Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Pistol Pete's Bar & Grill LLC

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

June 13, 2018

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
PISTOL PETE'S BAR & GRILL LLC AND PETER W. ODDO, SR., Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT

          JEFFREY ALKER MEYER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc., is a corporation that distributes and licenses sporting events to commercial locations. Plaintiff held the exclusive distribution rights to the broadcast of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, a boxing match that took place on May 2, 2015. Plaintiff has sued defendants-a bar/restaurant and its owner-under 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605 for unlawfully intercepting plaintiff's broadcast of the boxing match and exhibiting it to customers of the bar/restaurant without plaintiff's authorization.

         Defendants have entirely failed to plead or otherwise defend against plaintiff's complaint, and their defaults were entered on May 30, 2018. Doc. #12. Plaintiff has now moved for default judgment and seeks statutory damages in the amount of $10, 000, enhanced statutory damages in the amount of $40, 000, and an award of attorney's fees and costs. In support of its motion, plaintiff has submitted affidavits, a licensing agreement, advertisements, a report documenting defendants' broadcast of the event, and a billing record of attorney's fees and costs. After review of all materials submitted by plaintiff, I conclude that default judgment shall enter in the amount of $9, 350 with an additional $5, 687.50 of attorney's fees and $615 of costs.

         Background

         Plaintiff is a California corporation specializing in licensing and promoting closed-circuit sporting event broadcasts (pay-per-view programming) to restaurants, bars, casinos, and other such establishments. Plaintiff held the exclusive distribution rights to the boxing match Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao and all undercard bouts airing May 2, 2015.

         Defendant Peter Oddo, Sr. is the sole member and manager of defendant Pistol Pete's Bar & Grill (Pistol Pete's). Defendants did not contract with or pay plaintiff to license the boxing match on May 2, 2015. Nevertheless, defendants accessed the event, charged a $10 cover fee for patrons to view it, and aired the match in their restaurant before between 32 and 38 customers. The event was also advertised on the restaurant's Facebook page.

         Plaintiff became aware of defendants' actions through one of the independent auditors it employs to investigate establishments that intercept and exhibit plaintiff's programming without authorization. According to plaintiff, it is not possible to accidentally or mistakenly intercept plaintiff's programming. “Signal pirates” intentionally access the programming without contracting with plaintiff, using methods like acquiring an illegal decryption or descrambling device, splicing a cable signal from a neighbor, or misrepresenting the commercial establishment as a residence in order to pay the residential pay-per-view rate.

         Plaintiff filed this action on February 8, 2018, alleging violations of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605, and the Cable and Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, 47 U.S.C. § 553. Plaintiff successfully served defendants on March 12, 2018. Defendants, however, never answered or otherwise appeared in the action, and on May 30, 2018, the Court entered default against defendants. Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for default judgment on June 8, 2018. Plaintiff moves for statutory damages in the amount of $10, 000, an additional $40, 000 in enhanced statutory damages, and an award of attorney's fees and costs.

         Discussion

         “It is an ancient common law axiom that a defendant who defaults thereby admits all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the complaint.” City of New York v. Mickalis Pawn Shop, LLC, 645 F.3d 114, 137 (2d Cir. 2011) (internal quotations and citations omitted). Nevertheless, a district court is “required to determine whether the [plaintiff's] allegations establish [the defendants'] liability as a matter of law.” Ibid. Following such a determination, the district court must also determine the amount of damages to be awarded; to do so, it may conduct a hearing or it may make such a finding on the basis of documentary evidence if damages are ascertainable with reasonable certainty. See Credit Lyonnais Sec. (USA), Inc. v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151, 155 (2d Cir. 1999).

         Liability

         Plaintiff's complaint alleges that defendants violated 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605. Both of these provisions prohibit the unauthorized reception of cable programming. See Int'l Cablevision, Inc. v. Sykes, 75 F.3d 123, 129-30 (2d Cir. 1996); Kingsvision Pay-Per-View Corp., Ltd. v. Keane, 2006 WL 1704474, at *2-*3 (E.D.N.Y. 2006). Section 553 applies only to cable transmissions, while § 605 applies to both cable and satellite transmissions. Ibid. Because plaintiff has elected to pursue damages under § 605 only, I will assess defendants' liability under that section.

         Plaintiff's undisputed, unopposed allegations establish defendants' liability for violating 47 U.S.C. § 605. Plaintiff had exclusive distribution rights to the boxing match at issue. Pistol Pete's was not authorized to show the match but did so through one of a number of illicit means on the night of May 2, 2015, airing the event before about 35 restaurant patrons who paid a $10 cover fee. Plaintiff has adequately demonstrated that Pistol Pete's violated 47 U.S.C. § 605.

         Plaintiff's allegations are also sufficient to establish the individual liability of defendant Peter Oddo, Sr. “Establishing individual liability under Section 605(a) requires a showing either of contributory infringement, which arises when the individual authorize[d] the violations, or vicarious liability, which arises when the individual had a right and ability to supervise the infringing activities and had an obvious and direct financial interest in the exploitation of [the] copyrighted materials.” See J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Tellez, 2011 WL 6371521, at *3 (E.D.N.Y. 2011). Plaintiff has alleged here that Oddo “was an officer, director, shareholder, member and/or principal of the entity owning and operating the Establishment; [] had a right and ability to supervise the activities of the Establishment; and [] had an obvious and direct financial interest in the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.