United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
R. Grand United States Magistrate Judge.
OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
DEFAULT JUDGMENT AND AWARDING DAMAGES
D. Borman United States District Judge.
action, Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. alleges
that Defendants B O B Lounge, LLC (“B O B
Lounge”) and Sharon O'Neal violated
federal law by illegally broadcasting a boxing match on May
3, 2014. Defendants have failed to defend or otherwise appear
in this action. Plaintiff now moves for default judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2) and
seeks statutory damages in addition to attorney's fees
and costs against the Defendants jointly and severally.
hearing on this matter was held on December 6, 2017. For the
reasons stated on the record and those set forth below, the
Court will grant Plaintiffs motion for default judgment and
award damages, fees, and costs in the amount of $7, 733.47.
filed its Complaint on April 27, 2017. (ECF No. 1, Compl.)
The lawsuit was brought against B O B Lounge (d/b/a
B.O.B.'z Lounge), a commercial establishment in Detroit,
Michigan, as well as Sharon O'Neal, whom Plaintiff
alleges on information and belief to be the owner, operator,
or in some other fashion the person in charge of or
possessing control over B O B Lounge. (Compl. ¶¶
2015 Opinion and Order issued in a very similar case filed by
the same Plaintiff, this Court described Plaintiff's
business model as follows:
Plaintiff, in an attempt to combat piracy of its programs,
hires investigative agencies who retain auditors who visit
various commercial locations that have no record of paying
the required fee. For a “commercial fee”, a
commercial establishment can receive an unscrambled signal
enabling the business to view the program either through
Plaintiff or an authorized distributor. The fee is determined
by the number a “Rate Card” that ties the fee to
the seating capacity of the business.
J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Matti, No.
14-12981, 2015 WL 900478, at *1 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 3, 2015)
case, Plaintiff alleges that it paid for and was
contractually granted the exclusive nationwide television
distribution rights to the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. Marcos
Rene Maidana WBC Welterweight Championship Fight (referred to
herein as the “Program”),
including all under-card bouts and fight commentary in the
television broadcast of the event. (Compl. ¶¶ 10,
12.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants illegally broadcast the
program on May 3, 2014 in violation of the Communications Act
of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 605, et seq.,
and the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition
Act of 1992, as amended, 47 U.S.C. § 553, et
seq. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-26; see also ECF
No. 10, Pl.'s Mot. Ex. 6, Affidavit of Andre Wallace.)
Plaintiff also alleges that the broadcast constituted
conversion under Michigan common law. (Compl. ¶¶
27-30.) Andre Wallace, an investigator hired by Plaintiff,
avers in a signed affidavit dated September 23, 2015 that
there were approximately 80 patrons in the establishment on
the date of the broadcast. (Wallace Aff. ¶ 3.)
Motion for Default Judgment, Plaintiff asserts that it served
both Defendants with the Summons and Complaint at the same
address on May 5, 2017. (Pl.'s Mot. at 2, Pg ID 23; Ex.
2, Return of Service; Ex. 3, Return of Service.) After
Defendants failed to answer the Complaint or otherwise plead
or defend in the action, Plaintiff filed a Request for a
Clerk's Entry of Default on June 6, 2017, and it was
granted the same day. (ECF Nos. 8, 9.)
hearing on Plaintiff's Motion for Default Judgment, as
well as an analogous motion for default judgment in a
separate action involving the same parties and similar facts,
see J & J Sports Productions v. B O B LOUNGE, LLC, et
al., No. 17-10775, was scheduled to be held on October
26, 2017. The hearing was postponed after Plaintiff's
counsel represented that the parties were likely to settle
the matter out of court, but Plaintiff's counsel informed
the Court several weeks later that attempts to finalize the
settlement had been unsuccessful. The Court held a
rescheduled hearing on the two motions for default judgment
on December 6, 2017. Defendants did not attend the hearing.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b), a judgment by
default may be entered against a defendant who has failed to
plead or otherwise defend against an action. In order to
obtain judgment by default, the proponent must first request
the clerk's entry of default pursuant to Rule 55(a).
See Hanner v. City of Dearborn Heights, No.
07-15251, 2008 WL 2744860, at *1 (E.D. Mich. July 14, 2008).
Once a default has been entered by the clerk's office,
all of a plaintiffs well-pleaded allegations, except those
relating to damages, are deemed admitted. Antoine v.
Atlas Turner, Inc., 66 F.3d 105, 110 (6th Cir. 1995);
see also Ford Motor Co. v. Cross, 441 F.Supp.2d 837,
846 (E.D. Mich. 2006) (citation omitted).
default is obtained, the party may then file for a default
judgment by the clerk or by the court. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b). If
the plaintiffs well-pleaded allegations are sufficient to
support a finding of liability as to the defendant on the
asserted claims, then the Court should enter a judgment in
favor of the plaintiff. See Cross, 441 F.Supp.2d at
848. Although Rule 55(b)(2) does not provide a standard to
determine when a party is entitled to a judgment by default,
the case law establishes that the court must exercise
“sound judicial discretion” when determining
whether to enter the judgment. Wright & Miller, 10A
Federal Practice & Procedure, § 2685 (3d ed. 1998)
(collecting cases). After a court determines that a default
judgment should be entered, it will determine the amount and
character of the recovery awarded. See Id. §
2688 (collecting cases).