United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE, United States District Judge
the Court is Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc.
Motion for Default Judgment (Doc. 40). A hearing on the
motion was conducted on June 14, 2017 to determine damages.
For the following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is
J & J Sports is a California corporation that owns the
licensing rights to satellite and cable broadcasts of
sporting events, including professional boxing matches.
Plaintiff contracts with entities across the country
(including restaurants and sports bars and the like) to
permit those entities to broadcast fights in their
establishments. Those establishments receive the broadcast
signal and permission to exhibit the fight to their patrons.
alleges that on September 14, 2013, Defendants intercepted
its signal and broadcasted a televised middleweight
championship match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Saul
Alvarez in their establishment known as “Las Tres
Margaritas Inc.” It asserts violations of 47 U.S.C.
§§ 553 and 605 of the Federal Communications Act,
commonly referred to as the "piracy statutes."
Plaintiff moved for entry of default on May 3, 2017 (Doc.
38), and an entry was issued by the Clerk of Court the
following day (Doc. 39). On May 5, 2017, Plaintiff moved for
default judgment against Defendants (Doc. 40).
Court conducted a hearing to determine damages on default
Pursuant to Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Following the hearing, the Court permitted J&J
Sports to supplement its motion in order to provide
documentation of its attorneys' fees (see Doc.
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 55, the Court may enter a
judgment by default when the non-moving party has
“failed to plead or otherwise defend” itself.
Fed. R. Civ . P. 55(a). The decision to grant or deny default
judgment lies within the district court's discretion and
is only reviewed for abuse of discretion. Homer v.
Jones-Bey, 415 F.3d 749, 753 (7th Cir. 2005). “As
a general rule, a default judgment establishes, as a matter
of law, that defendants are liable to plaintiff as to each
cause of action alleged in the complaint as long as
plaintiff's allegations are well-plead.” Dundee
Cement Co. v. Howard Pipe & Concrete Products, Inc.,
722 F.2d 1319, 1323 (7th Cir. 1983).
complaint allegations regarding damages are not deemed true
on default. In re Catt, 368 F.3d at 793 (citations
omitted); Dundee Cement Co., 722 F.2d at 1323
(citations omitted). Instead, the district court must
determine with reasonable certainty the proper amount to
award as damages to the prevailing party. Id. The
determination can be made either based upon an evidentiary
hearing or from “definite figures contained in the
documentary evidence or in detailed affidavits.”
Dundee Cement Co., 722 F.2d at 1323 (citations
omitted); see also In re Catt, 368 F.3d at 793.
claimant entitled to relief under § 605 may elect actual
or statutory damages pursuant to § 605(e)(3)(C)(I).
Statutory damages may range from a minimum of $1, 000 to a
maximum of $10, 000, in the court's discretion. 47 U.S.C.
§ 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II). In this case, Plaintiff seeks
statutory liquidated damages, in the amount of $8, 800.00. It
also seeks a deterrence factor in the amount of $5, 000.00.
Finally, under § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii), Plaintiff requests
an award of attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of
support of its request for damages, Plaintiff submitted its
rate card, indicating what it would have charged Defendants
to show the fight based on the maximum capacity of the
facility where the event was to be broadcast (Doc. 40-3).
Based on the rate card, Defendants would have been charged a
standard rate of $2, 200.00.
consideration of the evidence, argument of Plaintiff's
counsel, and review of the authority submitted by Plaintiff,
the Court finds that Plaintiff is not entitled to its request
of “deterrence factor” damages in the amount of
four times the baseline ($8, 800.00). Accordingly, Plaintiff
is awarded statutory damages of $2, 200.00.
under 47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B), if a violation is found,
attorneys' fees and costs are mandatory. However,
Plaintiff's request for attorneys' fees is inflated
and unreasonable. Prior to the hearing, Counsel requested
fees in the amount of $4, 816.50. Based on a supplemental
affidavit for attorneys' fees filed by Counsel following
the hearing, Plaintiff seeks additional fees of $4, 520.00
for preparing for, travel to and from, and attending the
hearing on the motion for default judgment.
Court finds it significant that Counsel requested to
supplement the attorney's fee request only after the
Court indicated that it was not inclined to award the
requested “deterrence factor” damages of $8,
800.00. But the supplemental request may not be improperly
used as a method to “make up the difference.”
Moreover, the bulk of the additional requested fees is for
travel time to the hearing. However, Plaintiff has provided
no documentation that is obligated to reimburse Counsel's
travel time. Accordingly, the Court awards Plaintiff
attorneys' fees and costs in the amount of $6, 016.50.
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to enter default
judgment in favor of Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions,
Inc. and against ...