Claim Game: U.S., Cuba Try to Hash out Differences over Property

December 13, 2015 – In The News
Hispanic MarketWorks

Joseph A. DeMaria was featured in the Hispanic MarketWorks article, “Claim Game: U.S., Cuba Try to Hash out Differences over Property.” Full text can be found in the December 13, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

With nearly “six decades of financial claims and counterclaims” between the United States and Cuba, the two countries came together last week for the first day of negotiation.

More than $3 billion is still owed to Americans due to Cuba’s refusal to defend itself in U.S. courts for anti-terrorist lawsuits. Some of the judgements were earlier paid off by companies such as AT&T who owed money to the Cuban State telephone company but the funds ran out leaving many with unpaid damages.

“I don’t believe there’s any way for the president or the executive branch to overturn those verdicts or cancel those judgments,” said Fox Rothschild’s Joseph DeMaria, who worked on several of the early anti-terrorism lawsuits. “That would be a bill of attainder.”

If these verdicts are left unpaid, it may cause controversy with the United States and Cuba which could lead to legal issues with future trade between the two countries.

“Cuba has already had a couple of planes seized on the ground in the United States by clever attorneys, and the Cubans have had to get a lot smarter,” DeMaria said. “When they set up a new phone company, they made sure the owners of record were from France and Spain and other countries, so they wouldn’t get their money seized again.”