United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
J&J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., as Broadcast Licensee of the September 13, 2014 "Mayhem" Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Marcos Rene Maidana Fight Program, Plaintiff,
TAQUERIAS ARANDINAS, INC. individually and d/b/a Taqueria Arandinas; IGNACIO SEVILLA individually and d/b/a Taquerias Arandinas; and RAYMUNDO HERNANDEZ individually and d/b/a Taqueria Arandinas, Defendants.
SPARKS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically Plaintiff J&J Sports
Productions, Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment [#18] and
Defendants Taqueria Arandinas, Inc. and Ignacio Sevilla
(collectively "Sevilla")'s Response [#20]
thereto, as well as Sevilla's Motion for Summary Judgment
[#19], Having reviewed the documents, the relevant law, and
the file as a whole, the Court now enters the following
opinion and orders.
markets and licenses commercial exhibitions of pay-per-view
prize fighting events. PL's Mot. Summ. J. [#18] at 6.
Defendant Sevilla is the sole shareholder of Taqueria
Arandinas, Inc., a Texas corporation that at one point owned
a restaurant called Taqueria Arandinas in Austin, Texas.
Resp. [#20] at 2. Since January 2009, Defendant Raymundo
Hernandez has been the sole proprietor of the Taqueria
Arandinas restaurant involved in this lawsuit. Id.
dispute in this case centers around the commercial exhibition
of a fight between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Marcos Rene
Maidana and related undercard bouts on September 13, 2014
(the "Event"). Under an agreement with the
Event's promoters, Plaintiff held exclusive rights to
exhibit the Event in Texas and to sublicense its exhibition
rights to commercial establishments throughout Texas.
PL's Mot. Summ. J. [#18] at 6. Accordingly, a commercial
establishment in Texas could legally exhibit the Event only
if it had obtained Plaintiffs authorization. Id. at
7; see also Id. [#18-l]Ex.A-latl.
transmission of the Event originated via a satellite feed.
Id. [#18] at 7. To ensure the Event could only be
shown by commercial establishments that had received
authorization from Plaintiff, the feed was electronically
coded, or "scrambled." Id. Commercial
establishments wanting to exhibit the Event were required to
pay Plaintiff a sublicensing fee for the Event based on the
establishment's capacity. Id. In return,
Plaintiff either provided the establishments with equipment
that could descramble the satellite feed or notified the
establishments' cable or satellite provider to descramble
the feed. Id.
night of the Event, an auditor entered Taqueria Arandinas at
approximately 10:00 p.m. Id. [#18-1] Ex. A-2. Upon
entering Taqueria Arandinas, the auditor observed the Event
being broadcast on five television screens to approximately
forty-five patrons. Id. An investigator hired by
Plaintiff also visited Taqueria Arandinas and recorded a
minute-long video showing the Event being broadcast on at
least one screen. Id. Ex. H. There is no evidence of an
agreement between Plaintiff and Defendants to exhibit the
Event at Taqueria Arandinas, and there is no evidence to
indicate any Defendant paid a licensing fee to Plaintiff to
exhibit the Event.
September 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed suit alleging Defendants
violated the Communications Act of 1934 by intercepting and
exhibiting the Event at Taqueria Arandinas without its
authorization. Compl. [#1]; see 47 U.S.C.
§§ 553, 605. Plaintiff now moves for summary
judgment on its § 605 claim. PL's Mot. Summ. J. [#18]
at 9-11. Sevilla also moves for summary judgment, contending
he did not own Taqueria Arandinas on the night of the Event.
See Sevilla's Mot. Summ. J. [#19] at 2. These
motions have been briefed and are ripe for review.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment shall be rendered when the pleadings, the discovery
and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show
that there is no genuine dispute 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, 323-25 (1986); Washburn v. Harvey, 504
F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir. 2007). A dispute regarding a material
fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict in favor of the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the court is required to view all inferences drawn
from the factual record in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Washburn, 504
F.3d at 508. Further, a court "may not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence" in ruling on a
motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000);
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254-55.
the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the party
opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary
judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine fact issue.
Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Mere conclusory
allegations are not competent summary judgment evidence, and
thus are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary
judgment. Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476
F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007). Unsubstantiated assertions,
improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are not
competent summary judgment evidence. Id. The party
opposing summary judgment is required to identify specific
evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner
in which that evidence supports his claim. Adams v.
Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn., 465 F.3d 156, 164 (5th
Cir. 2006). Rule 56 does not impose a duty on the court to
"sift through the record in search of evidence" to
support the nonmovant's opposition to the motion for
summary judgment. Id.
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing laws will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment." Anderson, 411 U.S. at 248.
Disputed fact issues that are "irrelevant and
unnecessary" will not be considered by a court in ruling
on a summary judgment motion. Id. If the nonmoving
party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to its case and on which it
will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must
be granted. Celotex, Ml U.S. at 322-23.