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Claims Now Allowed by US Nationals Against Persons Trafficking in Properties Confiscated by the Cuban Government

May 8, 2019

In a change of long-standing policy, the Trump Administration has decided to allow lawsuits to proceed in the U.S. Courts against persons that have knowingly “trafficked” in property (real, personal or intellectual) confiscated by the Cuban regime on or after January 1, 1959 from any U.S. citizen or from a person who has since become a U.S. citizen.  

Title III of the Helms-Burton Act which codifies the U.S embargo against Communist Cuba (The “LIBERTAD Act”) broadly defines “trafficking” and allows for recovery of the greater of the value of the property at time of confiscation plus interest, or its current value, from anyone so trafficking. The law was expressly designed to “deny traffickers any profits from economically exploiting Castro’s wrongful seizures.”  The minimum amount of the claim must be $50,000.  Many of the claims, with interest added, are worth millions of dollars today.  The law provides for recovery of attorney fees and costs and, in certain cases, for treble damages. 

An ideal venue for these suits will be in the Southern District of Florida, if the trafficker conducts activities or has property in the jurisdiction. This is because jury pools in the district are likely to have significant representation of the Cuban exile community.  Also, local Judges have greater knowledge of, and possibly greater sensitivity to, the losses suffered by the exile community and U.S. companies that owned property in Cuba prior to January 1, 1959. 

ROPERS MAJESKI’s Miami office is well-situated to handle these new claims, not only because of location in the Southern District of Florida in the heart of the Cuban-American Community, but also because of its attorneys’ and staff’s proficiency in Spanish and the team’s experience in the area of international business law and litigation.

For more information, please contact:

Jose I. Rojas
Resident Director,
Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley, P.C.
Miami, Florida
jose.rojas@ropers.com