United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.
J & J Sports Productions, Inc. (“Plaintiff”
or “J & J”) brings this action against
Defendants All Star Sports Bar & Grille, Inc. (“All
Star Sports Bar”) and individual Charles A. Hackett
(“Hackett”), alleging commercial piracy of a
certain boxing match between Miguel Cotto and Sergio
Martinez, in violation of the Communications Act of 1934.
Plaintiff has moved for summary judgment, and Defendants have
responded in partial opposition. For the reasons that follow,
the Court will grant Plaintiff's motion and enter
judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against both Defendants.
is a California corporation that paid for exclusive
nationwide commercial distribution rights to a boxing match
between Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez that took place on
June 7, 2014 (the “Program”). Compl. ¶ 16.
Plaintiff then sublicensed these rights to various commercial
entities across North America. Id. ¶ 17.
alleges that it did not sublicense rights to the Program to
the Hotel Sports Bar & Grille (“Hotel Sports
Bar”), which is located at 541 West Lancaster Avenue in
Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and owned and operated by
Defendant All Star Sports Bar. Id. ¶¶ 7,
19. According to Plaintiff, Defendants unlawfully intercepted
the Program and showed the live broadcast to patrons at Hotel
Sports Bar without having obtained the proper license to do
so. Id. ¶ 19.
filed its complaint in this case on June 3, 2016. ECF No. 1.
Following the Court's denial of Defendant Hackett's
motion to dismiss, see ECF No. 26, the parties engaged in
discovery, and Plaintiff moved for summary judgment against
both Defendants on May 10, 2017, ECF No. 28. Attached to the
motion is, among other items, an affidavit signed by Daniel
Szlezak, the private investigator who visited Hotel Sports
Bar during the Program broadcast on June 7, 2014. ECF No.
responded together in partial opposition to Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 29, and Plaintiff
replied, ECF No. 36. The motion is now ripe for disposition.
judgment is appropriate if there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A
motion for summary judgment will not be defeated by
‘the mere existence' of some disputed facts, but
will be denied when there is a genuine issue of material
fact.” Am. Eagle Outfitters v. Lyle & Scott Ltd.,
584 F.3d 575, 581 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986)). A fact is
“material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence might affect the outcome of the litigation, and
a dispute is “genuine” if “the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
considering a motion for summary judgment, the Court views
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
“After making all reasonable inferences in the
nonmoving party's favor, there is a genuine issue of
material fact if a reasonable jury could find for the
nonmoving party.” Pignataro v. Port Auth. of N.Y. &
N.J., 593 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2010). The moving party
bears the initial burden of showing the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact, but meeting this obligation shifts
the burden to the nonmoving party, who then must “set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250 (quoting
605 of the Communications Act of 1934 “provides a civil
remedy for the unauthorized use or publication of various
wire or radio communications, including encrypted satellite
broadcasts.” DIRECTV, Inc. v. Seijas, 508 F.3d 123, 125
(3d Cir. 2007) (quoting DIRECTV, Inc. v. Pepe, 431 F.3d 162,
164 (3d Cir. 2005)). Specifically, this statutory provision
prohibits the unauthorized reception of “any interstate
or foreign communication by radio” and the use of any
such communication “for his own benefit or the benefit
of another not entitled thereto.” 47 U.S.C. §
certain circumstances, an individual may be held vicariously
liable for a § 605 violation committed by his or her
co-defendant corporation. Courts within this district have
articulated the following requirements for imposing this type
of vicarious liability:
An individual may be liable if he “(1) has the right
and ability to supervise the violative activity, although he
need not actually be supervising, because he need not know of
the violative activity, and (2) has a direct financial
interest in the violation, i.e., financial benefits, even if
not proportional ...