MIAMI—Rivero Mestre filed an amendment to its Melia Hotel class action complaint alleging violations of the Helms-Burton Act to add defendants Booking.com, Expedia, and Melia International (and affiliates of each) as businesses that have trafficked in and benefitted from trafficking in properties confiscated by the Cuban government. The new defendants did not respond to 30-day notices of plaintiffs’ intent to sue, which gave plaintiffs the right to seek treble damages. The new defendants all are based in the U.S. or Spain, and include:

  • Melia Hotels International, S.A., and its subsidiary Melia Hotels USA, LLC.;
  • Expedia, Inc., and its subsidiaries Trivago, Hotels.com, Orbitz, and Travelocity.com; and
  • Booking Holdings, Inc., and its subsidiary Booking.com

The Helms-Burton Act provides Cuban-Americans, whose properties in Cuba were confiscated by the communist Castro dictatorship, with the right to recover damages from persons and entities that traffic in, or benefit from trafficking in, their properties. The Act also provides for treble damages against a defendant that received prior notice of the claim and did not stop its trafficking or compensate the owners of the confiscated property. Previously named defendants include:

  • Grupo Hotelero Gran Caribe;
  • Corporación de Comercio y Turismo Internacional Cubanacán S.A.;
  • Grupo de Turismo Gaviota S.A.; and
  • Trivago GmbH.

The lawsuit originally was filed by Marisela Mata and Bibiana Hernandez, descendants of Antonio Mata y Alvarez, who built the San Carlos Hotel in Cienfuegos in 1925 and left Cuba after the Cuban government confiscated the hotel in 1962. The lawsuit sought individual damages and damages on behalf of a class of similarly-situated individuals. The amendment adds plaintiffs from three other families whose properties in Varadero, Cayo Coco, and Cienfuegos, Cuba also were confiscated by the communist Castro regime and later trafficked by the same Cuban, U.S., and European entities.

Click the links below to see media coverage.

Daily Business Review – Meliá’s Cuban Hotels Hit With Helms-Burton Class Action

El Nuevo Herald – Melia, Expedia y Booking incluidas en demanda en Miami bajo ley Helms-Burton

ABC Internacional – Tres familias de EE.UU. incluyen a Meliá en la demanda por el embargo de Cuba

ABC Ultima Hora – Las seis noticias que debes conocer hoy, jueves 12 de septiembre

Hispanidad – Exclusivas de la prensa de papel

Noticias Sin – Melia, Expedia y Booking incluidas en demanda en Miami bajo ley Helms-Burton

CiberCuba – Meliá enfrenta su primera demanda en EEUU bajo la Ley Helms-Burton

CincoDías – Díaz-Canel respalda a Meliá en la apertura de su último hotel en Cuba

About Rivero Mestre LLP

Rivero Mestre, from its 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. For more information, visit www.riveromestre.com.