United States District Court, C.D. California
Fuzzy Logic Productions, Inc.
Trapflix, LLC, et al.
CHAMBERS - COURT ORDER
Present: Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT
CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL
Honorable PERCY ANDERSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court are a Motion for Default Judgment (Docket No. 94)
and a Motion for Attorneys' Fees (Docket No. 91) filed by
plaintiff and counter-defendant Fuzzy Logic Productions, Inc.
("Fuzzy Logic" or "Plaintiff"). Fuzzy
Logic seeks entry of Judgment and attorneys' fees from
defendants and counter-claimants Joseph Tom, also known as
"Figg Panamera" and "JT the Bigga Figga"
("Tom"), and Trapflix, LLC, a Georgia limited
liability company ("Trapflix GA"). Pursuant to Rule
78 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule
7-15, the Court finds that these matters are appropriate for
decision without oral argument. The hearing scheduled for
July 18, 2016 is vacated, and the matters taken off calendar.
Factual and Procedural Background
a trademark and copyright infringement action. Plaintiff owns
the intellectual property rights related to the motion
picture "Snow on tha Bluff" that was released
commercially in 2012. The operative Second Amended Complaint
("SAC") alleges that "Snow on tha Bluff"
is a fictional movie loosely based on the experiences of an
individual named Curtis Snow and the Atlanta neighborhood
called "the Bluff" in which Snow resides. (SAC
¶ 22.) "Snow on tha Bluff" has been released
through a variety of platforms, including home DVD and
Netflix. Plaintiff asserts that the "trade name
‘Snow on tha Bluff' has achieved substantial
national recognition and acquired secondary meaning."
(SAC ¶ 26.)
alleges that defendants Tom, Trapflix GA, of which Tom is the
sole shareholder and Chief Executive Officer, Calvin Broadus,
who is also known by his stage name "Snoop Dogg"
("Broadus"), and Trapflix, LLC, a California
limited liability company ("Trapflix CA"), operated
by Broadus, together produced, marketed, and distributed
"unauthorized movie sequels" with the names
"Snow on tha Bluff 2" and possibly "Snow on
tha Bluff 3." (SAC ¶ 28.) "Snow on tha Bluff
2" had been distributed on the "Trapflix"
website operated by Trapflix GA. (FAC ¶¶ 27-29.)
The title cards appearing in "Snow on tha Bluff 2"
include statements that it is a "Trapflix original
motion picture, " "A JT the Bigga Figga film,
" and "a Trapflix production." (SAC ¶
30.) The credits for "Snow on tha Bluff 2" list
"Figg Panamera" and "Snoop Dogg" as
executive producers. (Id.)
alleges claims for: (1) copyright infringement against Tom
and Trapflix GA; (2) infringement of an unregistered
trademark against Tom and Trapflix GA; (3) trademark dilution
pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c) against Tom and Trapflix
GA; (4) false advertising pursuant to 15 U.S.C. §
1125(a) against Tom and Trapflix GA; (5) false designation of
origin pursuant to 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a) against Tom and
Trapflix GA; (6) common law trademark infringement against
Tom and Trapflix GA; (7) unfair competition pursuant to
California Business and Professions Code section 17200
against Tom and Trapflix GA; (8) trademark dilution and
injury to business reputation pursuant to California Business
and Professions Code section 14330 against Tom and Trapflix
GA; (9) unjust enrichment against Tom and Trapflix GA; (10)
contributory copyright infringement against all defendants;
and (11) contributory trademark infringement against all
has settled and dismissed his claims against Broadus and
Trapflix CA. (See Docket Nos. 84, 90, & 93.)
Trapflix GA and Tom filed a Counterclaim for copyright
infringement against Fuzzy Logic. The attorneys retained by
Tom and Trapflix GA eventually sought the Court's
permission to withdraw as counsel as a result of the failures
by Tom and Trapflix GA to pay their attorneys' fees or
cooperate with their counsel, and because Tom and Trapflix GA
were, according to their attorneys, engaging in a course of
conduct that created a risk that continued representation
would breach counsel's ethical obligations. In granting
the Motion to Withdraw as Counsel, the Court warned Trapflix
GA that, consistent with Local Rule 83-2.2.2, it could not
represent itself. The Court gave Trapflix GA time to obtain
new counsel, but stated that if it did not do so, the Court
would strike its Answer and Counterclaim and enter its
default. At the same time, the Court advised Tom that if he
did not timely obtain new counsel or enter an appearance as
counsel on his own behalf, that his Answer and Counterclaim
would be stricken and his default entered. After the
expiration of the deadline for an appearance by Tom or new
counsel on behalf of him and Trapflix GA, the Court struck
their Answers and Counterclaims and entered their defaults on
May 26, 2016.
Motion for Default Judgment, Fuzzy Logic seeks an award of
damages, attorneys' fees, injunctive relief, and pre- and
post-judgment interest against Tom and Trapflix GA
(collectively "Defendants"), on its copyright and
trademark claims. Specifically, Fuzzy Logic seeks an award of
$150, 000 in statutory damages under the Copyright Act. Fuzzy
Logic also seeks damages under the Lanham Act for its actual
damages and lost profits of $417, 430, $250, 000 in unjust
enrichment obtained by Defendants, and $155, 300 for
corrective advertising. Fuzzy Logic requests that the Court
exercise its discretion under the Lanham Act to triple these
damages as a result of the willful infringement committed by
Tom and Trapflix GA. Fuzzy Logic also seeks an award of $179,
709 in attorneys' fees and costs incurred to prosecute
its copyright and trademark claims, and an additional $28,
965 in attorneys' fees and costs in its successful
defense of the Counterclaim for copyright infringement
asserted by Tom and Trapflix GA.
Legal Standard and Liability
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) grants the Court the power
to enter a default judgment. The Court need not make detailed
findings of fact in the event of a default judgment.
Adriana Int'l v. Thoeren, 913 F.2d 1406, 1414
(9th Cir. 1990). The general rule is that upon entry of
default, well-pled allegations in the complaint regarding
liability are deemed true. Geddes v. United Fin.
Corp., 559 F.2d 557, 560 (9th Cir. 1977). Factors the
Court should consider in evaluating a motion for entry of
default judgment include: "(1) the possibility of
prejudice to the plaintiff; (2) the merits of the
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).
Court finds that these factors weigh in favor of granting the
Motion for Default Judgment with respect to liability. In
light of the allegations in the SAC, Defendants'
abandonment of their defense and counterclaims, and willful
failure to participate in the action, Plaintiff's
interest in efficient resolution of the case outweighs any
interest in an adjudication on the merits. See PepsiCo,
Inc. v. Cal. Sec. Cans, 238 F.Supp.2d 1172, 1177 (C.D.
Cal. 2002) ("Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a), termination of a
case before hearing the merits is allowed whenever a
defendant fails to defend an action."). The Court
therefore grants Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment
with respect to liability.