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 (Doc. 14, 15). 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 Saul Alvarez v. Liam Smith WBO Work Super
Welterweight Championship Fight Program (the Program) on
September 17, 2016. 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. Aaron D. Latham,
an investigator hired by the plaintiff, observed the Program
displayed at the defendants' establishment known as
Buchanita's Bar, even though the defendants had not
obtained a license for the program from the plaintiff. Latham
was not charged a cover to enter the bar. He saw the Program
on two televisions, one a 45” television, and the other
a 20” television. The bar has a capacity for 63
patrons. While there, Latham did three head counts, which
reflected counts of 18, 20, and 23 patrons. (Doc. 15-2).
sub-licensing fee for an establishment the size of
Buchanita's Bar would have been $1800.00. (Doc. 15-1 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. 15-1 at 3-4, ¶ 9).
defendants were served but did not appear or file answers. On
March 28, 2018, the Court Clerk entered a default against
defendants. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff now moves for default
judgment and requests $110, 000 against defendants plus $1,
680.00 in attorneys' fees and $714.48 for costs incurred.
(Doc. 14 at 3, ¶¶ 4, 5).
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.”
compared the uncontested facts presented in this case to
similar cases, the Court finds and concludes that an award of
$4, 100.00 in statutory damages pursuant to §
605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) and $8, 200.00 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 plaintiff's
attorneys' fees and costs submissions (Doc. 16-4, 16-5)
and finds that an award of $1, 680.00 for attorneys' fees
and $714.48 for costs is ...