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PT Law v. DOS; PT Files Suit Against State for Documents From 4 Year Old FOIA Request

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018 00:00

(Washington, D.C.) On October 10, 2018, PobleteTamargo, LLP filed a lawsuit in the District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of State to compel the release of records related to the enforcement of the property rights section of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 (the Helms-Burton law) and U.S. policy toward Cuba related to the rights of American citizens to defend their property rights. The firm requested the documents from the Department of State more than four years ago pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 

Background

After the 1959 Cuban revolution the government of Cuba confiscated properties from American citizens and others. To date, this remains the largest confiscation of American property by any foreign government in history.  The confiscations took place under the color of law, some were confiscated with the use of force and violence. The Cuban government has refused to compensate the former owners of the property in violation of Cuban law and international law.

The Helms-Burton law was enacted to, in part, “protect United States nationals against confiscatory takings and the wrongful trafficking in property confiscated by Cuba.” This law provides American citizens with a legal tool to defend their property rights in relation to claims arising from the confiscation in Cuba of their real and personal property. This remedy, the filing of a Helms-Burton Title III lawsuit, has not been available to U.S. citizens because it has been waived by every President since it was enacted into law in 1996.

The Helms-Burton law has two sections or titles, Title III and Title IV, which are specially designed to defend property rights of U.S. persons with a claim, either certified or uncertified, against Cuba. Title III allows American citizens to file lawsuits in U.S. courts against a corporation, the Cuban government, or other persons trafficking in property that is the subject of a certified claim or an uncertified claim. Title IV is an administrative tool that is administered by the Secretary of State on a case-by-case basis which denies U.S. visas to those who traffic in such property.

Request for Records & FOIA Lawsuit

PobleteTamargo Attorneys and Public Policy professionals have been working on international claims matters for decades. In the case of Cuba, one of the firm’s attorneys was involved in the drafting of the Helms-Burton law. The firm is seeking as many tools as possible to help clients settle claims.  Filed in the fall of 2018, the lawsuit will help raise awareness of US-Cuba claims among interested parties including fellow lawyers, policymakers, scholars, and the media. The Complaint is attached below. 

 

Poblete Tamargo v Dep't... by on Scribd

 

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