United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, L.L.C., ET AL.
DOE-188.8.131.52, ET AL.
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the Motion for Default Judgment
(Doc. 34) filed by Plaintiffs Dallas Buyers Club,
LLC and Glacier Films (USA), Inc., in which
Plaintiffs seek a default judgment against Defendant Jeffery
Johnson. Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1331. For the following reasons, the Motion
for Default Judgement (Doc. 34) is
allege that Defendant unlawfully reproduced and distributed
their copyrighted movies-Dallas Buyers Club and American
Heist-over 250 times, using a peer-to-peer file transfer
program called BitTorrent. (Doc 27. at ¶¶ 8, 18,
44). Plaintiffs sued Defendant for copyright infringement
under 17 U.S.C. § 106. Id. at ¶ 53.
Plaintiffs seek statutory damages, attorney's fees, and
costs under § 504 and § 505. Id. at ¶
58. Plaintiffs also seek an injunction barring Defendant
from, among other things, infringing Plaintiffs' rights,
and from using BitTorrent to distribute any content in
violation of U.S. copyright law. Id. at p. 15.
Clerk of Court entered a default on December 5, 2016. (Doc.
32). Plaintiffs then filed the pending Motion for Default
Judgment. (Doc. 34).
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has
adopted a three step process to obtain a default judgment.
See New York Life Ins. Co. v. Brown, 84 F.3d 137,
141 (5th Cir. 1996). First, a default occurs when a party
"has failed to plead or otherwise defend" against
an action. Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(a). Next, an entry of default must
be entered by the clerk when the default is shown "by
affidavit or otherwise." See id.; New York
Life, 84 F.3d at 141. Third, a party may apply to the
court for a default judgment after an entry of default.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 55(b); New York Life, 84 F.3dat 141.
party files for a default judgment, courts must apply a
two-part process to determine whether a default judgment
should be entered. First, a court must consider whether the
entry of default judgment is appropriate under the
circumstances. Lindsey v. Prive Corp., 161 F.3d 886,
893 (5th Cir. 1998). Several factors are relevant to this
inquiry, including: (1) whether there are material issues of
fact at issue, (2) whether there has been substantial
prejudice, (3) whether the grounds for default have been
clearly established, (4) whether the default was caused by
excusable neglect or good faith mistake, (5) the harshness of
the default judgment, and (6) whether the court would think
itself obliged to set aside the default on a motion by
the Court must assess the merits of the plaintiffs claims and
determine whether the plaintiff has a claim for relief.
Nishimatsu Constr. Co. v. Houston Nat'l Bank,
515 F.2d 1200, 1206 (5th Cir. 1975); Hamdan v. Tiger
Bros. Food Mart, Inc., No. CV 15-00412, 2016 WL 1192679,
at *2 (M.D. La. Mar. 22, 2016).
Default Judgment is Appropriate under the Lindsey
Court must first decide whether the entry of default judgment
is appropriate under the circumstances, by considering the
Lindsey factors. First, there are no material facts
in dispute because Defendant failed to file an Answer or
motion under Rule 12. Second, it is undisputed that Defendant
has not responded to any of Plaintiffs attempts to contact
him. Third, the grounds for granting a default judgment
against the Defendant are clearly established, as evidenced
by the action's procedural history and the Clerk's
entry of default. Fourth, the Court has no basis to find that
Defendant's failure to respond was the result of a good
faith mistake or excusable neglect because the Defendant has
failed to respond to Plaintiffs or to the Court. Fifth,
Defendant's failure to file any responsive pleading or
motion mitigates the harshness of a default judgment.
Finally, the Court is not aware of any facts that would lead
it to set aside the default judgment if challenged by the
Defendant. The Court therefore finds that the six
Lindsey factors weigh in favor of default.
Sufficiency of the Pleadings
Court must also determine whether Plaintiffs' pleadings
provide a sufficient basis for a default judgement.
Plaintiffs sued Defendant for copyright infringement under 17
U.S.C. § 106. A plaintiff must establish two elements
for a valid copyright infringement claim: "(1) ownership
of a valid copyright, and (2) the copying of constituent
elements of the work that are original." BWP Media
USA, Inc. v. T & S Software Assocs., Inc., 852 F.3d
436, 439 (5th Cir. 2017) (quoting Fiest Publ'ns, Inc.
v. Rural Tel, Serv., Co.,499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991)). A
claimant must also show volitional conduct in direct
copyright-infringement cases. See BWP Media, 852
F.3d at 444. Reproducing or distributing copies of