United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. Miller, United States District Judge.
before the court is plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions, Inc.'s
(“Joe Hand”) motion for summary judgment. Dkt.
20. Defendants Izalco, Inc., David Aguiluz, and Teodoro
Aguiluz (“Defendants”) did not respond. Having
considered the motion, the record evidence, and the
applicable law, the court is of the opinion that the motion
should be GRANTED.
case involves the exhibition of Ultimate Fighting
Championship 168: Wiedman v. Silva 2 (“UFC
168”). Dkt. 1. On December 28, 2013, Defendants
broadcasted UFC 168 at Republica Sports Bar & Grill
(“Republica”) in Houston, Texas. Dkt. 20 at 6.
Joe Hand bought the exclusive commercial exhibition rights to
UFC 168. Dkt. 21-2 at 2. To exhibit UFC 168, a commercial
establishment needed to obtain a valid license agreement with
and pay a licensing fee to Joe Hand. Id. at 2, 3.
December 28, 2013, Izalco conducted business as Republica.
Dkt. 21-1 at 7; Dkt. 22-1 at 2. David and Teodoro Aguiluz
owned and operated the restaurant. Dkt. 22-1 at 7, 12.
Without obtaining a valid license or paying a licensing fee,
Defendants broadcasted UFC 168 at Republica. Id. at
3, 8, 13.
Hand sued Defendants alleging that they violated the Federal
Communications Act of 1934, 47 U.S.C. §§
or 605 (“FCA”), by unlawfully
intercepting the interstate communication of UFC 168 and
exhibiting it to Republica patrons without paying the
required fee. Dkt. 1.
1, 2017, Joe Hand served Defendants with requests for
admissions. Dkt. 22-1. Defendants failed to respond. In the
instant motion, Joe Hand asks the court to grant summary
judgment on its § 605 claim. Dkt. 20. Joe Hand seeks
statutory damages, additional damages, attorneys' fees,
costs of court, and post-judgment interest. Id.
shall grant summary judgment when a “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). “[A] fact is genuinely in dispute
only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Fordoche, Inc. v. Texaco,
Inc., 463 F.3d 388, 392 (5th Cir. 2006). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986). If
the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the
non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing a
genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The court must
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-movant and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of
the non-movant. Envtl. Conservation Org. v. City of
Dallas, 529 F.3d 519, 524 (5th Cir. 2008).
Liability Under § 605
Hand has a private right of action to obtain statutory
damages under § 605 because it had proprietary rights to
exhibit UFC 168. See 47 U.S.C. § 605(d)(6),
(e)(3)(C)(ii). Section 605 is a strict liability statute and
only applies to unauthorized interceptions of signals through
radio or satellite. Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. 152
Bronx, L.P., 11 F.Supp.3d 747, 753 (S.D. Tex. March 26,
2014); see also J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Mandell
Family Ventures, L.L.C., 751 F.3d 346, 351 (5th Cir.
2014). To establish liability under § 605, Joe Hand must
show that (1) UFC 168 was exhibited at Republica and (2) that
Joe Hand did not authorize that particular exhibition.
J&J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Little Napoli, Inc.,
No. H-13-1237, 2014 WL 3667903, at *2 (S.D. Tex. July 22,
2014); Joe Hand Promotions, Inc., v. Lee, No.
H-11-2904, 2012 WL 1909348, at *3 (S.D. Tex. May 24, 2012).
date, Defendants have not responded to Joe Hand's
requests for admissions. Thus, the admissions will be deemed
admitted as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 36(a)(3); see
also Hulsey v. Texas, 929 F.2d 168, 171 (5th Cir. 2008)
(“[A] matter in a request for admissions is admitted
unless the party to whom the request is directed answers or
objects to the matter within 30 days.”). Thus, Izalco
admits that it intercepted and exhibited UFC 168 at
Republica. Dkt. 22-1 at 3, 8, 13. Izalco also admits that it
was unauthorized to exhibit UFC 168. Id. Therefore,
because UFC 168 was exhibited at Republica without Joe
Hand's authorization, Izalco is liable under § 605.
have also interpreted § 605 to hold an individual liable
if the individual had: (1) the right and ability to supervise
the unauthorized activities of the establishment in those
activities and (2) a direct financial interest in those
activities. Little Napoli, Inc., 2014 WL 3667903, at
*2. Here, David and Teodoro Aguiluz admit that they had a
right and the ability to supervise the exhibition of UFC 168
at Republica. Dkt. 22-1 at 7, 12. Both also admit to having a
financial interest in the exhibition. Id. Therefore,