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LLC v. DIRECTV, LLC

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

April 9, 2014

6803 BOULEVARD EAST, LLC, 728 KEARNY AVENUE, LLC, and 131-133 68th LLC, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
DIRECTV, LLC, DIRECTECH HOLDING CO., INC., and DIRECTSAT USA, LLC, Defendants

For 6803 BOULEVARD EAST, LLC, 728 KEARNY AVENUE, LLC, 131-133 68TH LLC, Individually and On Behalf of all Others Similarly Situated, Plaintiffs: JASON TRAVIS BROWN, LEAD ATTORNEY, JTB LAW GROUP, LLC, JERSEY CITY, NJ; SHELLY A. LEONARD, LEAD ATTORNEY, Blau Leonard Law Group, LLC, NEW YORK, NY.

For DIRECTV, INC., Defendant, DIRECTV, INC.: MARC E. WOLIN, LEAD ATTORNEY, SAIBER LLC, Florham Park, NJ; JAKOB BENJAMIN HALPERN, SAIBER LLC, NEWARK, NJ.

For DIRECTECH HOLDING CO., INC., Defendant: MICHAEL C. SALVO, LEAD ATTORNEY, AHMUTY, DEMERS & MCMANUS, ESQS., MORRISTOWN, NJ.

For DIRECTSAT,USA, LLC, Defendant, ThirdParty Plaintiff: COLIN D. DOUGHERTY, LEAD ATTORNEY, FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP, BLUE BELL, PA; MATTHEW STEPHEN ADAMS, LEAD ATTORNEY, FOX ROTHSCHILD LLP, ROSELAND, NJ.

Page 428

William H. Walls, Senior United States District Judge.

Defendant DirecTECH Holding Co., Inc. (" DirecTech" ) moves for summary judgment on Plaintiffs' claims that DirecTech installed satellite equipment in common areas of their multiple dwelling unit rental properties (MDUs) in New Jersey without their consent. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78, the motion is decided without oral argument. DirecTech's motion for summary judgment is granted.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs are landlords who own and lease residential MDUs in New Jersey. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 1 (ECF No. 37). They brought a putative class action complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division: Hudson County against DIRECTV, which was removed to this

Page 429

Court. ECF No. 1. They allege that Defendants installed satellite equipment in common areas of their MDUs without their consent. Second Am. Compl. ¶ 1.

On July 31, 2012, the Court issued an opinion and order denying defendant DIRECTV, LLC's motion to dismiss or strike the class action claims. ECF Nos. 22, 23. The Court also granted Plaintiffs' motion to amend the complaint. Id. The complaint was subsequently amended for a second time on November 21, 2012, ECF No. 37, and discovery has been ongoing.

DirecTech filed the present motion on January 10, 2014, arguing that the undisputed facts show that DirecTech never installed any equipment on any of the named Plaintiffs' properties, meaning that the named Plaintiffs lack standing to maintain claims individually or as class representatives against DirecTech. DirecTech's Mem. of Law in Support of its Mot. for Summ. J. (" DirecTech's Mot. for Summ. J." ) at 1 (ECF No. 101-1). Plaintiffs agree that the " undisputed facts establish that DirecTECH never installed any satellite dishes on plaintiffs' MDUs." Pls.' Mem. of Law in Opp'n to DirecTech's Mot. for Summ. J. (" Pls.' Opp'n" ) at 1 (ECF No. 104).

Notwithstanding, Plaintiffs argue that the " juridical link doctrine . . . recognizes [a] scenario[] where a putative class action plaintiff may be able to prosecute a class action against a defendant that did not injure the plaintiff: . . . 'instances in which all defendants are juridically related in a manner that suggests a single resolution of the dispute would be expeditious.'" Id. at 6 (quoting La Mar v. H & B Novelty & Loan Co., 489 F.2d 461, 465-66 (9th Cir. 1973)). DirecTech responds that " plaintiffs' arguments are misguided, focus on class certification issues, and ignore the requirement that a plaintiff who seeks to assert claims on behalf of a class against a defendant must have suffered an ...


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