Update on stolen Cuban property lawsuits

Only four lawsuits have been filed since the Trumpinator activated a full-blown Helms-Burton act.

More will be filed in the coming weeks, but it seems that lawyers are being very careful about which cases they pick, given the difficulties involved in recovering any funds.

Cuban exiles have begun suing in U.S. courts to demand compensation for property lost to the communist government, filing test cases that target multinational companies they say profit from confiscated assets.

Four lawsuits have been filed since May 2, when President Donald Trump broke 22 years of precedent to activate a provision of the Helms-Burton Act, one of the federal laws that enforce the U.S. embargo against Cuba, allowing the cases.

The U.S. Department of State estimates there are as many as 206,000 potential claims, but many plaintiffs are waiting to gauge the success of the first legal wave. “The flood has not materialized, or at least not yet,” says Pedro Freyre, head of the international practice at Miami law firm Akerman LLP, which advises clients on business in Cuba, including lawsuit target Carnival Corp…

…Attorneys have been choosy, given the challenges of marshaling six-decade-old proof and the potential difficulties in collecting damages, says Lopez. He says he had considered 60 or 70 potential cases, but cut the list to about a dozen. He says some plaintiffs won’t pursue viable claims for personal reasons: “Some people that have worthy claims don’t want to reopen the wound.” There are also questions about how plaintiffs would collect if defendants are prohibited by their home governments from complying with court judgments.

Plaintiffs’ targets include some of the highest-profile investors on the island: Spain’s Melia Hotels International SA and American cruise operator Carnival. Exxon Mobil Corp. has sought $280 million from a pair of Cuban state-owned companies over their use of assets seized from its predecessor, Standard Oil.

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