G & G Closed Circuit Events LLC v. Soofi et al

Filing 21

ORDER denying 20 Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. Signed by Senior Judge Paul G Rosenblatt on 2/26/13.(LMR)

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1 WO 2 3 4 5 6 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 7 FOR THE DISTRICT OF ARIZONA 8 9 G & G Closed Circuit Events, LLC, Plaintiff, 10 11 v. 12 Nadir Soofi, et al., 13 Defendants. ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) CV 12-1282-PHX-PGR ORDER 14 15 Before the Court is Plaintiff’s Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment. (Doc. 20.) For the 16 reasons set forth herein, the motion is denied. 17 On June 14, 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that Defendants exhibited a 18 closed circuit boxing match without obtaining a commercial license from Plaintiff, in violation 19 of the Federal Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. § 605. Defendants failed to appear or respond. 20 On January 16, 2013, the Court granted Plaintiff’s application for default judgment and 21 entered judgment against Defendants in the amount of $2,001. (Docs. 18, 19.) That figure 22 represented the minimum in statutory and enhanced damages under 47 U.S.C. §§ 23 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) and 605(e)(3)(C)(ii), plus nominal damages for Plaintiff’s conversion 24 claim. (Doc. 18.) Plaintiff now asks the Court to alter or amend its judgment with respect to 25 statutory and enhanced damages. 26 27 DISCUSSION A court may alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 28 59(e). Rule 59(e) is “an extraordinary remedy, to be used sparingly” at the discretion of the 1 court. Carroll v. Nakatani, 342 F.3d 934, 945 (9th Cir. 2003); see McQuillion v. Duncan, 342 2 F.3d 1012, 1014 (9th Cir. 2003). The motion “should not be granted, absent highly unusual 3 circumstances, unless the district court is presented with newly discovered evidence, 4 committed clear error, or if there is an intervening change in the controlling law.” McDowell 5 v. Calderon, 197 F.3d 1253, 1255 (9th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted). To succeed on a motion 6 to alter or amend, “a party must set forth facts or law of a strongly convincing nature to induce 7 the court to reverse its prior decision.” United States v. Westlands Water Dist., 134 F.Supp.2d 8 1111, 1131 (E.D.Cal. 2001). A Rule 59(e) motion is not a forum to ask the court to “rethink 9 what it has already thought through.” United States v. Rezzonico, 32 F.Supp.2d 1112, 1116 10 (D.Ariz. 1998) (quotation omitted). 11 Plaintiff’s motion to alter or amend judgment alleges that the Court committed clear 12 error. Specifically, Defendant argues that damages the Court awarded are inconsistent with 13 the amounts other district courts have awarded and insufficient to deter future violations. 14 Section 605(e)(C)(i)(II) provides for statutory damages “of not less than $1,000 or 15 more than $10,000, as the court considers just,” while § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii) permits an additional 16 discretionary award of enhanced damages of up to $100,000. The Court awarded minimum 17 damages based on the facts of this case, which indicated that the program in question was 18 shown on one television while three patrons were present in Defendants’ restaurant. The 19 restaurant had a seating capacity of approximately 15. It did not impose a cover charge or a 20 premium for food and drinks. Plaintiff submitted evidence that Defendants have committed 21 a subsequent violation (see Doc. 15, Ex. 4), but there is no evidence of prior infringements. 22 In support of his assertion that the Court committed clear error, Plaintiff relies on 23 decisions by other district courts awarding greater statutory and enhanced damages. The Court 24 is not bound by the decisions of fellow district courts, and therefore it did not commit clear 25 error by awarding minimum damages in this case. See, e.g., G & G Closed Circuit Events, 26 LLC v. Duc Minh Dinh, No. 10-CV-5717-LHK, 2012 WL 4006471, at *2–3 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 27 12, 2012); Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Croce, No. 5:10-CV-04177-JW, 2011 WL 2581419, 28 at *3 (N.D.Cal. June 29, 2011). -2- 1 Moreover, the cases cited by Plaintiff involve facts more supportive of a greater 2 damages award. The establishments in those cases were larger, see, e.g., Joe Hand 3 Promotions, Inc. v. Pinkhasov, No. CV-2437-PHX-FJM, 2012 WL 3641451, at *1 (D.Ariz. 4 Aug. 24, 2012); showed the intercepted program to more patrons, Joe Hand Promotions v. 5 Streshly, 655 F.Supp.2d 1136 (S.D.Cal. 2009), or on multiple television screens, Joe Hand 6 Promotions, Inc. v. Coen, CV-11-2531-PHX-JAT, 2012 WL 2919710, at *2 (D.Ariz. July 12, 7 2012); advertised the program, Kingvision Pay Per View, Ltd. v. Guzman, No. CV-963-PHX8 PGR, 2008 WL 1924988, at *2 (D.Ariz. April 20, 2008); or charged a cover fee, Pinkhasov, 9 2012 WL 3641451 at *1. 10 The Court also concludes that it did not clearly err in finding, under the circumstances 11 of this case, that enhanced damages in the amount of $1000, together with $1000 in statutory 12 damages, are sufficient for the purpose of deterrence. 13 Accordingly, 14 IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff’s Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment (Doc. 20) is 15 denied. 16 DATED this 26th day of February, 2013. 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 -3-

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