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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Rodriguez

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

June 27, 2014

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
LUIS RODRIGUEZ, Defendant.

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S APPLICATION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT

BETH LABSON FREEMAN, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. sues Defendant Luis Rodriguez for the unlawful interception and intentional exhibition of a boxing match for which Plaintiff owned the exclusive television distribution rights. Plaintiff has filed an Application for Default Judgment against Defendant. For the following reasons, the application is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a sports and entertainment programming distributor that owned the exclusive nationwide distribution rights to Manny Pacquiao v. Juan Manuel Marquez, IV Welterweight Fight Program, which was telecast on December 8, 2012. (Am. Compl. ¶ 20, ECF 12) This program included the main fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez as well as preliminary under-card bouts. ( Id. ) In order to broadcast the program, a commercial establishment was required to enter into a sublicensing agreement with Plaintiff. ( Id. ¶ 21) The license authorized the establishment to display the program publicly. ( Id. )

On the date of the telecast, investigator Gary Gravelyn observed the alleged unlawful exhibition of the program at Los Jarritos, a Mexican restaurant. (Gravelyn Decl., ECF 21-3)[1] In his declaration, investigator Gravelyn reported seeing three fifty-inch television sets located throughout the restaurant; it is not clear whether all three television sets were showing the boxing match. ( Id. ) He noted that a cable box "was not" visible and that the restaurant "has" a satellite dish. ( Id. ) No cover charge was required to enter the restaurant in order to watch the boxing match, nor was the purchase of food or drink required. ( See id. ) Gravelyn reported the capacity of the restaurant to be approximately 150 people. ( Id. ) During the four minutes he was there, Gravelyn conducted three headcounts. ( Id. ) He counted "100" people on the first headcount, 105 people on the second headcount, and 109 people on the final headcount. ( Id. )

On December 2, 2013, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant Juan Penalver, the named business owner of Los Jarritos. (Compl. ¶¶ 7-12, ECF 1) Plaintiff amended the Complaint on March 3, 2014 in order to add Luis Rodriguez as a defendant. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13-18, ECF 12) Based upon supplemental information provided by Plaintiff, the Court is satisfied that Luis Rodriguez is the legal operator of Los Jarritos. (Supp. Br., ECF 27) Three weeks later, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the action against Penalver. (Not. of Vol. Dismissal, ECF 16) Defendant Rodriguez was served with the Amended Complaint on March 11, 2014 and his answer was due on April 1, 2014. (Proof of Serv., ECF 15) Defendant Rodriguez did not file an answer and has not appeared. On April 9, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Request for Entry of Default (Req. to Enter Default, ECF 17), which was served upon Defendant. ( Id. at 3) The clerk entered default on April 17, 2014. (Entry of Default, ECF 20)

Plaintiff now seeks default judgment granting the following relief: (1) $10, 000 in statutory damages for violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605; (2) $100, 000 in enhanced statutory damages for violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605; (3) $4, 200 in damages for conversion under California Civil Code § 3336; and (4) reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) permits a court, following an entry of default, to enter default judgment against a defendant. Upon an entry of default, all well-pled factual allegations of the plaintiff's complaint are taken as true, except as to the amount of damages. Fair Hous. of Marin v. Combs, 285 F.3d 899, 906 (9th Cir. 2002). "The district court's decision whether to enter a default judgment is a discretionary one." Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir. 1980).

The Ninth Circuit considers seven factors, commonly known as the " Eitel factors, " in determining whether default judgment is appropriate:

(1) [T]he 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 ...


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