USDC D. Puerto Rico, March 27, 2009
The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico held that pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. Rule 60(b)(5), the defendants in a copyright infringement case based on the unauthorized production of infringing derivative works aired via television were able to credit the settlement award sum paid to the plaintiff in a prior copyright case arising from the same injury from the damages set by the jury in the current case.
The court held that the one-satisfaction rule, which provides that payments previously made by persons jointly liable shall be credited to the sums due by judgment, is applicable to infringement suits brought under the Copyright Act. The underlying premise is to prevent double recovery, or the overcompensation of a plaintiff for a single injury.
Even though the plaintiff initially petitioned lost profits as well as actual damages in both proceedings, it opted to pursue only actual damages at the trial in the current action. The plaintiff conceded that the actual damages sought in both cases was the same. Further, in addressing the defendants' prior petition, the plaintiff indicated that "[i]n the event plaintiff elects to be redressed in actual damages the amounts paid in settlement by Televicentro could be credited to the amount of damages found after trial hearing."
Therefore, the defendants in this case received a reduction in the $772,079.29 jury award by the $700,000.00 settlement sums received by the plaintiff in the prior case.