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J & J Sports Productions, Inc. v. Garcia

United States District Court, D. Oregon

February 28, 2018

J&J SPORTS PRODUCTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
ELIZABETH SONIA GARCIA; JOSE DE JESUS ANGULO GUZMAN; and EL AGAVE GRILL RESTAURANT, LLC, an Oregon limited liability company, Defendants.

          FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOLIE A. RUSSO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Defendants Elizabeth Sonia Garcia, Jose de Jesus Angulo Guzman, and El Agave Grill Restaurant, LLC (“El Agave”) move for summary judgment on plaintiff J & J Sports Productions, Inc.'s claims pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. Oral argument was held on February 9, 2018. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion should be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On April 23, 2015, plaintiff obtained the exclusive nationwide commercial rights to distribute “‘The Fight of the Century' Floyd Maywether Jr. v. Manny Pacquiano Championship Fight” (“the program”). Compl. ¶ 22 (doc. 1). Plaintiff then entered into sublicensing agreements with various entities granting those entities certain rights in relation to the program. Id. at ¶ 23. One of those entities was Dish Network, LLC (“Dish”), a satellite television service provider. J & J Sports Prods., Inc. v. Garcia, No. 6:17-cv-00673-JR, 2017 WL 6887098, at *2 (D. Or. Dec. 6, 2017), adopted by 2018 WL 358503 (D. Or. Jan. 10, 2018).

         At some unspecified time, Guzman entered into a contract with Dish pursuant to which Dish would provide residential television services. Id.; Garcia Decl. ¶ 2 (doc. 34-5). Dish technicians installed its equipment at El Agave, a restaurant located in Woodburn, Oregon, and defendants paid Dish for its services out of a business account. Garcia Decl. ¶¶ Defendants assert Dish never informed them that they were using the wrong type of account for a restaurant. Id. In essence, defendants maintain they did not intend to use a residential Dish account instead of a business account. Id.

         On May 2, 2015, El Agave displayed the program, which they purchased using Guzman's residential Dish account. Id. at ¶ 3; Compl. ¶ 25 (doc. 1). Defendants did not advertise that El Agave would show the program or charge for admission. Garcia Decl. ¶ 4 (doc. 34-5).

         On April 28, 2017, plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court against defendants alleging federal claims pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 553 and 47 U.S.C. § 605, as well as trespass to chattel under Oregon law. On August 17, 2017, defendants filed a third-party complaint against Dish, asserting several Oregon common law claims premised on the theory that Dish was negligent in setting up El Agave's television account and should therefore be liable for any alleged violation of plaintiff's rights. Third-party Compl. ¶¶ 12-31, 35-42 (doc. 24). On October 16, 2017, Dish moved to dismiss defendants' third-party claims. On November 17, 2017, defendants filed the present motion for summary judgment. On January 10, 2018, this Court granted Dish's motion and defendants subsequently dismissed their claims against Dish. See generally J & J Sports, 2017 WL 6887098.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits, and admissions on file, if any, show “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P 56(a). Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a fact. T.W. Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). Whether the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity of the dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

         Special rules of construction apply when evaluating a summary judgment motion: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of material fact should be resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec., 809 F.2d at 630.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Preliminary Matters

         Before reaching the merits of defendants' motion, the Court must resolve the parties' conferral dispute and plaintiff's evidentiary objections.

         A. Certificat ...


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