United States District Court, D. Colorado
A. BRIMMER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on plaintiff's Notice of
Motion and Motion for Default Judgment [Docket No. 18].
of the Clerk of Court's entry of default, Docket No. 17,
the allegations in plaintiff's complaint, Docket No. 1,
are deemed admitted. Olcott v. Del. Flood Co., 327
F.3d 1115, 1125 (10th Cir. 2003). This case concerns
defendants' unauthorized broadcast of Ultimate
Fighting Championship® 205: Alvarez v. McGregor (the
“Program”) at the Purple Pig Pub in Alamosa,
Colorado on November 12, 2016. Docket No. 1 at 1, 3,
¶¶ 1, 2, 11-12. Plaintiff possessed the exclusive
right to license and distribute the Program to commercial
establishments. Id. at 3, ¶ 8. Without
obtaining permission from plaintiff, defendants, “[b]y
unauthorized satellite transmission or . . . unauthorized
receipt over a cable system . . . willfully intercepted or
received the interstate communication of the Program”
and unlawfully exhibited it to patrons at the Purple Pig Pub.
Id., ¶¶ 11-12.
filed this lawsuit on April 28, 2017 asserting claims for
satellite and/or cable piracy in violation of 47 U.S.C.
§§ 553 and 605. Id. at 4. After defendants
failed to respond to the complaint or otherwise appear in the
action, plaintiff moved for entry of default. Docket No. 16.
The Clerk of the Court entered default against defendants on
July 24, 2017. Docket No. 17. On December 6, 2017, plaintiff
filed a motion for default judgment. Docket No. 18.
order to obtain a judgment by default, a party must follow
the two-step process described in Fed.R.Civ.P. 55. First, the
party must seek an entry of default from the Clerk of the
Court under Rule 55(a). Second, after default has been
entered by the Clerk, the party must seek judgment under the
strictures of Rule 55(b). See Williams v. Smithson,
57 F.3d 1081, 1995 WL 365988, at *1 (10th Cir. June 20, 1995)
(unpublished table decision) (citing Meehan v. Snow,
652 F.2d 274, 276 (2d Cir. 1981)).
decision to enter default judgment is “committed to the
district court's sound discretion.”
Olcott, 327 F.3d at 1124 (citation omitted). In
exercising that discretion, the Court considers that
“[s]trong policies favor resolution of disputes on
their merits.” Ruplinger v. Rains, 946 F.2d
731, 732 (10th Cir. 1991) (quotation and citations omitted).
“The default judgment must normally be viewed as
available only when the adversary process has been halted
because of an essentially unresponsive party.”
Id. It serves to protect plaintiffs against
“interminable delay and continued uncertainty as to his
rights.” Id. at 733. When “ruling on a
motion for default judgment, the court may rely on detailed
affidavits or documentary evidence to determine the
appropriate sum for the default judgment.” Seme v.
E&H Prof'l Sec. Co., Inc., No.
08-cv-01569-RPM-KMT, 2010 WL 1553786, at *11 (D. Colo. Mar.
may not simply sit out the litigation without consequence.
See Cessna Fin. Corp. v. Bielenberg Masonry Contracting,
Inc., 715 F.2d 1442, 1444-45 (10th Cir. 1983)
(“[A] workable system of justice requires that
litigants not be free to appear at their pleasure. We
therefore must hold parties and their attorneys to a
reasonably high standard of diligence in observing the
courts' rules of procedure. The threat of judgment by
default serves as an incentive to meet this standard”).
One such consequence is that, upon the entry of default
against a defendant, the well-pleaded allegations in the
complaint are deemed admitted. See Charles Wright,
Arthur Miller & Mary Kane, Fed. Prac. & Proc. §
2688 (3d ed. 2010). “Even after default, however, it
remains for the court to consider whether the unchallenged
facts constitute a legitimate cause of action, since a party
in default does not admit mere conclusions of law.”
Id. at 63. A court need not accept conclusory
allegations. Moffett v. Halliburton Energy Servs.,
Inc. 291 F.3d 1227, 1232 (10th Cir. 2002). Although
“[s]pecific facts are not necessary” in order to
state a claim, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93
(2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)), the well-pleaded
facts must “permit the court to infer more than the
mere possibility of misconduct.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (internal quotation and
alteration marks omitted). Thus, even though modern rules of
pleading are somewhat forgiving, “a complaint still
must contain either direct or inferential allegations
respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a
recovery under some viable legal theory.” Bryson v.
Gonzales, 534 F.3d 1282, 1286 (10th Cir. 2008)
(quotation and citation omitted).
addressing the merits of plaintiff's motion for default
judgment, the Court must determine whether it has subject
matter and personal jurisdiction over this case. See
Dennis Garberg & Assocs., Inc. v. Pack-Tech Int'l
Corp., 115 F.3d 767, 772 (10th Cir. 1997) (holding that
“a district court must determine whether it has
jurisdiction over the defendant before entering judgment by
default against a party who has not appeared in the
case”). The Court finds that it has subject matter
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 because
plaintiff asserts claims under a federal statute.
Additionally, the Court may exercise personal jurisdiction
over defendants because defendants operate the Purple Pig Pub
in Alamosa, Colorado and the alleged statutory violation took
place in Colorado.
Violations of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and
asserts violations of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605.
Section 553 provides that “[n]o person shall intercept
or receive or assist in intercepting or receiving any
communications service offered over a cable system, unless
specifically authorized to do so by a cable operator or as
may otherwise be ...