United States District Court, D. New Jersey, Camden Vicinage
PRESSLER, FELT & WARSHAW, LLP BY: MICHAEL JON PETERS,
ESQ. COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF
OPINION [DKT. NO. 7]
RENÉE MARIE BUMB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff G & G Closed
Circuit Events, LLC's Motion for Default Judgment against
Defendants Don Tequila Bar & Grill L.L.C. d/b/a Don
Tequila Bar & Grill and Santo Diaz Hidalgo. For the
reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED
is a distributor of sports and entertainment programming that
purchased the domestic commercial exhibition rights to
broadcast the Gennady Golovkin v. Daniel Jacobs, WBA
Super World Middleweight Championship Fight Program
nationwide on March 18, 2017. (Compl. ¶ 20; Plf's
Br. at 1). Pursuant to its distribution rights, Plaintiff
entered into sub-licensing agreements with various commercial
establishments who, in turn, were permitted to broadcast the
program. (Compl. ¶ 21; Plf's Br. at 1.) The
transmission of the program was encrypted and available only
to customers who paid Plaintiff's license fees.
(Plf's Br. at 2).
filed its complaint against Defendants on January 3, 2019,
alleging that Defendants knowingly and willfully violated 47
U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605. Specifically, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Hidalgo is the license holder for the
commercial establishment Don Tequila Bar & Grill L.L.C.
d/b/a Don Tequila Bar & Grill, and that Defendant Hidalgo
had the right and ability to supervise the activities
therein. (Compl. ¶¶ 10-11). Plaintiff further
alleges that, under the direction of Defendant Hidalgo,
Defendant Don Tequila, without obtaining a license from
Plaintiff, unlawfully intercepted and decrypted the program
and broadcast it to approximately thirty-five patrons on
March 18, 2017. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-24; Osgood
Affidavit). Plaintiff seeks judgment under 47 U.S.C. §
605 in the amount of $19, 200.00 and also requests thirty
days from the entry of judgment to submit its costs and
reasonable attorneys' fees.
Standard for Default Judgment
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs the entry of a default
judgment. Once default has been entered, and a party has
moved for default judgment, the Court, prior to entering
default judgment, must: “(1) determine it has
jurisdiction both over the subject matter and parties; (2)
determine whether defendants have been properly served; (3)
analyze the [c]omplaint to determine whether it sufficiently
pleads a cause of action; and (4) determine whether the
plaintiff has proved damages.” Joe Hand Promotions,
Inc. v. Batra, No. 15-5863, 2017 WL 838798, at *2
(D.N.J. March 2, 2017). Additionally, the following three
factors determine whether default judgment should be granted:
“(1) prejudice to the plaintiff if default is denied;
(2) whether the defendant appears to have a litigable
defense; and (3) whether defendant's delay is due to
culpable conduct.” Chamberlain v. Giampapa,
210 F.3d 154, 164 (3d Cir. 2000).
Jurisdiction and Service of Process
Court must ascertain its jurisdiction both over the subject
matter and the parties before entering default judgment
against a party that has not filed responsive pleadings.
HICA Educ. Loan Corp. v. Surikov, No. 14-1045, 2015
WL 273656, at *2 (D.N.J. Jan. 22, 2015).
the Court has federal question subject matter jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because Plaintiff asserts
claims under 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605, both of
which provide private rights of action to an aggrieved party.
See 47 U.S.C. §§ 553(c); 605(e). Additionally, the
Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendants because both
were personally served in New Jersey. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(e),
(h)(1); N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(a) (“The primary method of
obtaining in personam jurisdiction over a defendant in this
State is by causing the summons and complaint to be
personally served within this State pursuant to R.
4:4-3.”). Specifically, Defendant Hidalgo was properly
served pursuant to N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(a)(1) because Ms. Torres
was authorized to receive process on Defendant Hidalgo's
behalf [see Docket Entry # 5], and Defendant Don Tequila was
properly served pursuant to N.J. Ct. R. 4:4-4(a)(6) because
Ms. Ortiz was authorized to receive process on its behalf
[see Docket Entry # 4].
Sufficiency of Plaintiff's Causes of Action
state a claim under 47 U.S.C. § 553 or § 605, a
plaintiff must allege that defendants intercepted a broadcast
without authorization and then showed the broadcast to
others. See J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v.
Edrington, No. 10-3789, 2012 WL 525970, at *2 (D.N.J.
Feb. 16, 2012). Further, if a plaintiff demonstrates that
“the interception of the broadcast was willful and for