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Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Glory Days Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

June 13, 2018

JOE HAND PROMOTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
GLORY DAYS ENTERPRISES, INC. et al., Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          GRAY M. BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this case was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration and disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters as may be appropriate. Doc. 15. Pending before the court is Plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions, Inc.'s Motion for Entry of Default Judgment against Defendant Malcolm Phaneuf, individually and as an officer, director, shareholder and principal of Glory Days Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Glory Days Two and against Glory Days Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Glory Days Two. Doc. 31.

         For the reasons stated herein, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that the Motion for Entry of Default Judgment be GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Joe Hand Promotions filed a complaint in this case for violations of the federal Communications Act, specifically 47 U.S.C. § 553 and 47 U.S.C. § 605. Joe Hand Promotions alleges that Glory Days Enterprises and Malcolm Phaneuf violated those statutes by willfully intercepting or receiving interstate communication of Ultimate Fighting Championship® 187: Johnson v. Cormier and Ultimate Fighting Championship® 190: Rousey v. Correria and publishing those programs to patrons at Glory Days Two, an establishment operated by the defendants.

         A summons was served on Phaneuf in Phenix City, Alabama on March 4, 2017. Doc. 26. A summons was served on Glory Days Enterprises through Phaneuf in Phenix City, Alabama, also on March 4, 2017. Doc. 27. The record reflects that the return receipt was filed with the court. After the Defendants failed to submit a responsive pleading or otherwise appear, on September 13, 2017, Joe Hand Promotions filed an application with the Clerk of Court for an Entry of Default. On September 22, 2017, the Clerk of Court entered a default against Glory Days Enterprises, Inc. d/b/a Glory Days Two and Malcolm Phaneuf. Doc. 28.

         Joe Hand Promotions filed a Motion for Default Judgment with accompanying documents on October 2, 2017. The motion was denied with leave to re-file due to several deficiencies in the motion and supporting documents. Doc. 30. The instant motion was filed on March 6, 2018 with corrected documentation in support.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under Rule 55(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court may enter a default judgment against a defendant who was properly served and who has failed to defend or appear. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2); see also Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace Found., 789 F.3d 1239, 1244 (11th Cir. 2015). When a default judgment is entered, the court accepts all of the complaint's factual allegations as true. See, e.g., Cohan v. Sparkle Two, LLC, 309 F.R.D. 665, 666 (M.D. Fla. 2015). However, “[w]hile a defaulted defendant is deemed to admit the plaintiff's well-pleaded allegations of fact, he is not held to admit facts that are not well-pleaded or to admit conclusions of law.” Surtain, 789 F.3d at 1245 (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, the court may only enter a default judgment if the complaint's factual allegations “provide a sufficient legal basis for entry of a default judgment.” Cohan, 309 F.R.D. at 666.

         In the Eleventh Circuit, this standard is akin to the standard applied in a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Surtain, 789 F.3d at 1245. Therefore, the court must determine whether the complaint “‘contain[s] sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)) (internal quotation marks omitted). “This plausibility standard is met ‘when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'” Surtain, 789 F.3d at 1245 (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 662). The Eleventh Circuit has cautioned, however, that “there is a strong policy of determining cases on their merits, ” and default judgments are therefore viewed with “disfavor.” In re Worldwide Web Sys., Inc., 328 F.3d 1291, 1295 (11th Cir. 2003).

         Once the court is satisfied that a default judgment is warranted, the court “turns to the terms of the judgment.” Cohan, 309 F.R.D. at 667. “A default judgment must not differ in kind from, or exceed in amount, what is demanded in the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(c). Under Rule 55, the court may conduct hearings or make referrals to determine the amount of damages and establish the truth of any factual allegation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b)(2). “Thus, in order to enter a default judgment, the Court must find that an adequate showing has been made as to liability and the kind or amount of damages or other relief.” Cohan, 309 F.R.D. at 667.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants were properly served and failed to defend or appear, so the court turns to the analysis for considering a default judgment, specifically: (1) jurisdiction, (2) liability, and (3) damages. See Pitts v. Seneca Sports, Inc., 321 F.Supp.2d 1353, 1356 (S.D. Ga. 2004). This court has subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The remaining considerations of liability and damages are discussed below.

         A. ...


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