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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. SJV Investments and Steven Villneff

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

January 19, 2017

J & J Sports Productions, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
SJV Investments and Steven Villneff Defendants.

          Stephanie Dawkins Davis United States Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT [13]

          Hon. Gershwin A. Drain United States District Court Judge

         I. Introduction

         This action arises from J & J Sports Productions, Inc.'s (“Plaintiff”) allegation that Defendants SJV Investments, LLC and Steven Villneff violated federal law by illegally broadcasting a boxing match at Super Sports Bar in Ecorse, Michigan. Defendants failed to defend or otherwise appear in this action. Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2). See Dkt. No. 13. The Court scheduled a hearing on January 17, 2017, at 2:00PM. The Defendants failed to oppose the motion or appear for the hearing. For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff's Motion.

         II. Facts

         This case was filed on June 20, 2016 against SJV Investments, LLC and Steven Villneff. Dkt. No. 1. SJV Investments was served on July 6, 2016. Defendant Villneff proved to be more difficult to serve. On August 3, 2016, this Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Alternate Service. Dkt. No. 7. The Court ordered the Plaintiff to serve Defendant Villneff by: (1) publishing in the Detroit Legal News for three consecutive weeks; (2) sending process via registered mail to Defendant Villneff's last known address; and (3) posting the Summons and Complaint. Id. Plaintiff executed service on Defendant Villneff, consistently with the Court's Order, on August 25, 2016. Dkt. No. 8.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12, Defendants had twenty-one days to file an answer or responsive pleading. Both Defendants failed to meet this deadline. On November 28, 2016, the Clerk of Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered default as to both Defendants. Dkt. Nos. 11, 12. That same day, Plaintiff moved for Default Judgment. Dkt. No. 13. Pursuant to LR 7.1(e)(1)(B), Defendants had twenty-one days to file a response. Defendants failed to meet this deadline.

         This case arose after a September 14, 2013 Middleweight Championship boxing match between Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Dkt. No. 1, p. 3 (Pg. ID 3). Plaintiff, J & J Sports Productions, Inc., paid for the exclusive, closed-circuit, television distribution rights to the match between Mayweather and Alvarez. Pursuant to contract, Plaintiff entered into pay-per-view sublicensing agreements throughout the nation, Michigan included. Id., p. 4 (Pg. ID 4).

         According to the Plaintiff, Defendants unlawfully intercepted and displayed the boxing match at Super Sports Bar, located at 337 Southfield Road in Ecorse[1], Michigan. Id., pp. 4-5 (Pg. ID 4-5). In the pending Motion for Default Judgment, Plaintiff claims $4, 200 in damages for the cost of the program if the defendants had legally purchased it and $3, 049.15 in attorney fees and costs. Dkt. No. 13, p. 3 (Pg. ID 50).

         III. Legal Standard for Default Judgment

         “[E]ntry of a default against a defendant establishes the defendant's liability.” Thomas v. Miller, 489 F.3d 293, 299 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing Goldman, Antonetti, Ferraiuoli, Axtmayer & Hertell v. Medfit Int'l, Inc., 982 F.2d 686, 693 (1st Cir. 1993)). “There is no question that, default having been entered, each of [plaintiff's] allegations of fact must be taken as true and each of its [ ] claims must be considered established as a matter of law.” Id. “The power to enter default judgment … conclusively establishes every factual predicate of a claim for relief.” Id.

         However, “[a] default judgment on well-pleaded allegations establishes only defendant's liability; plaintiff must still establish the extent of damages.” Antoine v. Atlas Turner, Inc., 66 F.3d 105, 110 (6th Cir. 1995) (quoting Kelley v. Carr, 567 F.Supp. 831, 841 (W.D. Mich. 1983)). “Ordinarily, the District Court must hold “an evidentiary proceeding in which the defendant has the opportunity to contest the amount [of damages].” Id. (citing Greyhound Exhibitgroup, Inc. v. E.L.U.L. Realty Corp., 973 F.2d 155, 158 (2d Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1080 (1993)). “Therefore, even if [the defaulting party] is bound on the issue of liability, it still has the opportunity to respond to the issue of damages.” Id.

         IV. Establishment of Liability

         This action was brought under the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 605) and The Cable & Television Consumer Protection and ...


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