PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge has awarded a sports production company $2,200 in statutory damages, but denied its request for enhanced damages in case against a club that illegally broadcasted a Floyd Mayweather fight.
In an April 12 decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Barclay Surrick, who was on the bench for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, ruled in favor of the J&J Sports Productions Inc., granting it $2,200 in statutory damages from LaRose Club Inc. The production company had requested $7,300 in statutory damages and $30,000 in enhanced statutory damages.
“[The] plaintiff has provided no evidence to establish that LaRose Club Inc. profited in any way from the broadcast of the Floyd Mayweather program,” Surrick wrote in the opinion.
Surrick decided to award $2,200 instead of $7,300 because "this is the amount that [the] plaintiff would have been paid had the program been legally broadcasted,” according the decision.
The production company had claimed that LaRose Club, located in the Germantown area of Philadelphia, and Wynne LaRose, one of its officers, violated federal law when it “intercepted and published” its program “Floyd Mayweather Jr. v. Saul Alvarez WBC Light Middleweight Championship Fight.” The fight was broadcast nationwide in September 2013, and J&J Sports Productions Inc had been “granted the exclusive commercial distribution rights" to the fight.
Commercial establishments that wanted to broadcast the fight were given the option to pay J&J Productions a commercial sublicense fee, which would have been $2,200. On Sept. 15, 2013, an auditor retained by the company observed the program being shown by the club’s manager at the time, Kim Ryan, who had organized a private event. Ryan received all proceeds from the event, which included a $10 cover charge.
Surrick wrote in the decision that the attendees of the private event were Ryan’s guests and not “patrons of the club.” He also noted that LaRose Catering didn’t sell any food or beverages during the broadcast. Ryan supposedly told Wynn LaRose’s husband, Chenet Larose, that the program “was properly included” in the club’s cable subscription. But Wynne LaRose said she wasn’t informed that the program would be broadcast.
J&J Sports Productions, which has filed over 75 similar cases in the district, sued LaRose Club in August 2015.