United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
J&J Sports Productions, Inc. ("J&J")
alleges that Defendants Beer 4 U, Inc. and Sena Hyon Kim
illegally exhibited a closed-circuit broadcast of a boxing
match to which J&J owned the exclusive nationwide
commercial distribution rights. J&J has asserted claims
for violations of the Communications Act of 1934 ("the
Communications Act"), 47 U.S.C. § 605 (2012), and
the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act
of 1992 ("the Cable Act"), 47 U.S.C. § 553.
Pending before the Court is J&J's Motion for Summary
Judgment on liability. Having reviewed the submitted
materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary.
See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth
below, the Motion will be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
distributes sports and entertainment programming through
closed-circuit television. It owned the exclusive commercial
exhibition licensing rights to the nationwide broadcast of
the September 12, 2015 welterweight championship fight
between Floyd May weather, Jr. and Andre Berto, as well as
select undercard bouts, including the match between Badou
Jack and George Groves (collectively, "the Fight").
September 12, 2015, the night of the Fight, two investigators
engaged by J&J visited Defendants' commercial
establishment, Beer 4 U Sports Bar ("the Sports
Bar") on Crain Highway in Waldorf, Maryland. The first
investigator, James Osgood, went to the Sports Bar at 9:10
p.m. He paid no cover charge for entry and ordered a drink
from the bar. Osgood observed five televisions and a
projection screen. According to Osgood, the Jack-Groves
undercard boxing match was being shown on the screens. He
counted the number of patrons inside the bar three times
between his arrival and his departure at 9:20 p.m. He counted
32 patrons each time. Osgood estimated that the Sports
Bar's maximum capacity was approximately 150 people.
second investigator, Melinda Johnson, arrived at the Sports
Bar at 9:21 p.m. on the night of the Fight. She paid a $10.00
cover charge to enter the Sports Bar and observed nine
televisions inside "showing a mix of ESPN, FX, and
nothing." Joint Record ("J.R.") 16, ECF No.
44. She also saw a "Viewsonic projector displaying the
boxing pay-per-view on the wall behind the stage."
Id. Specifically, Johnson observed the Jack-Georges
undercard fight projected onto the wall. She "noticed
that the picture was lagging as if streaming from the
Internet." Id. Johnson also counted the number
of patrons inside the Sports Bar between her arrival and her
departure from the bar at 9:55 p.m. On those occasions, she
counted 39, 40, and 40 patrons, respectively. According to a
posted Fire Marshal sign, Johnson saw that the Sports
Bar's maximum capacity was 241 people.
Sena Hyon Kim is the owner, a director, a shareholder, and
the resident agent of Beer 4 U, Inc. ("the
Corporation"), the corporate entity that owns the Sports
Bar. Kim is also the manager of the Sports Bar and makes
substantially all managerial decisions for it. The Sports
Bar's bartenders act as her agents. She has a financial
interest in the Sports Bar's activities.
admits that Defendants did not pay a commercial licensing fee
to J&J or otherwise secure its permission to broadcast
the Fight at the Sports Bar. She acknowledges that on the
night of the Fight, "portions or moments from" the
Fight "were exhibited ... in the performance area"
of the Sports Bar. J.R. 39. Although Kim was present inside
the Sports Bar on the night of the Fight, she denies any
prior or first-hand knowledge of the Fight's broadcast
inside the Sports Bar. According to Kim, the Fight was
displayed by a third party without Defendants' knowledge
or input. Rather, Kim asserts that she had specifically
informed the Sports Bar's employees that no pay-per-view
events were to be shown there, and that the Sports Bar did
not advertise that the Fight would be broadcast that night.
Davis, the leader of a band that performed at the Sports Bar
on the night of the Fight, has acknowledged that before Kim
told him that the Fight could not be shown at the Sports Bar,
a promoter had prepared flyers advertising that Davis's
band would be performing at the Sports Bar on "Fight
Night." J.R. 64. According to Davis, on the night of the
Fight, a man he did not recognize came into the bar with a
laptop. While Kim was tending bar in a different room, the
man tried to pull up a boxing match on his computer and on a
projector in the bar "but his screen kept
freezing." J.R. 65. Having failed, the man left with his
computer a few minutes later. Davis asserts that no boxing
matches were actually shown at the Sports Bar that night.
Complaint, J&J alleges that, by exhibiting the Fight
without purchasing a commercial license, Defendants violated
the Communications Act and the Cable Act. J&J seeks
statutory damages, attorney's fees, and costs.
Motion, J&J seeks summary judgment under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56 on liability only. J&J argues that the
undisputed facts establish that Defendants are liable under
the Communications Act or the Cable Act.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the Court grants
summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In assessing the Motion, the Court
views the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, with all justifiable inferences drawn in its favor.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). The Court may rely only on facts supported in the
record, not simply assertions in the pleadings. Bouchat
v. Balt. Ravens Football Club, Inc.,346 F.3d 514, 522
(4th Cir. 2003). A fact is "material" if it
"might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at ...