United States District Court, D. New Mexico
Shive Rio Rancho, New Mexico Plaintiff pro se
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTER comes before the Court on the Magistrate Judge's
Proposed Findings and Recommended Disposition, filed March 5,
2018 (Doc. 101)(“PFRD”). The Court has reviewed
the Honorable Jerry Ritter, United States Magistrate
Judge's PFRD, the parties have not objected to it, and
the Court concludes that the PFRD is not clearly erroneous,
arbitrary, obviously contrary to law, or an abuse of
discretion. The Court therefore adopts the PFRD and enters
judgment in Plaintiff James Shive's favor against
Defendant J&C Baseball Clubhouse, Inc.
28, 2017, the Clerk of the Court entered a default against
J&C Baseball. See Clerk's Entry of Default
at 1, filed June 28, 2017 (Doc. 76). On August 25, 2017, the
Honorable William P. Lynch, United States Magistrate Judge,
recommended that the Court enter default judgment against
J&C Baseball. See Second Proposed Findings and
Recommended Disposition at 8, filed August 25, 2017 (Doc.
79). The Court adopted Magistrate Judge Lynch's
recommendation. See Memorandum Opinion and Order
Adopting the Magistrate Judge's Proposed Findings and
Recommended Disposition, and Setting this Matter for a
Damages Hearing at 16, filed October 12, 2017 (Doc.
82)(“MOO”). The Court concurrently referred this
case to Magistrate Judge Ritter to conduct a jury trial on
the question of damages. See MOO at 16. J&C
Baseball did not retain counsel or otherwise enter an
appearance in this case.
Judge Ritter held a jury trial on February 22, 2018.
See Clerk's Minutes Jury Trial Before Magistrate
Judge Jerry Ritter at 1, filed February 22, 2018 (Doc.
95)(“Clerk's Minutes”). The jury returned a
verdict in Shive's favor for $36, 500.00 in compensatory
damages and $150, 000.00 in statutory damages. See
Verdict Form at 1, filed February 22, 2018 (Doc. 99). Shive
elected to recover the statutory damages that the jury
awarded. See Clerk's Minutes at 3.
March 5, 2018, Magistrate Judge Ritter entered his PFRD, in
which he recommends that the Court adopt the jury's award
of statutory damages and enter judgment in Shive's favor
for the amount of $150, 000.00. See PFRD at 4.
Magistrate Judge Ritter further recommends that Shive be
permitted to seek attorney fees and costs following the entry
of judgment as 17 U.S.C. § 505 and applicable law
provide, as well as post-judgment interest as 28 U.S.C.
§ 1961 provides. See PFRD at 4-5. J&C
Baseball never appeared or objected to the PFRD.
REGARDING JURY TRIALS
Seventh Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of
America provides that,
[i]n Suits at common law, where the value in controversy
shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall
be preserved and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise
reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according
to the rules of the common law.
U.S. Const. amend. VII. Accordingly, a trial court must defer
to the jury's fact-finding function, which encompasses
the amount of compensatory damages and statutory damages in a
copyright infringement case. See Feltner v. Columbia
Pictures Television, Inc., 523 U.S. 340, 353
(1998)(“The right to a jury trial includes the right to
have a jury determine the amount of statutory
damages, if any, awarded to the copyright
owner.”)(emphasis in original). “[A]bsent an
award so excessive or inadequate as to shock the judicial
conscience and raise an irresistible inference that passion,
prejudice or another improper cause invaded the trial, the
jury's determination of the amount of damages is
inviolate.” Dodoo v. Seagate Tech., Inc., 235
F.3d 522, 531 (10th Cir. 2000). This rule exists because
“a jury's damages award is highly specific to the
facts and circumstances of the case.” Evans v.
Fogarty, 241 Fed.Appx. 542, 562 (10th Cir.
REGARDING OBJECTIONS TO PROPOSED FINDINGS AND
courts may refer dispositive matters to a Magistrate Judge
for a recommended disposition. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b)(1)(“A magistrate judge must promptly conduct the
required proceedings when assigned, without the parties'
consent, to hear a pretrial matter dispositive of a claim or
defense . . . .”). Rule 72(b)(2) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure governs objections: “Within 14 days
after being served with a copy of the recommended
disposition, a party may serve and file specific written
objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(2). Finally, when
resolving objections to a Magistrate Judge's proposal,
“[t]he district judge must determine de novo any part
of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been
properly objected to. The district judge may accept, reject,
or modify the recommended disposition; receive further
evidence; or return the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Similarly, 28
U.S.C. § 636 provides:
A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report or specified proposed findings
or recommendations to which objection is made. A judge of the
court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge. The
judge may also receive ...