J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Collective Minds, LLC et al
OPINION AND ORDER granting 13 Motion for Default Judgment. Signed by Honorable Cameron McGowan Currie on 12/4/2017.(cbru, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
J & J Sports Productions, Inc.,
COLLECTIVE MINDS, LLC, d/b/a Mynt )
Lounge and Bistro, DRC of SC, INC.,
d/b/a Mynt Lounge & Bistro, and
BENJAMIN WARREN ROGERS,
C/A No.: 3:17-cv-02346-CMC
OPINION AND ORDER
ON MOTION FOR
At the times relevant to this action, Plaintiff, J & J Sports Productions, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) had
exclusive, nationwide commercial television distribution rights to “Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. Andre
Berto WBA/WBC Welterweight Championship Fight Program, (“the Program”). The Program, which
included commentary, occurred and was broadcast on September 12, 2015.
Plaintiff brought this action against Defendants Collective Minds, LLC, d/b/a Mynt Lounge
and Bistro, DRC of SC, Inc., d/b/a Mynt Lounge & Bistro, and Benjamin Warren Rogers
(collectively “Defendants”) for exhibiting the commercial broadcast of the Program without paying
the required licensing fee. Plaintiff’s Complaint includes causes of action under 47 U.S.C. § 605
(“Communications Act”) and 47 U.S.C. § 553 (“Cable & Television Consumer Protection and
Competition Act”), as well as a state-law claim for conversion. Defendants were properly served
with the Complaint but failed to file any responsive pleading.
Plaintiff initially named an additional Defendant, Dennis Taylor (“Taylor”). Taylor was
voluntarily dismissed on October 23, 2017 (ECF No. 8). In light of that dismissal, Taylor is not
referenced in the remainder of this order and his name has been removed from the caption.
Pursuant to Plaintiff’s request, the Clerk of Court entered default against Defendants on
October 24, 2017. ECF Nos. 11, 12. Plaintiff then moved for a default judgment and an award of
attorneys’ fees and costs under the Communications Act (§ 605) claim, conditionally waiving other
claims. ECF No. 13 ¶¶ 5, 6. This motion was served on Defendants. ECF No. 13-8. No response
has, however, been filed despite passage of the deadline for doing so. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion is granted.
LIABILITY AND ELECTION OF REMEDIES
Liability has been established by Defendants’ default. See ECF Nos. 11, 12. Plaintiff has
elected to seek damages under its Communications Act claim, conditional on an award of damages
under that claim.
As liability has been established by Defendants’ default, and Plaintiff has conditionally
waived its other claims, the only issues remaining for resolution are the amounts of damages,
attorneys’ fees and costs to be awarded for Defendants’ violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605.
Based on Plaintiff’s written submissions, to which no opposition has been filed, the court
makes the following findings of fact and reaches the following conclusions of law with respect to
Defendants are in default and have, by virtue of their default, admitted all factual allegations
in the Complaint.
Those allegations include (a) Defendants, without authorization, intercepted a broadcast of
a fight program to which Plaintiff held the rights, (b) displayed that fight to patrons in a
commercial establishment, and (c) did so knowingly and willfully and for commercial gain.
Complaint ¶¶ 17, 18.
In addition, Plaintiff alleges and Defendants, by defaulting, admit they bore both vicarious
and direct responsibility for the display of the program and are liable for the same. See
Complaint ¶¶ 10-12, 19-22.
The rate Defendants would have paid to lawfully display the Program to their patrons was a
minimum of $5,000 (the rate charged for businesses with a seating capacity of 201-250). See
ECF No. 13-3 at 9 (rate sheet); ECF No. 13-4 at 2 (affidavit of investigator);.
Defendants advertised the Program on the business’s Facebook page and also charged a cover
charge for admission on the night the Program was displayed. ECF No. 13-3 ¶¶ 16, 17
(affidavit of Plaintiff’s representative); ECF No. 13-3 at 10-19 (Facebook page print outs);
ECF No. 13-4 at 2 (affidavit of investigator).
In order to have a deterrent effect, the court finds that the amount of the statutory damage
award under subsection 47 U.S.C § 605(e)(3)(C)(i)(II) should be double the amount that
would have been paid. Thus, the court awards $10,000 as statutory damages, which is the
In addition, the court awards enhanced damages of $25,000 under 47 U.S.C § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii)
due to the willful and knowing nature of the piracy. In imposing this amount, which is five
times the rate that should have been paid, the court considers the aggravating factors
discussed above (¶ 5).
The court awards attorneys’ fees in the amount of $1,555.75 and costs in the amount of
Both the award of attorneys’ fees and costs are pursuant to 47 U.S.C §
Plaintiff’s fee request is supported by the affidavit of counsel who performed the work as
well as an affidavit from an attorney in another firm supporting the reasonableness of the hours and
WHEREFORE, the court directs entry of judgment against Defendants in the total amount
of $37,345.75, representing all damages, costs and attorneys’ fees.
s/ Cameron McGowan Currie
CAMERON MCGOWAN CURRIE
Senior United States District Judge
Columbia, South Carolina
December 4, 2017
rates sought. ECF Nos. 13-6, 13-7. At least in the absence of any opposition, and none is offered,
the court finds these affidavits adequate to support the fee petition. See, e.g., Rum Creek Coal Sales,
Inc., v. Caperton, 31 F.3d 169, 175 (4th Cir. 1994) (advising courts to base awards on the “prevailing
market rates in the relevant community”). The rates sought are also consistent with the court’s
knowledge of rates normally charged for similar work in this district. Costs sought are supported
by Plaintiff’s counsel’s affidavit and various supporting invoices. ECF No. 13-6.
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