in the amount of $11,682.05, plus post-judgment interest to accrue from the legal rate now in effect, from the date of this judgment until paid.

  3. John Crumlish is permanently enjoined from committing or assisting in the commission of any violation of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 605, or committing or assisting in the commission of any violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2511 and 2512.

  IT IS SO ORDERED.


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