United States District Court, D. Maryland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Xinis, United States District Judge.
is Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc.'s
(“J&J”) Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment
(ECF No. 12) regarding the Court's denial of enhanced
statutory damages. The motion is fully briefed, and no
hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. For the
following reasons, Plaintiff's motion is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.
relevant facts are summarized in the Court's Memorandum
Opinion granting default judgment. See ECF No. 10 at
1-2. On May 1, 2018, J&J filed suit against LaCasa Del
Mofongo LLC and Domingo Manana (collectively,
“Defendants”), owners of the restaurant La Casa
Del Mofongo (“La Casa”), alleging a violation of
the Communications Act of 1934. ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 14-25.
J&J, a distributor of sports and entertainment
programming, held exclusive commercial distribution rights to
“The Fight of the Century” Floyd Mayweather,
Jr. v. Manny Pacquiao Championship Fight Program (the
“Program”). Id. ¶ 15. Defendants
unlawfully aired the Program at their establishment, La Casa,
having no advance sublicensing agreement to broadcast the
Program. According to J&J's rate card for the
Program, had the parties entered into such an agreement,
Defendants would have owed J&J $3, 000 based on La
Casa's capacity to hold about fifty patrons. See
ECF No. 9-8 at 1.
have failed to respond or otherwise contest J&J's
claims. See ECF No. 9-4 at 2. J&J moved for
entry of default against Defendants, which the Clerk entered
on August 20, 2018. See ECF No. 8. Thereafter,
J&J moved for default judgment, requesting $3, 000 in
statutory damages, $9, 000 in enhanced damages, and $2, 245
in attorneys' fees and costs. ECF No. 9-4 at 7, 9. The
Court granted default judgment in Plaintiff's favor for
$5, 245 but denied Plaintiff's request for enhanced
statutory damages, finding no evidence that “Defendants
realized significant financial profit from broadcasting the
Program or had committed any other such violation before or
since the broadcast of the Program.” ECF No. 10 at 5.
Plaintiff now moves for reconsideration, requesting that the
Court alter of amend its judgment and grant enhanced
statutory damages. ECF No. 12-1 at 1.
Standard of Review
recognize three limited grounds for granting a motion to
alter or amend a judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 59(e): (1) to accommodate an intervening change in
controlling law, (2) to account for new evidence not
previously available, or (3) to correct clear error of law or
prevent manifest injustice. See United States ex rel.
Becker v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 305 F.3d 284,
290 (4th Cir. 2002) (citing Pac. Ins. Co. v. Am.
Nat'l Fire Ins. Co., 148 F.3d 396, 403 (4th Cir.
1998)), cert. denied, 538 U.S. 1012 (2003). A Rule
59(e) motion “may not be used to relitigate old
matters, or to raise arguments or present evidence that could
have been raised prior to the entry of judgment.”
Pac. Ins. Co., 148 F.3d at 403 (quoting 11 Wright,
et al., Fed. Prac. & Proc. § 2810.1, at
127-28 (2d ed. 1995)). “In general,
‘reconsideration of a judgment after its entry is an
extraordinary remedy which should be used
sparingly.'” Id. (quoting Wright, et
al., supra, § 2810.1, at 124).
argues that it is entitled to enhanced damages pursuant to 47
U.S.C. § 605(e)(3)(C)(ii), which authorizes awards of up
to $100, 000 when “the violation was committed
willfully and for the purposes of direct or indirect
commercial advantage or private financial gain . . . .”
Courts look to several factors to determine whether enhanced
damages are warranted, including evidence of willfulness,
repeated violations over an extended period of time,
substantial unlawful monetary gains, advertising the
broadcast, and charging an admission fee or premiums for food
and drinks. See J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v.
Quattrocche, No. WMN-09-3420, 2010 WL 2302353, at *2 (D.
Md. June 7, 2010). Plaintiff seeks $9, 000 in enhanced
damages, three times the amount of statutory damages that
this Court has awarded.
the Court found in its earlier Memorandum Opinion that
Defendants' interception of the Program was willful, the
Court ultimately denied enhanced damages because no evidence
demonstrated that defendants had repeatedly violated the
sublicensing agreement or obtained substantial monetary
gains. ECF No. 10 at 5. La Casa did not charge an admission
fee, and J&J's private investigator observed only
twenty-one to twenty-four customers in the fifty-person
capacity restaurant. ECF No. 1-1 at 2-3.
has persuasively argued that an enhanced damages award is an
important tool to deter such violations, and that without
such enhanced damages, defendants are given little incentive
to enter into a lawful sublicensing agreement in advance of
airing the Program. ECF No. 12-1 at 5-6; see also J &
J Sports Prods. Inc. v. Henriquez Batres, Inc., No.
GJH-16-2385, 2017 WL 2937936, at *4 (D. Md. July 10, 2017)
(“[C]ourts in this jurisdiction have found that even
when there is ‘no evidence of repeat violations,
monetary gains, advertising of the broadcast, or the charging
of an admission fee or premiums for food and drinks . . .
some enhanced damages are proper to deter potential future
unlawful uses of communications.'”) (citations
omitted). The Court finds this argument persuasive.
Accordingly, the Court grants J&J's motion to
reconsider and will amend the earlier default judgment to
include an enhanced damages award. However, given the
relatively few customers actually present during the Program,
the Court believes $6, 000, or two times the amount of
statutory damages, to be sufficient enhanced damages to
achieve the statute's purposes. See, e.g.,
J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Seafood Palace Buffet,
Inc., No. TDC-17-2414, 2018 WL 4494886, at *1 (D. Md.
July 6, 2018) (adopting Magistrate's recommendation
multiplying statutory damages by two where there was no cover
charge or advertising for the Program, the establishment was
below capacity, and there were no previous violations).
on the foregoing, it is this 15th day of May 2019, by the
United States District Court for the District of Maryland,
1. Plaintiff J&J Sports Productions, Inc.'s Motion to
Alter or Amend the Judgment (ECF No. 12) BE, and the same
hereby IS, ...