United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING IN PART PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
ROBERT S. LASNIK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on plaintiff's
“Motion for Rule 12(c) Judgment on the
Pleadings.” Dkt. # 85. “Judgment on the pleadings
is proper when the moving party clearly establishes on the
face of the pleadings that no material issue of fact remains
to be resolved and that it is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Hal Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard
Feiner and Co., Inc., 896 F.2d 1542, 1550 (9th Cir.
1990). The standard applied on a Rule 12(c) motion is
essentially the same as that applied on a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion for failure to state a claim: “the allegations
of the non-moving party must be accepted as true, while the
allegations of the moving party which have been denied are
assumed to be false.” Id. The Court is not
required to accept as true legal conclusions or formulaic
recitations of the elements of a cause of action unsupported
by alleged facts. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). When considering a motion for judgment on the
pleadings, a court may consider material which is properly
submitted as part of the complaint without converting the
motion into a motion for summary judgment. See Lee v.
City of Los Angeles, 250 F.3d 668, 688 (9th Cir. 2001).
reviewed the memoranda, declarations, and exhibits submitted
by the parties,  the Court finds as follows:
asserts copyright infringement claims against defendant Brian
Wilson based on the following allegations:
Upon information and belief, each Defendant copied and
distributed Plaintiff's copyrighted motion picture
Queen of the Desert.
. . .
ISP Comcast assigned the IP address 184.108.40.206 to Doe 2,
Judy Rushing . . . ., for a period of time, including but not
limited to 2016-02-2115:34:47 UTC, and Defendant's IP
address was observed infringing Plaintiff's motion
picture at that time. Rushing has identified Defendant Brian
Wilson, an adult son residing at the residence and with
access to the IP address during the relevant period of time,
as the party admitting to and responsible for the
infringement. On information and belief, Defendant resides at
the noted location. (See Dkt. 27 ¶ 53)
Dkt. # 72 at ¶ 10 and ¶ 18. Plaintiff seeks
judgment on the pleadings, arguing that these allegations are
deemed admitted and establish copyright infringement.
regards to the general allegation of copying and distribution
of Queen of the Desert, defendant Wilson claimed a
lack of information and denied the allegations under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(b)(5). Dkt. # 81 at ¶ 5. He also denied
the more specific factual allegations in paragraphs 20-25 of
the Second Amended Complaint, again claiming insufficient
knowledge to form a belief about their truth. Dkt. # 81 at
¶¶ 7-8. As for the allegations regarding what Judy
Rushing said about defendant, the failure to deny the
allegations is deemed an admission that (a) Judy Rushing
identified defendant as the infringer and (b) Judy Rushing
stated that defendant had admitted the infringement. Proof of
what Judy Rushing said does not establish that defendant, in
fact, infringed or admitted infringement. Plaintiff has not
shown that it is entitled to a declaration of infringement
based on the pleadings.
is, however, entitled to judgment on defendant's
counterclaims. Defendant alleges that any damages plaintiff
incurred as a result of the swarm at issue in this litigation
were satisfied long ago under the “single satisfaction
rule” of 17 U.S.C. § 504(c)(1) and that
plaintiff's efforts to obtain a double recovery violate
the Washington Consumer Protection Act. Under §
504(c)(1), a copyright owner may elect to recover statutory
damages, rather than actual damages, “for all
infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one
work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or
for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and
severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,
000 as the court considers just.” Defendant argues
that, because plaintiff has settled with other alleged
participants in the swarm at issue here and/or because
plaintiff has obtained judgments in other litigation
involving the same swarm, it has obtained all the
satisfaction to which it is entitled.
extent § 504(c) establishes a “single satisfaction
rule, ” it expressly applies only to
“infringements involved in the action.” See
also Malibu Media, LLC v. Ricupero, 2015 WL 4273463, at
*2 (S.D. Ohio July 14, 2015) (noting that statutory damages
are determined on a per-work, per-case basis). Defendant
cannot ignore the plain statutory language and has made no
effort to show why settlements or judgments reached in other
cases would be relevant to the analysis. With regards to
settlements reached with other defendants in this action,
those individuals were not “adjudicated liable for
infringement, and jointly and severally liable with another
infringer.” Friedman v. Live Nation Merch.,
Inc., 833 F.3d 1180, 1191 (9th Cir. 2016).
Plaintiff's claim for damages against defendant is the
only one that will be adjudicated in this matter, and
plaintiff may, up until the time of final judgment, elect to
seek a single award of statutory damages against him.
Defendant's counterclaims have no basis in the law and do
not raise a plausible inference of liability.
of the foregoing reasons, plaintiff's motion for judgment
on the pleadings is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
Defendant's counterclaims are hereby DISMISSED. Plaintiff
is not, however, entitled ...