United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
E. DOWDELL UNITED STATES 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
“The Fight of the Century”: Floyd Mayweather,
Jr. v. Manny Pacquiao WBC World Welterweight Championship
Fight Program (“the Program”) on May 2,
2015. (Doc. 2, 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. Three separate
investigators hired by plaintiff observed the Program being
shown at the defendants' establishment, Nara Cafe, even
though the defendants had not obtained a license for the
program from the plaintiff. (Doc. 16-1 at 3, 16-2). The first
investigator to arrive at the establishment, Nathan Alessi,
observed two televisions and took three head counts of 32,
33, and 40 patrons. (Doc. 16-2 at 7). The second
investigator, Aaron Latham, observed four television screens
displaying the Program and described the establishment as
having “standing room only” and “more
occupants than I could count.” (Doc. 16-2 at 1).
Investigator Nicolin Decker, who arrived at Nara Cafe at
10:21 p.m., observed two televisions and took three head
counts of 85, 90, and 92 patrons within the establishment.
(Doc. 16-2 at 4). All three investigators reported having
paid a cover charge of either $10 or $15. (Doc. 16-2). The
sub-licensing fee for an establishment the size of Nara Cafe
would have been $3, 000. (Doc. 16-1 at 3, 10).
alleges that the defendants' actions were in violation of
47 U.S.C. § 605, and 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).
were served by means of publication, as authorized by this
Court (Doc. 11), but they did not appear or file answers. On
August 3, 2017, the Court Clerk entered a default against
defendants. (Doc. 14). Plaintiff now moves for default
judgment and requests $110, 000 against defendants, plus $1,
740.00 in attorneys' fees and $761.95 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
Prods., Inc. v. Bautista, No. 13-CV-719-JED-FHM, 2015
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 19745 (N.D. Okla. Feb. 19, 2015); J
& J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Cordoba, No.
16-CV-184-JED-FHM, 2016 WL 6238583 (N.D. Okla. Oct. 25,
2016); J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Martinez,
No. 16-CV-573-JED-PJC, 2017 WL 374472 (N.D. Okla. Jan. 25,
2017); and J & J Sports Prods., 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. See Miranda, 2017 WL 1987246 at *2. 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 McLemore
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.”
these most recent cases decided by the undersigned,
Bautista is the most similar to the case at hand
insofar as there were multiple television screens and more
than 75 patrons present. Perez, 2015 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 19745 at *8. Notably, no cover fees were charged in
Bautista, whereas defendants in this case charged
$10 or $15 for entry. Having compared the uncontested facts
presented in this case to Bautista and other similar
cases, the Court finds and concludes that an award of $7,
500.00 in statutory damages pursuant to §
605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) and $10, 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 violations.
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 plaintiffs
attorneys' fees and costs submissions (Doc. 16-3, 16-4)
and finds that an award of $1, 740.00 for attorneys' fees
and $761.95 ...