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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Leger

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

December 10, 2013

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
TUPETAIKI M. LEGER, individually and d/b/a FALEKAI TONGA RESTAURANT, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING APPLICATION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

SAMUEL CONTI, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. ("Plaintiff") seeks entry of Default Judgment against Defendant Tupetaiki M. Leger ("Defendant"). ECF No. 13 ("App. for Default J."). Plaintiff's application is unopposed, and the Court finds the matter suitable for determination without oral argument pursuant to Civil Local Rule 7-1(b). Having considered the papers submitted, the Court concludes that entry of Default Judgment against Defendant is appropriate, and GRANTS Plaintiff's Application.

II. BACKGROUND

The following allegations are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint. Plaintiff is a California corporation with its principal place of business in Campbell, California. ECF No. 1 ("Compl.") ¶ 1. Defendant is the owner and operator of Falekai Tonga Restaurant (the "Restaurant"), which is located in the city of San Bruno, California. Id . ¶ 2.

Plaintiff was granted the exclusive nationwide commercial distribution rights to Floyd Mayweather Jr. v. Miguel Cotto, WBA Super World Light Middleweight Championship Program (the "Program"), telecast nationwide on Saturday, May 5, 2012. Id . ¶ 14. Plaintiff entered into sublicensing agreements that gave commercial establishments in the hospitality industry the right to publicly exhibit the program. Id . ¶ 15.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendant willfully and unlawfully intercepted and exhibited the Program at the time of its transmission at the Restaurant. Id . ¶ 11. Plaintiff further alleges that the unlawful broadcast resulted in increased profits for the Restaurant. Id . ¶ 12.

Additional facts are set forth in the affidavit of an investigator, Yolanda Poblete ("Poblete"), which is attached to Plaintiff's Application for Default Judgment. ECF No. 13-2 ("Poblete Decl."). Poblete states that she entered the Restaurant on the evening of the Program and was not charged a cover. Id. at 1. At that time, she observed the Program broadcast on a thirty-eight-inch flat-screen television located in the Restaurant. Id . Poblete remained in the Restaurant for about thirteen minutes, and during that time she counted seven to eight patrons in the establishment. Id. at 1-2. According to Poblete, the Restaurant had a seating capacity of over forty-five. Id. at 2.

Plaintiff asserts causes of action for violations of 47 U.S.C. § 605 (the "Communications Act"), which prohibits unauthorized publication or use of wire or radio transmissions; 47 U.S.C. § 553, which prohibits unauthorized reception of cable service; common law conversion; and violation of California Unfair Competition Law ("UCL"), Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17200, et seq. Defendant failed to answer the Complaint or otherwise enter an appearance, and the Clerk entered Default. ECF No. 12.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

After entry of a default, the Court may enter a default judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). Its decision whether to do so, while discretionary, is guided by several factors. Aldabe v. Aldabe , 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980). As a preliminary matter, the Court must "assess the adequacy of the service of process on the party against whom default is requested." Bd. of Trs. of the N. Cal. Sheet Metal Workers v. Peters, No. 00-0395 , 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19065, at *2 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 2, 2001). If the Court determines that service was sufficient, it should consider whether the following factors support the entry of default judgment: (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).

"The general rule of law is that upon default the factual allegations of the complaint, except those relating to the amount of damages, will be taken as true." Geddes v. United Fin. Grp. , 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977). "However, necessary facts not contained in the pleadings, and claims which are legally insufficient, are not established by default." Cripps v. Life Ins. Co. , 980 F.2d 1261, 1267 (9th Cir. 1992).

IV. DISCUSSION

A. Service of ...


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