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J&J Sports Productions Inc v. Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge Inc

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

April 9, 2018

J&J Sports Productions, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge, Inc., and La'Tanya T. Epps, Defendants.

          ORDER

          R. BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc.'s [ECF No. 13] motion for summary judgment against Defendant La'Tanya T. Epps filed on August 31, 2017.

         Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendants, Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge, Inc. and La'Tanya T. Epps, on April 21, 2017, seeking 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 "Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. Marcos Rene Maidana WBC Welterweight Championship Fight Program." [ECF No. 1].

         On April 25, 2017, Plaintiff's private process server served La'Tanya T. Epps individually and as Registered Agent of Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge [ECF No. 5-1]. Defendant Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge failed to answer or otherwise respond to the complaint. Accordingly, on November 3, 2017, the Court entered a default judgment in favor of Plaintiff against Defendant Ultimate Jet-A-Way Sportsbar & Lounge, Inc. in the amount of $5, 910.75, which consisted of $4, 070.00 in statutory and enhanced damages plus $1, 840.75 in attorney's fees and costs. [ECF No. 15].

         Defendant La'Tanya T. Epps filed an answer on May 8, 2017. [ECF No. 6]. Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment against Defendant Epps on August 31, 2017. [ECF No. 13]. To date, Defendant Epps has failed to file a response in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (2010). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record . . .; or (B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).

         When no genuine issue of any material fact exists, summary judgment is appropriate. See Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). The facts and inferences to be drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Id. However, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         "Once the moving party has met [its] burden, the nonmoving party must come forward with some evidence beyond the mere allegations contained in the pleadings to show that there is a genuine issue for trial." Baber v. Hospital Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The nonmoving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, unsupported speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. See Baber, 977 F.2d at 875. Rather, the nonmoving party is required to submit evidence of specific facts by way of affidavits, depositions, interrogatories, or admissions to demonstrate the existence of a genuine and material factual issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         Discussion

         I. Liability under 47 U.S.C. § 605

         Plaintiff seeks summary judgment on the basis of Defendant Epps' failure to respond to Plaintiff's requests for admission. Plaintiff argues that by virtue of the Defendant's failure to respond to Plaintiff's Request for Admission, the following matters of material fact were admitted pursuant to Rule 36(a)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure:

a. The Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v. Marcos Rene Maidana WBC Welterweight Championship Fight Program (the "Event") was shown in the Establishment on May 3, 2014.
b. Defendant intercepted the broadcast of the Event in the Establishment.
c. Neither Defendant nor anyone else (to Defendant's knowledge) paid a licensing fee for the Event for the Establishment to Plaintiff or to any person authorized by Plaintiff.
d. Defendant was aware that a licensing fee was required to be paid to Plaintiff in order to lawfully telecast the Event in the Establishment.
e. In advance of the Event, Defendant advertised that the Event would be telecast within the Establishment.
f. On May 3, 2014, the Establishment required its patrons or clientele of the Establishment to pay a cover charge or other fee to enter the Establishment.
g. The Event was received in the Establishment because Defendant used a satellite access card programmed to enable it to receive satellite television service ...

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