United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR AWARD OF STATUTORY
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Award of Statutory Damages. Dkt. #36. The Court has
previously issued an Order on partial summary judgment in
Plaintiff's favor, establishing that Defendant Sheely is
liable to Plaintiff under 18 U.S.C. § 2255 for her
personal injury(ies). Dkt. #32. In addition, the Court had
ordered that the amount of compensatory damages, along with
attorney's fees and costs, would be determined at a
hearing before the Court Id.
has now moved for an award of statutory damages without a
hearing. Plaintiff explains that “such an award will
expedite the process of entering an order of damages, incur
less expense for the presentation of witnesses including
experts, and spare Plaintiff the further emotional injury of
confronting the person who has taken pleasure in viewing the
images of her sexual abuse as a child.” Dkt. #36 at 3.
Court has reviewed Plaintiff's motion, along with the
Declaration of Carol L. Hepburn in support thereof, and
Exhibits thereto. Dkts. #36 and #37. Defendant has failed to
respond to the motion. Under this Court's Local Civil
Rule 7(b)(2), “[e]xcept for motions for summary
judgment, if a party fails to file papers in opposition to a
motion, such failure may be considered by the court as an
admission that the motion has merit.” The Court finds
that Defendant's failure to respond to this motion is
such an admission. While the Court could grant
Plaintiff's motion as a result, the Court also finds that
Plaintiff's motion succeeds on the merits.
U.S.C. § 2255, familiarly known as “Masha's
law, ” provides a civil remedy for personal injuries
caused by sexual exploitation of children. 18 U.S.C. §
2255(a). The statute provides that “[a]ny
person as described in the preceding sentence shall be deemed
to have sustained damages of no less than $150, 000 in
value.” Id. As Plaintiff has noted, this
presumptive floor of damages was recently affirmed by the 6th
Circuit in Prewett, ex rel JW v. Weems, 749 F.3d 454
(6th Cir. 2016). In addition, this Court, relying on a
different 6th Circuit Court of Appeals case, determined that
“the $150, 000 minimum damages are deemed to be the
‘actual damages' sustained, not punitive
damages.” Amy v. Kennedy, 2014 U.S. Dist.
LEXIS 24779, *14 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 25, 2014) (citing Doe
v. Boland, 698 F.3d 877, 882 (6th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiff requests an award of the presumptive damages of
$150, 000.00. The Court agrees with Plaintiff that the report
and affidavit of Dr. Green provide adequate evidence that she
has in fact been damaged by defendant's actions in
viewing her child sexual abuse. Accordingly, the Court hereby
finds and ORDERS:
Plaintiff's Motion for Award of Statutory Damages (Dkt.
#36) is GRANTED. Defendant Sheely is liable to Plaintiff
under 18 U.S.C. § 2255 for her personal injury(ies) in
the statutory amount of $150, 000.00.
amount of attorney's fees and costs will be determined at
a hearing before the Court. Plaintiff's counsel shall
make a good faith effort to meet and confer with pro
se Defendant regarding a mutually-agreeable date and
time for such hearing. Plaintiff's counsel shall then
contact the Court's In-Court Deputies Laurie Cuaresma and
Lowell Williams at 206-370-8521 with several proposed dates
and times, which the Court will consider. At the hearing,
Plaintiff's counsel shall be prepared to submit evidence
supporting any request for attorney's fees and costs.
Clerk shall send a copy of this Order to pro se
Defendant via U.S. Mail to the address reflected on the
 The Court has also previously set
forth the background to, and reasoning for its decision, and
incorporates those sections of its prior Order by reference
herein. See Dkt. #32.
 This civil right of action was first
passed in 1986. Child Abuse Victims' Rights Act of 1986,
Pub. L. No. 99-500, § 703(a), 100 Stat. 1783, 1783-74 to
-75 (1986) to -75 (1986). It was amended in 1998 to cover a
wider array of predicate crimes. Protection of Children from
Sexual Predators Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105-314, §
605, 112 Stat. 2974, 2984 (1998). It was amended again in
2006 (at which time it became known as Masha's Law) to
increase minimum statutory damages from $50, 000 to $150, 000
and make clear that an adult could bring suit based on a
predicate crime that took place while she was a minor.
Masha's Law, Pub. L. No. 109-248, § 707, 120 Stat.
587, 650 (2006). It was amended a final time in 2013 to again
widen the array of predicate ...