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J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Betancourt

October 20, 2009

J&J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., PLAINTIFF,
v.
RUBEN BETANCOURT A/K/A/ RUBEN BETANCOURT SOTO AND RAMON (DOC. NO. 8) MORENO, INDIVIDUALLY, AND D/B/A MARISCOS LA COSTA DE NAYARIT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Janis L. Sammartino United States District Judge

ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

Presently before the Court is J&J Sports Productions, Inc.'s ("Plaintiff") application for Default Judgment. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's application is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

BACKGROUND

On May 27, 2008, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendants Ruben Betancourt and Ramon Moreno, both d/b/a Mariscos La Costa de Nayarit. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff's complaint alleged three claims -- two federal statutory claims and the state common law claim of conversion -- against Defendants for knowingly intercepting and illegally re-broadcasting the "Julio Cesar Chavez v. Ivan Robinson Fight Program" (the "Program"). Plaintiff owned the distribution rights to the Program. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Defendant Ruben Betancourt was served on August 2, 2008 and Defendant Ramon Moreno was served on October 24, 2008. (Doc. Nos. 4 & 5.) Defendants did not respond to the complaint, and Plaintiff filed for default judgment on April 2, 2009. (Doc. No. 8). Defendants were served with the application for default judgment that same day, and have not responded.

LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55 permits a court to enter default judgment. A court is to grant or deny default judgment at its discretion. See Lau Ah Yew v. Dulles, 236 F.2d 415, 416 (9th Cir. 1956). The Ninth Circuit has set out seven factors for a court to consider when exercising its discretion:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to the plaintiff, (2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim, (3) the sufficiency of the complaint, (4) the sum of money at stake in the action, (5) the possibility of a dispute concerning material facts, (6) whether the default was due to excusable neglect, and (7) the strong policy underlying the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure favoring decisions on the merits.

Eitel v. McCool, 782 F.2d 1470, 1471--72 (9th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted). Generally, upon an entry of default, the plaintiff's factual allegations are taken as true, while the plaintiff's allegations as to damages suffered are not treated as dispositive. See Geddes v. United Financial Group, 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977) (citing Pope v. United States, 323 U.S. 1, 12 (1944)).

ANALYSIS

I. Default Judgment

A. Possibility of Prejudice to Plaintiff

This factor weighs in favor of a default judgment, as Plaintiff would be prejudiced if the application is not granted. Defendants are deemed to have admitted all of the allegations in the complaint by failing to respond. Therefore, "Plaintiff would suffer prejudice if the default judgment is not entered because Plaintiff would be without other recourse for recovery." Philip Morris USA v. Castword Prods., Inc., 219 F.R.D. 494, 499 (C.D. Cal. 2003).

B. Merits of Plaintiff's Claim and Sufficiency of the Complaint The second and third factors require that "plaintiff's allegations state a claim on which the [plaintiff] may recover." Kloepping v. Fireman's Fund, 1996 WL 75314, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 13, 1996) (quotation and citation omitted). Plaintiff raises three claims for relief under: (1) the Federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. ยง 605; (2) the ...


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