United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Kimberly M. Hanlon, KIMBERLY M. HANLON LLC, for plaintiff.
PATRICK J. SCHILTZ, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
J & J Sports Productions, Inc. (“J & J”)
sued defendant Cerresso Fort and his business partner,
claiming that they unlawfully intercepted and exhibited a
pay-per- view boxing match in violation of 47 U.S.C. §
See ECF No. 1, No. 15-CV-2330.This matter is
before the Court on J & J's motion for a default
judgment against Fort. For the reasons that follow, the Court
grants the motion and enters judgment against Fort in the
amount of $11, 000.
ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT
J served the summons and complaint on Fort on June 26, 2015.
ECF No. 34.Fort did not respond to J & J's
complaint within 21 days. At the request of J & J, the
Clerk entered default against Fort on April 15,
2016. ECF No. 39.
J now moves for entry of a default judgment against Fort. ECF
No. 40. The Court held a hearing on J & J's motion on
November 4, 2016. ECF No. 48. Fort did not appear. The Court
finds that J & J is entitled to a default judgment
against Fort under Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2).
DAMAGES UNDER 47 U.S.C. § 553
553 authorizes recovery of both statutory damages (not to
exceed $10, 000) and enhanced damages (not to exceed $50,
000). See 47 U.S.C. § 553(c)(3). Courts have
broad discretion to fix the exact amount of damages. See
Comcast of Ill. X v. Multi-Vision Elecs., Inc., 491 F.3d
938, 946-47 (8th Cir. 2007). J & J asks for $60, 000 in
statutory and enhanced damages. For the reasons explained
below, however, the Court will award only $11, 000 in
statutory and enhanced damages.
damages are compensatory in nature. They are intended to
compensate the plaintiff for the harm that it suffered
because of the defendant's actions. J & J Sports
Prods., Inc. v. Cortes, No. 10-CV-1952 (RHK/JJK), 2012
WL 2370206, at *1 (D. Minn. June 22, 2012). Here, as
in Cortes, it would have cost the defendant at least
$2, 200 “to obtain a license to lawfully broadcast the
boxing match in question.” Id. at *1;
cf. ECF No. 41 at 18; ECF No. 43-1 at 2. The Court
will therefore award $2, 200 in statutory damages to
reimburse J & J for the money it lost because Fort failed
to pay for a license to broadcast the boxing match.
damages are punitive in nature. They are intended to
“punish willful violations of the law and deter similar
misconduct in the future.” Cortes, 2012 WL
2370206, at *2. The plaintiff can recover enhanced damages
only if the defendant acts “willfully”-that is,
with a “reckless disregard of the statutory
requirements, ” Comcast, 491 F.3d at 947-and
“for purposes of commercial advantage or private
financial gain, ” 47 U.S.C. § 553(c)(3)(B).
facts here warrant an award of enhanced damages. Fort could
not have “mistakenly, innocently, or
accidentally” intercepted the boxing match that he
unlawfully exhibited. ECF No. 43 at 3. He charged his patrons
$15 to $20 to view the match. ECF No. 42-1 at 1, 3. And the
complaint alleges-and therefore the Court must find-that Fort
showed the match “[w]ith full knowledge” that he
was not authorized to do so and “for purposes of direct
or indirect commercial advantage or private financial
gain.” ECF No. 1 at 4, No. 15-CV-2330; cf. Marshall
v. Baggett, 616 F.3d 849, 852 (8th Cir. 2010) (noting
that factual allegations in the complaint cannot be contested
after entry of a default judgment). Taken together, these
facts support an award of enhanced damages.
determining the proper amount of enhanced damages, courts
generally multiply the statutory damages by “three to
six times.” Cortes, 2012 WL 2370206, at *2. In
choosing an appropriate multiplier, courts consider several
factors, such as the size of the viewing audience, whether
the defendant was a ...