United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT
showed a boxing match in her night club on September 13,
2014, without first obtaining Plaintiff's permission. In
response, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, alleging violations
of federal law and requesting $110, 000 in damages. Defendant
has not appeared, and Plaintiff seeks a default judgment.
Plaintiff's motion (doc. 10) is GRANTED IN PART
AND DENIED IN PART.
is "a commercial distributor of sporting events . . .
." (Doc. 1 ¶ 9.) As such, it held the
"exclusive nationwide television distribution
rights" to a September 13, 2014, boxing match between
"Mayhem" Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Marcos Rene
Maidana, II. (Id. ¶ 7.) Businesses could not
show the fight without purchasing the rights to do so from
Plaintiff. (See id. ¶¶ 7-10.)
alleges that in September 2014 Defendant "was an owner
and/or a controlling manager" of A's Sports Bar,
located on Peach Orchard Road in Augusta, Georgia.
(Id. ¶ 6.) On the night of the
Mayweather-Maidana fight, Plaintiff sent an investigator to
A's Sports Bar. (See Doc. 10-2 at 14-16.) While
inside the bar, the investigator witnessed the fight playing
on five televisions. (Id. at 14.) According to the
investigator, A's Sports Bar holds roughly 100 people.
(Id. at 15.)
Defendant was not authorized to show the fight at A's
Sports Bar, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit, asserting claims
under 47 U.S.C. § 553 and 47 U.S.C. § 605.
Plaintiff served Defendant, but Defendant has failed to
appear in this action or respond to the complaint.
(See Doc. 8.) Plaintiff moved for Clerk's entry
of default, which the Clerk entered on April 30, 2018. (Docs.
8, 9.) Plaintiff now moves for default judgment. (Doc. 10.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55, a court may enter default
judgment against a defendant when (1) both subject-matter and
personal jurisdiction exist, (2) the allegations in the
complaint state a claim against the defendant, and (3) the
plaintiff has shown the damages to which it is entitled.
See Pitts ex rel. Pitts v. Seneca Sports,
Inc., 321 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1356-58 (S.D. Ga. 2004).
defendant's default does not in itself warrant the court
in entering a default judgment.'' Nishimatsu
Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200,
1206 (5th Cir. 1975). Default judgment is warranted only
"when there is a sufficient basis in the pleadings for
the judgment entered." Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace
Found., 789 F.3d 1239, 1245 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted) (internal quotation marks omitted). And although a
"defaulted defendant is deemed to admit the
plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact, he is not
held to admit facts that are not well-pleaded or to admit
conclusions of law." Id. (citation omitted)
(internal quotation marks omitted) . The upshot of this
standard is that "a motion for default judgment is like
a reverse motion to dismiss for failure to state a
claim." Id. Thus, when evaluating a motion for
default judgment, a court must look to see whether the
"complaint contain[s] sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citation omitted) (internal quotation
entering default judgment, a court must ensure that it has
subject-matter jurisdiction over the case and personal
jurisdiction over the defendant. Here, the Court has both.
Because Plaintiff's claims arise under federal law, the
Court has federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. And because Defendant resides in Georgia, the
Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant.
asserts claims under 47 U.S.C. § 553 and 47 U.S.C.
§ 605, which prohibit the interception of cable and
satellite programming. Although the Eleventh Circuit has not
yet addressed the issue, other courts, including district
courts in the Eleventh Circuit, have concluded that
plaintiffs may not recover under both § 605 and §
553 for the same conduct. TKR Cable Co. v. Cable City
Corp., 267 F.3d 196, 207 (3d Cir. 2001); United
States v. Norris, 88 F.3d 462, 465-69 (7th Cir. 1996); J
& J Sports Prods., Inc v. WB-Diversified Auto Servs.,
Inc., No. 1:15-cv-2171-WSD, 2016 WL 264935, at *2
(N.D.Ga. Jan. 21, 2016). Rather, according to these courts,
"[§] 605 prohibits commercial establishments from
intercepting and broadcasting satellite programming, while
[§] 553 addresses interceptions that occur through a
cable network." J & J Sports Prods., 2016
WL 269435, at *2. Like those courts, this Court concludes a
plaintiff may not recover under both statutes.
does not specify in its complaint whether Plaintiff obtained
and showed the fight through cable or satellite transmission.
However, because the elements of a claim under § 605 and
§ 553 are the same, the Court will "giv[e]
Plaintiff the benefit of the doubt" and will "not
fault  Plaintiff for failing to plead the particular manner
of interception since this may be exclusively in
Defendant['s] knowledge." Id. at *3
(alterations in original) (citation omitted) (internal
quotation marks omitted). To succeed on a claim under either
statute, a plaintiff must show (1) that the defendant
"intercepted the program," (2) that the defendant
"did not pay for the right to receive the
transmission," and (3) that the defendant
"displayed the ...