United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
G. SHERIDAN, U.S.D.J.
matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff J&J Sports
Production, Inc.'s ("Plaintiff or
"J&J") motion for the entry of default judgment
against Defendants Suarez Enterprises, LLC d/b/a Don
Julio's Bar and Grill a/k/a Don Julio's Bar and
Grill, LLC ("Don Julio's") and Pedro B. Urgiles
("Urgiles") (together, "Defendants").
(ECF No. 8). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, without
authorization, broadcasted a May 2016 boxing match as to
which Plaintiff had exclusive distribution rights. Defendants
have not opposed this motion and pursuant to Local Civil Rule
78.1, this motion is decided without oral argument. For the
reasons stated herein, Plaintiff's motion is granted.
is a closed-circuit distributor of sports and entertainment
programming. (Plaintiff's Affidavit in Support of its
Motion for the Entry of Default Judgment ("Pl.
Aff.") ¶ 3, ECF No. 8-1). Plaintiff purchased by
contract the domestic commercial distribution rights to
broadcast the Saul Alvarez v. Amir Khan, WBC World
Middleweight Championship Fight Program (the
"Program"), telecasted on May 7, 2016. (Moving Br.
at 1, ECF No. 8-3; Pl. Aff., Ex. A). Pursuant to
Plaintiff's contract, Plaintiff was permitted to enter
into sub-licensing agreements with various commercial
establishments seeking to show the Program to its patrons.
(Id.). The transmission of the Program was encrypted
and made available only to Plaintiff's customers, or
commercial locations that paid Plaintiff a fee to show the
Program. (Id. at 1-2; see also Pl. Aff.
¶ 11). Don Julio's is a bar and grill located at 900
Liberty Street, Trenton, New Jersey 08611. (Id. at
action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants unlawfully
intercepted and broadcasted the Program at Don Julio's
for its patrons, contrary to the Communications Act of 1934,
47 U.S.C. §§ 605 and 553 (Counts I, II). (Complaint
at 6-8, ECF No. 1). Plaintiff also asserts several common law
causes of action in connection with Defendants' alleged
piracy of the Program (Counts III-VI). (Id. at
support of its allegations, Plaintiff submits, inter
alia, the affidavit of Kevin Goldberg, an investigator
retained by Plaintiff to monitor the unlawful broadcast of
the Program in the area. (See Pl. Aff., Ex. B). Mr.
Goldberg attests to having witnessed the Program being
unlawfully broadcasted on one of the four television at Don
Julio's on the subject date. (Id.). While Don
Julio's has a capacity of approximately 150 patrons, Mr.
Goldberg witnessed only approximately 50 patrons present
during the Program. (Id.). Further, Mr. Goldberg
certifies that Don Julio's did not charge a cover fee to
enter the bar and view the Program. (Id.).
filed its Complaint in this matter on May 4, 2018. (ECF No.
1). Defendants were served with the Complaint and Summons on
July 30, 2018 and July 31, 2018. (ECF No. 4). After
Defendants failed to respond, on January 22, 2019, Plaintiff
requested the entry of default, which was granted and entered
by the Clerk of Court on January 23, 2019. (ECF Nos. 6, 7).
Plaintiff filed the instant motion for the entry of a default
judgment on December 18, 2019. (ECF No. 8). Plaintiff is
seeking damages totaling $27, 100, and an opportunity to file
a separate application for costs and attorneys' fees. The
Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
Rule of Civil Procedure 55 governs the entry of default and
default judgments. Under Rule 55(a), "[w]hen a party
against whom a judgment for affirmative relief is sought has
failed to plead or otherwise defend, and that failure is
shown by affidavit or otherwise, the clerk must enter the
party's default." Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Thereafter,
the movant can apply to the court for a default judgment.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). "The threshold issue in opening a
default judgment is whether a meritorious defense has been
asserted." Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178,
1181 (3d Cir. 1984). "[A] meritorious defense is
presumptively established when the 'allegations of
defendant's answer, if established on trial would
constitute a complete defense to the action.'"
Id. (citation omitted).
considering a motion for default judgment, a court must
exercise sound judicial discretion. See Harad v. Aetna
Cas. & Sur. Co., 839 F.2d 979, 982 (3d Cir. 1988).
The Third Circuit has identified three factors courts should
consider when weighing whether to enter a default judgment:
"(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." See Doug Brady, Inc. v. N.J. Bldg.
Laborers State Wide Funds, 250 F.R.D. 171, 177 (D.N.J.
2008) (citing Emcasco Ins. Co. v. Sambrick, 834 F.2d
71, 73 (3d Cir. 1987)). The ultimate decision whether to
enter default judgment in any given case "is left
primarily to the discretion of the district court."
United States v. Cardona, No. CIV. A. 09-374 (JAG),
2009 WL 2381758, at *1 (D.N.J. July 31, 2009) (collecting
"[d]efault establishes the defaulting party's
liability for the well-pleaded allegations of the
complaint." Pflugfeder v. Burns, No. CV 16-1963
(JBS-AMD), 2016 WL 6561555, at *l (D.N.J. Nov. 2, 2016)
(citations omitted). Default does not, however, establish
liability for the amount of damages claimed by the plaintiff.
Flaks v. Koegel, 504 F.2d 702, 707 (2d Cir.1974)
("While a default judgment constitutes an admission of
liability, the quantum of damages remains to be established
by proof unless the amount is liquidated or susceptible of
mathematical computation."). "The district court
must instead conduct an inquiry in order to ascertain the
amount of damages with reasonable certainty." Credit
Lyonnais Sees. (USA), Inc. v. Alcantara, 183 F.3d 151,
155 (2d Cir.1999). "Courts have wide discretion in
determining appropriate statutory damage awards."
Innovative Sports Mgmt., Inc. v. Perez, No. CV
19-12849 (SRC), 2019 WL 6167954, at *4 (D.N.J. Nov. 20, 2019)
(citing Broad. Music, Inc. v. Crocodile Rock Corp.,
634 Fed.Appx. 884, 885 (3d Cir. 2015); see also Jones v.
Winnepesaukee Realty, 990 F.2d 1, 4 (1st Cir.1993).
determining the amount of damages, the district court may
conduct a hearing pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(b)(2). The court is not required to do so,
however, "as long as it ensure[s] that there [is] a
basis for the damages specified in the default
judgment." Transatlantic Marine Claims Agency, Inc.
v. Ace Shipping Corp., 109 F.3d 105, 111 (2d Cir.1997).
threshold requirements for entry of a default judgment are
met. As discussed above, the Court has jurisdiction over this
action because Plaintiff asserts claims arising under federal
law (see 28 U.S.C. § 1331; 28 U.S.C. §
1367); service of process was properly effectuated
(see ECF No. 4); no Defendant has answered or
otherwise responded to the Complaint; and default has been
entered by the Clerk against Defendants. Joe ...