United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Joe Hand Promotions, Inc.'s (Joe
Hand) Motion for Final Default Judgment (Doc. 10), filed on
May 22, 2019. For the reasons provided below, the Motion is
an anti-piracy case brought under the Federal Communications
Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605,
(FCA). Joe Hand markets and licenses closed-circuit,
pay-per-view prizefighting events to commercial
establishments. Doc. 11-2, Ex. B, Aff. Of Joe Hand, Jr. (Hand
Aff.) ¶ 4. Joe Hand purchased and retained the
commercial exhibition rights to the November 21, 2015
Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez broadcast, including
all undercard bouts and the main prizefight (hereinafter the
“Event”). Id. Thereafter, Joe Hand
marketed sub-licensing (commercial exhibition) rights for the
Event to its commercial customers, including casinos,
racetracks, bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, for a fee.
Id. To prevent unlicensed establishments from
exhibiting the Event without a license, the transmission was
electronically coded or “scrambled.” Doc. 10,
Mot. for Default J. ¶ 9(f). Establishments that had
bought the broadcast rights were authorized by Plaintiff to
receive the Event. Id. On November 21, 2015, Cynthia
Leech, d/b/a Linda's Lounge, broadcasted the Event at her
establishment, Linda's Lounge, without receiving the
contractual authorization from Joe Hand or paying the fee
required to do so. Id. ¶ 9(h).
November 19, 2018, Joe Hand filed its Complaint, alleging
that Defendant willfully violated the FCA for commercial
gain. Doc. 1, Pl.'s Original Compl. It asks for statutory
damages under the FCA, costs, attorney's fees, and
interest. Id. ¶ 17. Although Defendant was
served with process on December 10, 2018, she failed to
answer or otherwise respond by the appropriate deadline. Doc.
5, Summons Returned Executed. Accordingly, Joe Hand requested
an entry of default, which the Clerk of Court entered on
February 12, 2019. Doc. 8, Clerk's Entry of Default. On
May 22, 2019, Joe Hand moved for default judgment. Doc. 10,
Mot. for Default J. To date, Defendant has not made an
appearance in this case.
Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, federal
courts have the authority to enter a default judgment against
a defendant who has failed to plead or otherwise defend upon
motion of the plaintiff. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a)-(b). That being
said, “[d]efault judgments are a drastic remedy, not
favored by the Federal Rules and resorted to by courts only
in extreme situations.” Sun Bank of Ocala v.
Pelican Homestead & Sav. Ass'n, 874 F.2d 274,
276 (5th Cir. 1989). A party is not entitled to a default
judgment merely because the defendant is technically in
default. Ganther v. Ingle, 75 F.3d 207, 212 (5th
Cir. 1996). “Rather, a default judgment is generally
committed to the discretion of the district court.”
United States v. 1998 Freightliner Vin #:
1FUYCZYB3WP886986, 548 F.Supp.2d 381, 384 (W.D. Tex.
2008) (citing Mason v. Lister, 562 F.2d 343, 345
(5th Cir. 1977)).
determining whether a default judgment should be entered
against a defendant, courts have developed a three-part
analysis. See, e.g., 1998 Freightliner Vin #:
1FUYCZYB3WP886986, 548 F.Supp.2d at 384. First, courts
consider whether the entry of a default judgment is
procedurally warranted. See Lindsey v. Prive Corp.,
161 F.3d 886, 893 (5th Cir. 1998). The relevant factors
 whether material issues of fact exist;  whether there
has been substantial prejudice;  whether the grounds for
default are clearly established; [4 ]whether the default was
caused by a good faith mistake or excusable neglect;  the
harshness of a default judgment; and  whether the court
would think itself obliged to set aside the default on the
courts assess the substantive merits of the plaintiff's
claims and determine whether there is a sufficient basis in
the pleadings for the judgment. See Nishimatsu Constr.
Co., Ltd. v. Houston Nat'l Bank, 515 F.2d 1200, 1206
(5th Cir. 1975) (noting that “default is not treated as
an absolute confession by the defendant of his liability and
of the plaintiff's right to recover.”). In doing
this, courts should assume that, due to its default, the
defendant admits all well-pleaded facts in the
plaintiff's complaint. Id. But a
“defendant is not held to admit facts that are not-well
pleaded or to admit conclusions of law.” Id.
courts determine what form of relief, if any, the plaintiff
should receive. See, e.g., 1998 Freightliner Vin #:
1FUYCZYB3WP886986, 548 F.Supp.2d at 384. Normally,
courts should not award damages without a hearing, unless
detailed affidavits establish the necessary facts. See
United Artists Corp. v. Freeman, 605 F.2d 854, 857 (5th
Cir. 1979). But if the court can determine the amount of
damages with mathematical calculation, by referencing the
pleadings and supporting documents, a hearing is unnecessary.
James v. Frame, 6 F.3d 307, 310 (5th Cir. 1993).
this three-part analysis, the Court ultimately concludes that
a default judgment is (1) procedurally warranted; (2)
supported by a sufficient factual basis in Joe Hand's
Complaint; (3) and that, because the Court can determine the
amount of damages with mathematical calculation by
referencing information in the pleadings and supporting
documents, a hearing is unnecessary. See James, 6
F.3d at 310. Thus, as explained below, Joe Hand is entitled
to a default judgment against Defendant for her alleged FCA
violations in the amount of $20, 000 in statutory violations,
plus $2, 275 in attorney's fees and costs of court.
Whether An Entry of Default Judgment Is ...