On 18 June 2019, Coral Gables, Florida-based Rivero Mestre LLP filed a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida (Miami) against Dusseldorf, Germany-based Trivago GMbH (2018 revenues approximately US$1.2 billion), a subsidiary of Bellevue, Washington-based Expedia Group (2018 revenues approximately US$11.2 billion). Expedia is expected to be sued soon.
The lawsuit (1:19-cv-2259-FAM) is using Title III of The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act of 1996 (Libertad Act) and was referred to The Honorable Federico A. Moreno:
Title III of the Libertad Act authorizes lawsuits in United States District Courts against companies and individuals who are using a certified claim where the owner of the certified claim has not received compensation from the Republic of Cuba or from a third-party who is using the asset.
Title IV of the Libertad Act authorizes the United States Department of State to restrict entry into the United States by individuals who have connectivity to unresolved certified claims. One company is currently subject to this provision.
Media Release: Rivero Mestre Files Helms-Burton Class Action Against Trivago
Yesterday, Rivero Mestre LLP filed a class-action lawsuit under the Helms-Burton Act against Trivago GmbH—a subsidiary of Expedia, Inc.--for its part in the trafficking in property owned by Cuban-Americans that were wrongfully confiscated by the Castro dictatorship in Cuba in the 1960s. Concurrently with the complaint, Rivero Mestre provided notice of its intention to add U.S.-based Expedia Inc., Booking Holdings, Inc., and their respective subsidiaries and affiliates in the event those companies fail to cease their improper trafficking and compensate plaintiffs within thirty days of that notice.
The Helms-Burton Act provides Cuban-Americans whose properties in Cuba was illegally confiscated by the 60-year Castro dictatorship a right to sue any individual or entity that wrongfully trafficked in their properties. The Act also provides for treble damages against a trafficker who has 30-days’ prior notice of the lawsuit against him.
Andrés Rivero, Jorge A. Mestre, Carlos Rodriguez, and Ana Malave of Rivero Mestre along with their co-counsel, Manuel Vazquez P.A., seek relief for a class of U.S. nationals whose hotel properties in Cuba were wrongfully taken from them by the Castro dictatorship and subsequently exploited by various foreign hotel booking services providers—like Trivago--that actively promote and advertise bookings as wrongfully trafficked hotel properties on their websites for a profit.
About Rivero Mestre LLP
Rivero Mestre, with offices in Miami and New York, represents clients from investigation to verdict and appeal in complex business disputes in U.S. federal courts, state courts, and domestic and international arbitration proceedings. The firm’s practice focuses primarily on representing corporate and institutional clients in a broad range of complex commercial disputes including financial institution matters, intellectual property disputes, and litigation and arbitration relating to Latin American trade and investment.