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Comcast of Illinoiss, LLC v. Toguchi

March 2, 2006

COMCAST OF ILLINOISS, LLC; AND ILLINOIS LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DENNIS TOGUCHI, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, Chief District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The following matter is before the court on Defendant's, Dennis Toguchi ("Toguchi"), Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's, Comcast of Illinois X, LLC ("Comcast"), complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is denied.

BACKGROUND

Toguchi is a resident of Cook County, Illinois. Comcast is a Limited Liability Company organized under the laws of, and with its principal place of business in, Illinois. The following facts are accepted as true for purposes of this Motion.

At the time relevant to the complaint, Comcast owned and operated a cable television system and provided and charged fees for various cable television services. The signals for Comcast's cable television services are received from orbiting satellites and through other means of over-the-air radio communication at its reception facilities. The signals are then retransmitted to customers' homes through a network of wiring and equipment and received by the customers through a device known as a "converter." The converter is supplied by Comcast and translates the signals into viewable channels.

Customers are entitled to receive only the selected programming which they have purchased. Comcast encodes or "scrambles" the signals to prevent customers from receiving programming services for which they have not paid. Customers who purchase scrambled programming services are provided with a device known as a "decoder," which is incorporated into the converter. The decoder deciphers the scrambled signal, enabling customers to view the selected programming. Comcast programs each decoder device from its central computer to descramble only those services selected and purchased by a customer.

Although Comcast secures its cable services through "scrambling," individuals can steal programming by installing and using a "descrambler." A descrambler is a device that enables an individual to intercept and view scrambled programming signals without paying for the services.

On or about September 18, 2002, pursuant to a Federal Court Order, Comcast, with the assistance of the United States Marshal's Service, raided Modern Electronics, Inc. ("Modern"), a known manufacturer and distributor of illegal descrambler devices. All of Modern's business records were seized, including invoices documenting sales of descrambling devices. The seized invoices indicated that Toguchi had purchased a VM 40 Boss VII, a known illegal descrambling device, from Modern on or about November 29, 2001.

On September 16, 2005, Comcast filed a two-count complaint initiating this suit against Toguchi and alleging violations of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 ("CCA"), 47 U.S.C. § 553 (2000), and the Illinois state statutory equivalent, 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/16-18, 19, 20, 21 (2005). Toguchi now brings the instant Motion to Dismiss Comcast's complaint in its entirety.

LEGAL STANDARDS

The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) is to test the legal sufficiency of a complaint. Triad Assocs., Inc. v. Chi. Hous. Auth., 892 F.2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989). All well-pleaded allegations are accepted as true, and all inferences are to be drawn in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Jackson v. E.J. Branch Corp., 176 F.3d 971, 978 (7th Cir. 1999). A complaint will not be dismissed for failure to state a claim "unless it appears beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claims which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957).

In order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff need only provide a "'short and plain statement' of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Kyle v. Morton High School, 144 F.3d 448, 454 (7th Cir. 1997), citing Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics & Intell. Coord. Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993). Although the particulars of the claim are not required, Midwest Gas Scvs. v. Ind. Gas Co., 317 F.3d 703, 710 (7th Cir. 2003), a complaint must allege facts setting forth the essential elements of the cause of action. Doherty v. City of Chi., 75 F.3d 318, 326 (7th Cir. 1996). A plaintiff "need not plead facts; he may plead conclusions." Jackson v. Marion County, 66 F.3d 151, 153-54 (7th Cir. 1995). With these principles in mind, we turn to the instant Motion.

DISCUSSION

Toguchi contends that the complaint should be dismissed ...


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