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Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Tamayo

United States District Court, N.D. California

July 16, 2014

JOSEPH TAMAYO, individually and d/b/a CROSSFIT FORCE GYM, Defendant.


CHARLES R. BREYER, District Judge.

Now before the Court is Plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions. Inc.'s Motion for Default Judgment. The Court has reviewed the papers, and given Defendant an opportunity to respond and to appear at the hearing held on July 11, 2014. Plaintiff's motion for Default Judgment is hereby GRANTED.


Plaintiff is a nationwide distributor of broadcast sporting events. Compl. ¶ 15. It obtained the domestic commercial exhibition rights to broadcast the Ultimate Fighting Championship 159: Jon Jones v. Chael Sonnen (the "Program"). Id . ¶ 14 To exhibit the Program, commercial establishments were required to enter into a subleasing agreement with Plaintiff. Id . ¶¶ 15, 17.

Defendant Tamayo owns and operates Crossfit Force Gym in Santa Rosa, California. Id . ¶¶ 7-8. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants unlawfully intercepted the Program and exhibited it at his gym to an audience of at most thirty-one people. Id . ¶ 17; Affiant Decl. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants did so willfully and for the purpose of commercial advantage and/or private financial gain. Compl. ¶ 18.

Plaintiff filed its Complaint on April 16, 2014, and Defendants were served with summons and the Complaint shortly thereafter. See Compl.; Summons (dkt. 5). Defendants did not answer the Complaint, and on June 9, 2014, the Court entered default against Defendant. See Clerk's Notice, Entry of Default. Plaintiff subsequently filed a Motion for Default Judgment. See Mot. As of the date of this Order, Defendants have not answered the Complaint, responded to the Motion, or otherwise appeared in the case. See generally Docket, Case No. 3:14-cv-01744-CRB.

Plaintiff's Complaint includes causes of action for (1) violation of the Federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 605, (2) violation of the Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, 47 U.S.C. § 553, (3) conversion, and (4) violation of California Business and Professions Code § 17200. Compl. at ¶¶ 12-40. Plaintiff's motion seeks damages only for the violation of section 605 and for conversion. Mot. at 5-16.


Default judgments are generally disfavored because cases should ordinarily be decided on the merits. Pena v. Seguros La Comercial, S.A. , 770 F.2d 811, 814 (9th Cir. 1985). However, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b), the Court may enter a default judgment upon motion by the Plaintiff after entry of default by the Clerk. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). Whether to grant a motion for the entry of a default judgment is within the discretion of the trial court. See Lau Ah Yew v. Dulles , 236 F.2d 415, 416 (9th Cir. 1956).

Upon an entry of default by the Clerk, the factual allegations of the plaintiff's complaint will be taken as true, except those relating to the amount of damages. See Derek Andrew, Inc. v. Poof Apparel Corp. , 528 F.3d 696, 702 (9th Cir. 2008). A plaintiff is required to prove all damages sought in the complaint. See Televideo Sys., Inc. v. Heidenthal , 826 F.2d 915, 917-18 (9th Cir. 2002). If the facts necessary to determine the damages are not contained in the pleadings, or are legally insufficient, they will not be established by default. Cripps v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am. , 980 F.2d 1261, 1267 (9th Cir. 1992).

In determining whether to enter a default judgment, a court has "an affirmative duty to look into its jurisdiction over both the subject matter and the parties." In re Tuli , 172 F.3d 707, 712 (9th Cir. 1999) ("To avoid entering a default judgment that can later be successfully attacked as void, a court should determine whether it has the power, i.e., the jurisdiction, to enter the judgment in the first place"). Because Crossfit Force Gym is located within this district, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction. In addition, the Court has subject matter jurisdiction because Plaintiff's claims arise under the Federal Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. § 605.


A. The Court Declines to Apply 47 U.S.C. § 605 Absent Evidence of Satellite Transmission

A claim under section 605 can be established when defendants engage in unlawful interception of "satellite cable programming" whereas a claim under section 553 concerns interception "over a cable system."[1] 47 U.S.C. § 605(a); § 553(a)(1). Plaintiff alleges violations of both section 605 and section 553 in its Complaint but argues only its section 605 claim and its conversion claim in its Motion for Default Judgment.[2] See Compl. at 3-6; Mot. at 4-20. Plaintiff seeks damages pursuant to section ...

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