United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL UNITED SPATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Court has for its consideration plaintiff's Motion for
Default Judgment and Brief in Support (Motion) (Doc. 15, 16).
For the reasons discussed herein, the Court finds that the
Motion should be granted, as set forth below.
alleges that defendants unlawfully intercepted and exhibited
“Toe to Toe” Manny Pacquiao v. Timothy
Bradley, II WBO Welterweight Championship Fight Program
(the Program) on April 12, 2014. (See Doc. 9; Doc.
16). Plaintiff had exclusive nationwide commercial
distribution rights to the Program. The interstate
transmission of the Program was encrypted and available only
to commercial establishments that entered into a
sub-licensing agreement with the plaintiff. Jasem Nassif, an
auditor hired by plaintiff, observed the Program being shown
at the defendants' establishment known as Bar 7 De Copas,
even though the defendants had not obtained a license for the
program from the plaintiff. Nassif counted twenty-eight
people inside the establishment and the Program was displayed
on three television screens. He did not observe any
advertisements or promotions. He said there were no admission
fees or cover charges. (Doc. 17-1). The sub-licensing fee for
an establishment the size of El Siete de Copas would have
been $2, 200. (Doc. 16-1 at 10). Plaintiff alleges that the
defendants' actions were in violation of 47 U.S.C. §
605. Plaintiff has presented evidence that the illegal
interception of the program is not and cannot be mistakenly,
innocently, or accidentally intercepted. (See Doc.
16-1 at 3-4, ¶ 9).
defendants were served but did not appear or file answers. On
September 9, 2016, the Court Clerk entered a default against
defendants. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff now moves for default
judgment and requests $110, 000 against defendants plus $1,
080.00 in attorneys' fees and $458.07 for costs incurred.
seeks maximum statutory damages against defendants under 47
U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II), which provides that an
aggrieved party “may recover an award of statutory
damages for each [unauthorized publication of an intercepted
broadcast] in a sum of not less than $1, 000 or more than
$10, 000, as the court considers just . . . . ”
Plaintiff also seeks maximum enhanced damages against the
defendants pursuant to the statute, which in part provides:
In any case in which the court finds that the violation was
committed willfully and for purposes of direct or indirect
commercial advantage or private financial gain, the court in
its discretion may increase the award of damages, whether
actual or statutory, by an amount of not more than $100, 000
for each violation.
47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii). In sum, plaintiff requests
$110, 000 in damages against the defendants.
undersigned has typically declined to award the maximum
damages in similar cases. See, e.g., J & J Sports
Productions, Inc. v. Cordoba, No. 16-CV-184-JED-FHM,
2016 WL 6238583 (N.D. Okla. October 25, 2016), J & J
Sports Productions, Inc. v. Martinez, No.
16-CV-573-JED-PJC, 2017 WL 374472 (N.D. Okla. January, 25,
2017), and J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v.
Miranda, No. 16-CV-188-JED-TLW, 2017 WL 1987246 (N.D.
Okla. May 12, 2017). All of those cases cited Joe Hand
Promotions, Inc. v. John M. McLemore, No.
10-CV-772-CVE-TLW (N.D. Okla. Sept. 26, 2011), in which
eighty-four people were counted at the establishment at the
time of the broadcast; no cover fee was charged; and the
event was broadcast on three television screens. Id.
at 3. United States District Judge Claire V. Eagan declined
to award the requested maximum statutory and enhanced damages
and instead awarded the plaintiff $2, 500 in statutory
damages and $2, 500 in enhanced damages. That amount, the
court reasoned, was sufficient both to “compensate the
plaintiff for any fee that should have [been] paid by the
defendants, ” and to “punish defendants for the
illegal conduct and deter future violations.”
three most recent cases, Miranda is the most similar
to the case at hand insofar as there were three televisions
but no reported cover charges. Having compared the
uncontested facts presented in this case to similar cases,
the Court finds and concludes that an award of $5, 000.00 in
statutory damages pursuant to § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) and
$5, 000.00 in enhanced damages pursuant to §
605(e)(3)(C)(ii) will adequately and justly compensate the
plaintiff for any fee that should have been paid by the
defendants and will sufficiently deter future similar
47 U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii), the Court “shall
direct the recovery of full costs, including awarding
reasonable attorneys' fees[, ] to an aggrieved party who
prevails.” The Court has considered plaintiff's
attorneys' fees and costs submissions (Doc. 16-4, 16-5)
and finds that an award of $1, 080.00 for attorneys' fees
and $485.07 for costs is reasonable and appropriate in light
of the work expended as indicated by the filings of record.