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J & J Sports Production, Inc. v. Tribiri-Tabara, LLC,

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 2, 2019

J & J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC.,, Plaintiff,
v.
TRIBIRI-TABARA, LLC, et al.,, Defendants.

          OPINION

          WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. brings these actions against two New Jersey bars and their officers for violations of the Communications Act of 1934. Now before the Court are Plaintiff's motions for default judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motions are GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) is a distributor of sports and entertainment programming. Plaintiff purchased the commercial exhibition rights to broadcast a boxing match between Saul Alvarez and Liam Smith on September 17, 2016 (“Fight”). Pursuant to its distribution contract, Plaintiff sub-licensed agreements with various commercial establishments to permit public exhibition of the program. To prevent unauthorized viewing, transmission of the Fight was encrypted and only made available to paying customers.

         In its suit against Tibiri-Tabara, LLC d/b/a/ Kucaramakara Lounge & Bar (“Kucaramakara”) and Carlos Rangel (with Kucaramakara, “Tibiri Defendants”), Plaintiff alleges that the Tibiri Defendants unlawfully intercepted and exhibited the Fight at Kucaramakara. Tibiri Compl. ¶¶ 7, 23, ECF No. 1. According to Plaintiff's investigator, between thirty-four and thirty-five patrons were present at Kucarmakara while the Fight played on one of three televisions. Tibiri Gagliardi Aff. Ex. B at 1, ECF No. 8-1. Given Kucaramakara's estimated capacity of fifty, it should have paid Plaintiff $1, 800 to broadcast the Fight. Id. ¶ 8.

         In its suit against Pimms Bar and Restaurant, LLC d/b/a/ Pimms Bar & Restaurant (“Pimms”), Judith C. Ramos a/k/a/ Judite C. Ramos (“Judith”), and Joao J. Ramos (“Joao, ” with Judith and Pimms, “Pimms Defendants, ” and with Tibiri Defendants, “Defendants”), Plaintiff similarly alleges that the Pimms Defendants unlawfully intercepted and exhibited the Fight. Pimms Compl. ¶¶ 7, 23, ECF No. 1. Plaintiff's investigator counted between fifty-four and fifty-six patrons present while the fight played on one of four televisions at the bar. Pimms Gagliardi Aff. Ex. B at 1, ECF No. 11. Given the estimated capacity of seventy-five, Plaintiff would have sold the Pimms Defendants the rights to show the Fight for $1, 800. Id. ¶ 8.

         In the Tibiri Defendants' case, Plaintiff filed the Complaint on September 13, 2018, proof of service in October and November of 2018, and requested a clerk's entry of default in January 2019. Tibiri ECF Nos. 1, 4-5, 7. After the clerk entered default, Plaintiff filed the present motion for default judgment. Tibiri ECF No. 8. Similarly, in the Pimms case, Plaintiff filed their complaint, proofs of service, and request for default in late 2018. Pimms ECF Nos. 1, 4-5, 8. After entry of default, Plaintiff filed their motion for default judgment. Pimms ECF No. 10. None of the Defendants have answered or otherwise responded to Plaintiff's filings.

         II. JURISDICTION

         This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (federal question) because Plaintiff brings this civil action pursuant to the Communications Act of 1934. The court exercises personal jurisdiction over all named Defendants because they were physically located in the state of New Jersey at the time they were served and are domiciled in the state of New Jersey. See FRCP 4.

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Legal Standard

         To enter a default judgment, the Court must determine whether a sufficient cause of action has been stated, taking as true the factual allegations of the complaint. Super 8 Worldwide, Inc. v. Riya Hosp. Grp., Inc., 14-cv-04527, 2015 WL 3755039, at *1 (D.N.J. June 16, 2015). “Once a cause of action has been established, the district courts must make explicit factual findings as to three factors: (1) whether the party subject to default has a meritorious defense, (2) the prejudice suffered by the party seeking default, and (3) the culpability of the party subject to default.” Id. Further, plaintiffs must evidence their right to damages. See Comdyne I, Inc. v. Corbin, 908 F.2d 1142, 1149 (3d Cir. 1990).

         B. Plaintiff has Stated a Cause of Action

         Plaintiff brings claims pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 605 and 47 U.S.C. § 553.[1] When a plaintiff seeks relief under either statute, “its burden is to show that the defendant (1) intercepted a broadcast; (2) was not authorized to intercept the broadcast; and (3) showed the broadcast ...


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