J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Neighborhood Bar & Grill, LLC et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiffs motion for default judgment 23 is granted in part only to the extent set out in this Memorandum and Order and is denied in all other respects. A separate Judgment in accordance with this Memorandum and Order is entered this same date. Signed by District Judge Rodney W. Sippel on 6/29/16. (CAR)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
J&J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.,
NEIGHBORHOOD BAR & GRILL, LLC, )
Case No. 4:15 CV 1369 RWS
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This case is before me on plaintiff’s motion for default judgment in the
amount of $175,260.00. Plaintiff owned the nationwide television distribution
rights to broadcast a boxing match which took place on May 4, 2013. Plaintiff
sells the right to publically exhibit this broadcast to various public establishments,
such as restaurants and bars. In this lawsuit, plaintiff alleges that defendants
illegally intercepted the broadcast and showed it to their patrons at Neighborhood
Sports Bar & Grill. Plaintiff has sued defendants under two alternative federal
Plaintiff’s first count alleges a violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605, which prohibits
the unauthorized publication or use of communications. In the context of the
present lawsuit, this statue prohibits the unauthorized interception of video
programming from a satellite that is primarily intended for direct receipt only by
authorized users. It provides for statutory damages of not less than $1,000 but not
more than $10,000. Id. at § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II). Where the violation was
committed willfully and for the purpose of commercial gain the statutory damages
may be increased in an amount of not more than $100,000. Id. at §
605(e)(3)(C)(ii). Attorney’s fees and costs may also be recovered under this
statute. Id. at § 605(e)(3)(B)(iii).
Plaintiff’s second count alleges a violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553, which
prohibits the unauthorized reception of cable services. It provides for statutory
damages of not less than $250 but not more than $10,000. Id. at § 553(c)(3)(A)(ii).
Where the violation was committed willfully and for the purpose of commercial
gain the statutory damages may be increased in an amount of not more than
$50,000. Id. at § 553(c)(3)(B). Attorney’s fees and costs may also be recovered
under this statute. Id. at § 553(c)(2)(C).
The defendants in this matter have been served. On January 6, 2016, the
Clerk of the Court entered a default against the defendants because they failed to
file an answer or other responsive pleading. Plaintiff prays for the maximum
amount of statutory damages under both statutes, for a total of $170,000, plus
attorney’s fees and costs. Plaintiff also seeks $2,200 in damages for the tort of
conversion as alleged in Count III of the complaint. Plaintiff can recover under
§605 if defendants intercepted the broadcast from a satellite or under §553 if
defendants intercepted the broadcast from a cable service. Plaintiff cannot,
however, recover damages under both statutes.
Neither the complaint nor any other filings in this case indicate which
method defendants used to intercept the broadcast. I will therefore grant plaintiff a
default judgment under §605. Damages awarded under §605 have varied
tremendously in this district. See Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Thompson, No.
4:11CV1740 CAS, 2013 WL 466278, at *3 (E.D. Mo. Feb. 7, 2013) (collecting
cases of awards between $3,000 and $150,000). In fashioning a statutory award in
the Thompson case, the Honorable Charles A. Shaw considered, among other
things, the amount of the financial gain by the defendant, whether the defendant is
alleged to be a repeat violator, and the need to deter future violations. Id. Based
on the affidavits provided by plaintiff, I will exercise my discretion to award
statutory damages in the amount of $10,000.00 under §605 (e)(3)(C)(i)(II),
$5,000.00 in enhanced statutory damages under §605 (e)(3)(B)(ii), and costs in the
amount of $560.00 under §605 (e)(3)(B)(iii). In support of its request for
attorney’s fees in the amount of $2,500.00, plaintiff submits the affidavit of
attorney Vincent Vogler. Mr. Vogler avers that plaintiff incurred approximately
11.95 hours of legal service at a cost of $250.00 per hour in connection with this
case, but he only seeks recovery for 10 of those hours. I find plaintiff’s request for
10 hours of attorney’s fees to be reasonable and will award the requested amount.
Finally, as plaintiff provided no evidence supporting its request for an award of
$2,200 for the tort of conversion as alleged in Count III of the complaint, no
additional damages will be awarded on Count III. Thus I will award plaintiff
default judgment in a total amount of $18,060.00. Plaintiff has not, however,
shown that it is entitled to post-judgment interest at the requested rate of nine
percent per annum. In federal court post-judgment interest accrues at the rate set
by federal law.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that plaintiff’s motion for default judgment
 is granted in part only to the extent set out above and is denied in all other
A separate Judgment in accordance with this Memorandum and Order is
entered this same date.
RODNEY W. SIPPEL
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dated this 29th day of June, 2016.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?