South Bend, Ind. — Intellectual property lawyers for J & J Sports Productions, Inc. of Campbell, Calif. sued Juan M. Aguirre (“Aguirre”) and Mi Pueblo V Mexican Restaurant of Wabash, Ind. (“Mi Pueblo”) alleging the illegal interception and display of a pay-per-view championship fight.
J & J Sports, the exclusive domestic commercial distributor of Ultimate Fighting Championship 131: Junior Dos Santos v. Shane Carwin, (the “program”) has sued Mi Pueblo and Aguirre, an officer of the restaurant, under the Communications Act of 1934 and The Cable & Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992.
The defendants have been accused of violating 47 U.S.C. § 605 and 47 U.S.C. § 553 by displaying the program on June 11, 2011 without a commercial license. Regarding the claim under 47 U.S.C. § 605, the complaint alleges that with “full knowledge that the Program was not to be intercepted, received, published, divulged, displayed, and/or exhibited by commercial entities unauthorized to do so, each and every one of the above named Defendants . . . did unlawfully intercept, receive, publish, divulge, display, and/or exhibit the Program” for the purpose of commercial advantage and/or private financial gain. The allegation of interception under 47 U.S.C. § 605 is a different cause of action from copyright infringement. That claim has a two-year statute of limitations, which explains why the complaints were filed on June 11, 2013.
A count of conversion is also included which asserts that the acts of the Mi Pueblo and Aguirre were “willful, malicious, egregious, and intentionally designed to harm Plaintiff J & J Sports” and that, as a result of being deprived of their commercial license fee, J & J Sports suffered “severe economic distress and great financial loss.”
The complaint seeks statutory damages of $100,000 for each violation of 47 U.S.C. § 605; $10,000 for each violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553; $50,000 for each willful violation of 47 U.S.C. § 553; costs and attorney fees.
Practice Tip #1: The body of the complaint listed a second individual defendant, Loida Chavarria, in paragraph 10 but she was not listed in the caption as a party. The reason for this disparity was unclear from reading the complaint itself. However, a review of another recent complaint filed by this attorney on behalf of J & J Sports (see here), in which J & J Sports sued an Indianapolis night club with nearly identical allegations, reveals that Ms. Chavarria was listed there, in paragraph 10, as a defendant. It appears that J & J Sports, which filed 708 lawsuits in 2011, neglected to remove her from a complaint template that had previously been filled in with a different set of defendants.
Practice Tip #2: This lawsuit was filed on the two-year anniversary of the program that the defendants are alleged to have illegally broadcast. When Congress passed the Cable Communication Act, a statute of limitations was not included. Some federal courts have determined that a two-year statute of limitation is appropriate while other federal courts have used a three-year statute of limitations.
Overhauser Law Offices, the publisher of this website, has represented several hundred persons and businesses accused of infringing satellite signals.