Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. v. Hayes

United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina

September 6, 2019

JOE HAND PROMOTIONS, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
DANNY L. HAYES, JR., individually, and as an officer, director, shareholder, member and/or principal of THE HOUSE OF FISH, INC. d/b/a The House of Fish, and THE HOUSE OF FISH, INC. d/b/a The House of Fish, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LORETTA C. BIGGS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, Joe Hand Promotions, Inc. (“JHP”), brings this action against Defendants, Danny L. Hayes, Jr. and The House of Fish, Inc. (“Defendants”) for alleged violations of 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605 (cable and satellite piracy), as well as 17 U.S.C. §§ 106 and 501 (copyright infringement). (ECF No. 12.) Defendants counterclaim for a declaratory judgment that 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605 are unconstitutional. (ECF No. 13 at 4, 6-7.) Before the Court is JHP's Motion to Dismiss Defendants' Counterclaim pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and, implicitly, 12(b)(1)[1] of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF Nos. 15, 17.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant JHP's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         As alleged in its Amended Complaint, JHP was “granted the exclusive right to commercially distribute the audiovisual presentation of the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Conor McGregor boxing match” (the “Program”), which was telecast nationwide on August 26, 2017. (ECF No. 12 ¶¶ 5, 10.) After obtaining distribution rights, JHP sublicensed the Program for exhibition to thousands of commercial establishments in exchange for licensing fees. (Id. ¶ 10.) Even though the Program was available for licensing, JHP alleges that Defendants “chose not to contract with [JHP] and pay the proper commercial license fee.” (Id. ¶ 11.) Instead, JHP alleges that Defendants “unlawfully obtained the Program through an unauthorized cable signal, satellite signal, and/or internet stream” and “charged patrons $15.00 to enter and view the Program” at their business establishment, The House of Fish. (Id. ¶¶ 11, 16.)

         JHP filed suit in June of 2018, alleging violations of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605, which prohibit cable and satellite piracy, as well as the Copyright Act of the United States, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. (ECF No. 12 ¶¶ 19-26.) In response, Defendants answered and counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that 47 U.S.C. §§ 553 and 605 are unconstitutional. (ECF No. 13 at 4, 6-7.) Specifically, Defendants allege that these provisions violate the “First and Fifth Amendments, in that the statutes are penal and punitive in nature, are void for vagueness, are overbroad, and violate the fundamentals of due process, including, but not limited to, the lack of sufficient notice to Defendants and lack of guidance for enforcement.” (Id. at 6.) Defendants further contend that the statutes are “ambiguous” and, therefore, also seek “a declaration of the exact terms and meaning of the statutes” so that they may better understand their “rights and duties” and conform their conduct to the law. (Id. at 7.)

         JHP now moves to dismiss Defendants' counterclaim pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (See ECF Nos. 15, 17.)

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         A. Rule 12(b)(1)

         Under Rule 12(b)(1), a party may seek dismissal based on the court's “lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). A motion under Rule 12(b)(1) raises the question of “whether [the claimant] has a right to be in the district court at all and whether the court has the power to hear and dispose of [the] claim.” Holloway v. Pagan River Dockside Seafood, Inc., 669 F.3d 448, 452 (4th Cir. 2012). Under Article III of the United States Constitution, the jurisdiction of a federal court is limited to cases and controversies, which implicates certain doctrines, including standing. See U.S. Const. art. III, § 2; Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, 573 U.S. 149, 157 n.5 (2014). A court's jurisdiction is likewise limited to cases and controversies when considering actions for declaratory relief. Aetna Life Ins. Co. v. Haworth, 300 U.S. 227, 240 (1937).

         The burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction is on the plaintiff. Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999). However, when evaluating a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, the court should grant the motion “only if the material jurisdictional facts are not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a matter of law.” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991).

         B. Rule 12(b)(6)

         A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure “challenges the legal sufficiency of a complaint, ” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009); “it does not resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992).

         “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint may fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted in two ways: first, by failing to state a valid legal cause of action, i.e., a cognizable claim, see Holloway, 669 F.3d at 452; or second, by failing to allege sufficient facts to support a legal cause of action, see Painter's Mill Grille, LLC v. Brown, 716 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2013). Finally, in evaluating whether a claim is stated, “[the] court accepts all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, ” but need not accept “legal conclusions, elements of a cause of action, . . . bare assertions devoid of further factual enhancement[, ] . . . unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc., 591 F.3d 250, 255 (4th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.