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J & J Sports Productions, Inc v. Stuart L. Thomas

July 26, 2011

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
STUART L. THOMAS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Slomsky, J.

OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

On June 23, 2011, Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. filed a Motion for Default Judgment in this case. (Doc. No. 7.) The following day, the Court issued an Order scheduling a hearing on the Motion and directing that all parties appear at the hearing "to show cause as to why a default judgment should not be entered against Defendants Stuart L. Thomas and Bustleton Famous of Holland, Inc. and to assess damages." (Doc. No. 8.) The hearing was held on July 13, 2011. Despite being served with notice of the hearing (see Doc. No. 9), and being afforded almost three weeks to file a response, Defendants failed to appear at the hearing or otherwise respond to the Motion.

During the hearing, the Court determined that the unchallenged factual allegations contained in the Complaint established a cause of action under 47 U.S.C. § 605.*fn1 Further, the Court explained that consideration of the Poulis*fn2 factors supported the entry of default judgment against Defendants.*fn3 The Court also determined that under 47 U.S.C. §§ 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II)*fn4 and 605(e)(3)(C)(ii),*fn5 Plaintiff was entitled to damages in the amount of $27,600, representing $9,200 in statutory damages and $18,400 in enhanced damages. Since at the time of the hearing counsel for Plaintiff had not yet submitted evidence on fees and costs incurred in the litigation, the Court was unable to determine the appropriate amount of attorney's fees and costs to award.

Following the hearing, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. No. 11.) Counsel for Plaintiff then submitted evidence of fees and costs incurred in litigating the case. (Doc. No. 15.) The Court will now consider this evidence to determine the amount of reasonable attorney's fees and costs that should be awarded to counsel for Plaintiff. For reasons that follow, the Court will award attorney's fees and costs to Plaintiff in the amount of $1,518.73. The Court will enter judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendants in the amount of $29,118.73, which includes $27,600 in damages and $1,518.73 in attorney's fees and costs.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On Saturday, December 6, 2008, a Welterweight Championship fight was held between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. (Doc. No. 7.) Plaintiff was granted the exclusive nationwide commercial distribution right to broadcast this fight. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ 9.) The broadcast was titled: "The Dream Match": Oscar De La Hoya v. Manny Pacquiao, Welterweight Championship Fight Program (the "Program"). (Id.) The exclusive right to the Program included all under-card bouts and fight commentary. (Id.)

Plaintiff sold sub-licensing rights to the Program to casinos, racetracks, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. (Id. ¶ 10.) Due to the potential for rampant piracy of the broadcast, Plaintiff hired auditors and investigators to detect and identify any illegal interception of the boradcast. (Doc. No. 7-4 ¶¶ 4-6.) Plaintiff provided its auditors and investigators with a list of customers who paid the license fee to broadcast the Program. (Id.) Defendant Bar & Grill did not pay the licensing fee for the Program, but was identified by investigators as having obtained access to the Program. (Id. ¶ 7.)

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on the evening the Program aired, Jonathan Sherno, an investigator hired by Plaintiff, went to Defendant Bar & Grill. (Doc. No. 7-3.) He paid a $5.00 cover charge to enter the Bar. (Id.) Once inside Mr. Sherno observed that the Program was being shown on three televisions located behind the bar. (Id.) The capacity of Defendant Bar & Grill is approximately fifty people. (Id.) Mr. Sherno counted the number of patrons at the Bar on three occasions. The first time there were seventeen patrons, the second time there were twenty-three patrons, and the third time there were thirty or more patrons. (Id.)

On December 3, 2010, Plaintiff filed the Complaint alleging that Defendants violated federal law in broadcasting the Program without a license. (Doc. No. 1.) On February 3, 2011, Plaintiff served Defendants. (Doc. Nos. 4, 5.) On February 22, 2011, Plaintiff filed proof of service with the Court. (Id.) Defendants did not file an Answer to the Complaint within the time provided by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No 7-1.) On June 8, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Request for Entry of Default against Defendants. (Doc. No. 6.) On June 8, 2011, the Clerk entered default.

On June 23, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. No. 7.) Defendants were served with the Motion. (Doc. No. 7-1.) As noted above, on June 24, 2011, the Court filed an Order scheduling a Show Cause Hearing on the Motion. (Doc. No. 8.) The Court ordered that Plaintiff serve Defendants in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4 and file Proof of Service with the Court. (Id.) On June 27, 2011, Plaintiff served Defendants with a copy of the Show Cause Order and filed Proof of Service with the Court. (Doc. No. 9.)

As stated above, the Court held a hearing on the Motion on July 13, 2011. Following the hearing, the Court granted the Motion for Default Judgment. (Doc. No. 11.) On July 18, 2011, counsel for Plaintiff filed a Declaration Regarding Attorney's Fees and Costs. (Doc. No. 15.)

III. DISCUSSION

Having determined at the hearing that the unchallenged factual allegations contained in the Complaint established a cause of action under 47 U.S.C. ยง 605, the Court next will determine the amount of reasonable attorney's fees and costs to which ...


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