Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Maglietta

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

December 18, 2019

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ANTHONY J. MAGLIETTA and MOLLY'S PUB, INC., Defendants.

          OPINION PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS, ECF NO. 20-GRANTED, IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ALTER OR AMEND JUDGMENT, ECF NO. 21-DENIED

          JOSEPH F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. BACKGROUND

         This is an action brought pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 605, et seq., and the Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, 47 U.S.C. § 553, et seq., for the unlawful interception and exhibition of a boxing match on May 2, 2015. Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. was granted exclusive nationwide commercial distribution rights to “The fight of the Century” Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. Manny Pacquiao Championship Fight Program (hereafter, “the Program”), and subsequently entered into sublicensing agreements with various commercial entities (hotels, bars, casinos, etc.) for the Program's exhibition on May 2, 2015. Defendants Molly's Pub, Inc. and its agent Anthony Maglietta did not have a sublicense agreement with J & J for the exhibition of the Program, nonetheless they intercepted and exhibited the Program the night of its broadcast to between twenty and twenty-six patrons of Molly's Pub. See generally Plaintiff's Complaint, ECF No. 1.

         J & J commenced this action for the Defendants' unauthorized exhibition of the Program under the above-mentioned telecommunications statutes on April 27, 2017. See ECF No. 1. After the Defendants failed to answer or otherwise appear in this action, J & J moved for entry of default judgment, asking for $7, 500 in statutory damages and $22, 500 in enhanced damages. See Mot. for Def. Judg., ECF No. 17. In an Opinion and Order dated June 11, 2019, this Court granted J & J's motion for entry of default judgment and awarded J & J $3, 000 in statutory damages and $1, 000 in enhanced damages, pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 553. See Def. Judg. Opn., ECF No. 18; Def. Judg. Order, ECF No. 19. The Court further granted J & J leave to submit an application for attorneys' fees and costs, provided the application was filed within fourteen days of the Court's Opinion and Order.

         On June 25, 2019, J & J filed a timely motion for attorneys' fees and costs, seeking $5, 976.00 in attorneys' fees and $1, 389.28 in costs. See Fee Mot., ECF No. 20; Fee Mem., ECF No. 20-1; Riley Decl., ECF No. 20-2. Shortly thereafter, on July 9, 2019, J & J filed a motion to alter or amend judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). In this motion, J & J asks the Court for damages in the amount originally sought in its motion for entry of default judgment-$7, 500 in statutory damages and $22, 500 in enhanced damages, rather than $3, 000 in statutory damages and $1, 000 in enhanced damages, as awarded-based on several alleged errors in the Court's reasoning. See Mot. to Amend, ECF No. 21; Mem. to Amend, ECF No. 21-1. Neither Defendant has responded to either motion despite being properly served both.

         For the reasons set forth below, J & J's motion for attorneys' fees and costs is granted, in part, and its motion to amend or alter this Court's previous award of damages is denied.

         II. MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

         Pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 553(c)(2)(C), “[t]he court may direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding reasonable attorneys' fees to an aggrieved party who prevails.” J & J seeks an award of attorneys' fees in an amount of $5, 976.00 and an award of costs in an amount of $1, 389.28. Its motion is supported by a declaration of Thomas P. Riley, counsel of record for J & J, in which Mr. Riley states that he billed at an hourly rate of $500, administrative assistants involved in this case billed at a rate of $100 per hour, and his firm's research attorney, also involved in this case, billed at a rate of $300 per hour. Riley Decl. ¶ 5. With this declaration are contemporaneous billing records as well as a breakdown of the billing based on the timekeeper. This breakdown shows the requested fee award of $5, 976.00 is comprised of 2.75 hours of work billed by Mr. Riley at his $500 per hour rate, 10.01 hours of work billed by administrative assistants at the $100 per hour rate, and 12.0 hours billed by the research attorney at the $300 per hour rate. Id., Ex. 1 at 4. With respect to J & J's request for costs, to the declaration of Mr. Riley is attached a breakdown of expenses, showing as follows: $650 for “Investigate Expense;” $28.18 for “Courier Charges;” $400 for the “Complaint Filing Fee;” $31.10 for “Photocopies Charges;” $95.00 and $35.00 for “Service of Process Fees;” and an additional $150.00 for a “Sheriff Service Fee.” Id. In support of these figures is documentation of a $650 fee from “Lancaster Detective Agency, Inc.” for investigative services, id., Ex. 3; as well as documentation showing expenses associated with service of process, id. Ex 4.

         A. Legal Standard

         “Generally, courts use the ‘lodestar' method in evaluating a fee application. . . . Under the lodestar method, [an] attorney's reasonable hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours the attorney reasonably spent working on a matter.” A.B. by & through F.B. v. Pleasant Valley Sch. Dist., No. 3:17-CV-02311, 2019 WL 2715681, at *2 (M.D. Pa. June 28, 2019) (quoting D.O. ex rel. M.O. v. Jackson Twp. Bd. of Educ., No. CV 17-1581, 2019 WL 1923388, at *2 (D.N.J. Apr. 30, 2019)). The resulting figure “is presumed to be [a] reasonable fee.” Pleasant Valley Sch. Dist., 2019 WL 2715681, at *2; Rayna P. v. Campus Cmty. Sch., 390 F.Supp.3d 556, 561 (D. Del. 2019).

         With respect to whether the fee applicant has billed at “a reasonable hourly rate, ” such a rate is generally “calculated according to the prevailing market rates in the relevant community.” Maldonado v. Houstoun, 256 F.3d 181, 184 (3d Cir. 2001); see J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. TCOS Enterprises, Inc., No. CIV.A. 10-7130, 2012 WL 1361655, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 19, 2012) (“In determining the prevailing market rate, a court must consider the rates charged ‘in the community for similar services by lawyers of reasonably comparable skill, experience, and reputation.'” (quoting Rode v. Dellarciprete, 892 F.2d 1177, 1183 (3d Cir. 1990))).

         B. Application to J & J's Motion

         Having reviewed the contemporaneous billing records submitted by J & J's counsel, the Court finds the time billed-24.76 hours in total, see Riley Dec., Ex. 1-and the specific tasks for which that time was billed, to be reasonable in light of the requirements of this case. Moreover, the Court finds that the hourly rates at which the three participants of counsel's firm billed-$500 for Mr. Riley, $300 for the research attorney, and $100 for the administrative assistants, see id.-were also reasonable in light of each individual's qualifications and the “market rates in the relevant community.” Maldonado, 256 F.3d at 184. Specifically, Mr. Riley is an attorney specializing in telecommunication matters with over twenty-five years of experience. See Riley Decl. ¶¶ 3-4. His hourly rate of $500 is reasonable in light of the hourly rates in this market for similar services.[1] See, e.g., J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Allen, No. CV 17-4046, 2018 WL 1307880, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 13, 2018) (finding that, in a similar telecommunications case with Mr. Riley as counsel for J & J, the “billed hourly rates of J&J's national ($500) and local ($400) counsel are reasonable for attorneys of their experience in this District”); J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Ramsey, No. CV 17-1942, 2017 WL 4287200, at *3 (E.D. Pa. Sept. 27, 2017) (“The billed hourly rates of Plaintiff's national ($450) and local ($400) counsel are reasonable for attorneys of their experience in this District.”), aff'd, 757 Fed.Appx. 93 (3d Cir. 2018). Similarly, counsel's research attorney has been practicing law for over twenty-four years, and his hourly rate of $300 is reasonable. Cf. Keister v. PPL Corp., 257 F.Supp.3d 693, 702 (M.D. Pa. 2016) (finding $275 to be a reasonable hourly rate in 2016 in the Middle District of Pennsylvania for an experienced employment law attorney), aff'd, 677 Fed.Appx. 63 (3d Cir. 2017); Chaney v. HVL, LLC, No. CIV.A. 11-0833, 2012 WL 5990124, at *2 (W.D. Pa. Nov. 30, 2012) (finding $300 to be a reasonable hourly rate in 2012 in the Western District of Pennsylvania for an experienced employment law attorney). Finally, the Court finds $100 a reasonable hourly rate for an administrative assistant. See Wilson v. Advanced Urgent Care, P.C., No. 4:16-CV-00214, 2018 WL 1315663, at *3 (M.D. Pa. Mar. 14, 2018) (finding $90 to be a reasonable rate for a paralegal); J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Thomas, No. CIV.A. 10-7051, 2011 WL 3156765, at *3 (E.D. Pa. July 26, 2011) (“The rates charged by Mr. Riley's administrative assistant, $75 per hour, and his paralegal, $150 per hour, are also reasonable.”).

         With respect to costs, J & J seeks $650 for “Investigate Expense;” $28.18 for “Courier Charges;” $400 for the “Complaint Filing Fee;” $31.10 for “Photocopies Charges;” $95.00 and $35.00 for “Service of Process Fees;” and an additional $150.00 for a “Sheriff Service Fee.” Riley Decl., Ex 1 at 4. The Court is satisfied with the documentation provided by counsel and will award the costs sought, with the exception of “Courier Charges” and “Photocopies Charges.” There is no documentation to support either request. See Yudenko v. Guarinni, No. CIV. A. 06-CV-4161, 2010 WL 2490679, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 15, 2010) (“Where the prevailing party does not provide an itemized description of the copying, courts have disallowed or reduced ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.