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J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Cornelius

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Columbia Division

August 10, 2017

J&J Sports Productions, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Stacey Cornelius a/k/a Stacey Griffin, Defendant.

          ORDER FOR JUDGMENT BY DEFAULT

          TERRY L. WOOTEN, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc.'s Motion for Default Judgment against Defendant Stacey Cornelius a/k/a Stacey Griffin, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55. ECF No. 11.

         Plaintiff had exclusive, nationwide commercial television distribution rights to Manny Paquiao v. Timothy Bradley II, WBO Welterweight Championship Fight Program (the Program). Plaintiff sued Defendant for unlawfully intercepting and intentionally exhibiting the Program at the Defendant's establishment, “Bananas, ” located at 1723 Decker Blvd., Columbia, South Carolina 29206, without paying the required licensing fee. Plaintiff's Complaint includes causes of action under 47 U.S.C. § 605 (the Communications Act) and 47 U.S.C. § 553 (the Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act), as well as a state law claim for conversion. Although Defendant was properly served with the Complaint, she has not appeared in the case. Pursuant to Plaintiff's request, the Clerk of Court entered default against Defendant on May 2, 2017. ECF No. 8. Plaintiff now moves for a default judgment and Defendant has not responded. ECF No. 11.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendants on May 31, 2017. ECF No. 1. This action seeks an award of statutory damages, enhanced damages, attorneys' fees and costs, as well as compensatory and punitive damages based on the unlicensed broadcast of the Program.

         A. Jurisdiction and Venue

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367. The court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant, and venue in this District is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391 because Defendant is a South Carolina residents or is, or was, doing business in this District, and because the alleged wrongful acts occurred in this District.

         B. Process and Service

         On April 5, 2017, Plaintiff's private process server served Stacey Cornelius a/k/a Stacey Griffin.

         C. Grounds for Entry of Default

         Defendant did not timely file an answer or other pleading, as reflected by Affidavit of Default and Affidavit of Plaintiff's Counsel in Support of Request for Entry of Default. The Clerk of Court properly entered default of Defendant Stacey Cornelius a/k/a Stacey Griffin on May 2, 2017.

         D. Motion for Default Judgment

         On July 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Motion and Motion for Default Judgment, a copy of which was also served upon Defendant by mail on said date.

         II. Findings of Fact

         Having reviewed Plaintiff's Complaint, Answers to Local Rule 26.01 Interrogatories, Request for Entry of Default, Motion for Default Judgment, as well as all supporting and supplemental information provided, the Court accepts Plaintiff's well-pled factual allegations as true and makes the following factual findings. See DIRECTV, Inc. v. Rawlins, 523 F.3d 318, 322 n.1 (4th Cir. 2009) (accepting plaintiff's allegations against defaulting defendant as true, noting a defaulting defendant “admits the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact, is concluded on those facts by the judgment, and is barred from contesting on appeal the facts thus established.”) (quoting Ryan v. Homecomings Fin. Network, 253 F.3D 778, 780 (4th Cir. 2001)).

         Relevant to this litigation, Plaintiff paid for, and was granted, the exclusive nationwide commercial television distribution rights to the Program. Plaintiff contracted with and granted certain businesses the rights to exhibit publicly the Program to its customers within their commercial establishments. Plaintiff expended substantial money in marketing, advertising, administering and transmitting the Program to such businesses.

         As alleged by Plaintiff in its Complaint, Defendant was present during the broadcast and committed, directly or indirectly, the misconduct, had dominion, control, oversight and management authority over the establishment known as Bananas, and had an obvious and direct financial interest in the misconduct.

         III. ...


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