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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Camacho

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

May 31, 2017

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC. Plaintiff,
v.
JOSE E. CAMACHO, individually and d/b/a El Rincon Cuban Restaurant,, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge

         J & J Sports Productions, Inc. filed this action against Jose E. Camacho and El Rincon Market & Café LLC, bringing claims under 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605, along with a common-law claim for conversion, for broadcasting a pay-per-view program without authorization. In prior orders, the Court entered default against Camacho and El Rincon Market & Café LLC, and neither has acted since that time. Now, J & J Sports Productions has filed a motion for entry of a default judgment against them. Having carefully reviewed the record before it, the Court finds entry of a default judgment to be warranted. Accordingly, J & J Sport Productions, Inc.'s Motion for Entry of Default Judgment, [R. 21], is GRANTED.

         I.

         A.

         J & J Sports Productions, Inc. is a closed-circuit distributor of sports and entertainment programming. [R. 21-4 at 2, ¶ 3 (Gagliardi's Affidavit).] It purchases the commercial exhibition rights to programming including, as pertinent to this action, those related to “Toe to Toe”: Saul Alvarez v. Alfredo Angulo Light Middleweight Championship Fight Program, which was broadcast on March 8, 2014. [Id.] J & J Sports Productions, in turn, sublicenses those exhibition rights to commercial establishments for a fee based on the capacity of the location in question. [Id.]

         Unsurprisingly, there are many who wish to exhibit popular sports programming but remain unwilling to pay for the privilege. [Id., ¶ 4.] To make sure those businesses pay their fair share, J & J Sports Productions dispatches investigators to local bars and restaurants on the nights of major showings, including the broadcast of “Toe to Toe”: Saul Alvarez v. Alfredo Angulo Light Middleweight Championship Fight Program, to catch “signal pirates” in the act. [Id. at 2-3, ¶¶ 5-6.]

         Jose E. Camacho is a managing member of El Rincon Market & Café LLC, which owns and operates the El Rincon Cuban Restaurant, an establishment located in Louisville, Kentucky. [R. 1 at 2, ¶¶ 7 (Complaint).] An investigator for J & J Sports Productions, David Lee Bringer, visited the El Rincon Cuban Restaurant on the night of March 8. [R. 21-3 at 1, ¶ 3 (Bringer's Affidavit).] Inside the establishment, Bringer observed three televisions exhibiting “Toe to Toe”: Saul Alvarez v. Alfredo Angulo Light Middleweight Championship Fight Program. [Id. at 3, ¶¶ 12-13.] El Rincon Market & Café LLC, however, had not entered into a sublicensing agreement with J & J Sports Productions to exhibit that program. [R. 21-4 at 3, ¶ 7.] Had Camacho and El Rincon Market & Café LLC paid for the right to exhibit that program, the cost would have been $1, 200.00. [Id. at 11 (Rates).]

         B.

         J & J Sports Productions sued Camacho and El Rincon Market & Café LLC, bringing claims under 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605, along with a common-law claim for conversion, for broadcasting the program without appropriate authorization. [R. 1 at 4-7, ¶¶ 15-33.] El Rincon Market & Café LLC were served with copies of the complaint and summons on September 7, 2016. [R. 7 at 1-2 (Proof of Service); R. 11-1 at 1 (Affidavit for Entry of Default).] Camacho was served with copies of the same on October 4, 2016. [R. 14 at 3 (Proof of Service); R. 15-1 at 1 (Affidavit for Entry of Default).] However, neither appeared or filed an answer (or any other pleadings) to defend against this action. The Court entered default against El Rincon Market & Café LLC on October 13, 2016. [R. 12 (Entry of Default).] It entered default against Camacho on April 4, 2017. [R. 16 (Entry of Default).] No action has been taken by either Camacho or El Rincon Market & Café LLC since default was entered. Now, J & J Sports Productions moves for entry of a default judgment against them. [R. 21 (Motion for Entry of Default Judgment).]

         II.

         Upon default, the Court takes as true all factual allegations in the complaint except those relating to the amount of damages. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(6); see also Thomas v. Miller, 489 F.3d 293, 299 (6th Cir. 2007); Antoine v. Atlas Turner, Inc., 66 F.3d 105, 110 (6th Cir. 1995). Even after the entry of default, however, the decision “to grant a default judgment is within the Court's discretion.” AF Holdings LLC v. Bossard, 976 F.Supp.2d 927, 929 (W.D. Mich. 2013) (citing Flaks v. Koegel, 504 F.2d 702, 707 (2d Cir. 1974)). In determining whether to enter a default judgment, courts in this Circuit typically consider factors such as:

[1] the amount of money potentially involved; [2] whether material issues of fact or issues of substantial public importance are at issue; [3] whether the default is largely technical; [4] whether plaintiff has been substantially prejudiced by the delay involved; [5] and whether the grounds for default are clearly established or are in doubt.

10A Charles A. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure ยง 2685 (4th ed.), Westlaw (database updated Apr. ...


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