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J&J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Frei

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

June 21, 2013

J&J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD T. FREI and DEBORAH A. FREI, individually and as alter egos of business entity RODEO CLUB and RODEO CLUB WAY BACK STEAK HOUSE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

B. LYNN WINMILL, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

On March 5, 2013, the Court clerk entered defendant Richard and Deborah Frei's default for failing to plead or otherwise defend this action. Plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc. now asks the Court to enter a default judgment against these defendants. See Dkt. 15. The Court will grant the motion in part, and deny it in part.

THE ALLEGED FACTS

J & J bought the exclusive nationwide television distribution rights to a boxing match billed as The Battle of East and West: Manny Pacquiao v. Ricky Hatton, IBO Light Welterweight Championship Fight. The boxing match was telecast nationwide on May 2, 2009. Compl., Dkt. 1, ¶ 12. Defendants aired the fight at the Rodeo Club, which is presumably a bar or restaurant, in Riggins, Idaho. Id. ¶ 15. Also, according to the complaint, defendants intercepted and displayed the fight willfully and for "purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage or private financial gain." Id.

J & J asserts three claims based on these allegations: (1) violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605; (2) violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553; and (3) conversion. In its pending motion, J & J requests a default judgment awarding $100, 000 in damages on the first claim and $50, 000 in damages on the second claim, plus $2, 890 in attorneys' fees and costs. J & J does not request default judgment on the conversion claim or address it in any way. The Court therefore considers this claim abandoned.

ANALYSIS

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 55(b)(2), a party can apply to the district court for entry of judgment by default after the clerk has entered the party's default based on its failure to plead or otherwise defend itself. "The district court's decision whether to enter a default judgment is a discretionary one." Aldabe v. Aldabe, 616 F.2d 1089, 1092 (9th Cir.1980). The Court should consider the following factors - often referred to as the Eitel factors - in deciding whether to grant a default judgment:

(1) the possibility of prejudice to plaintiff,
(2) the merits of plaintiff's substantive claim,
(3) the sufficiency of the complaint,
(4) the sum of money at stake in the action,
(5) the possibility of a dispute concerning the ...

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