MIAMI—Rivero Mestre filed a Helms-Burton Act lawsuit on behalf of José Ramon López Regueiro, the rightful owner of Cuba’s main airport—José Martí International Airport—against American Airlines and LATAM Airlines Group. More than forty cargo and passenger airlines are unlawfully trafficking in and benefitting from the airport by operating cargo and passenger flights into and out of the airport without permission from, or compensation to, Mr. Regueiro. All of them received notices warning them to cease and desist or face suit. The defendants did not comply with the 30-day notices of plaintiff’s intent to sue, which gives Mr. Regueiro the right to seek treble damages.
Regueiro is the son of José López Vilaboy, who during his ownership of the airport in the 1950s, transformed it from a small, outdated airport into Cuba’s main international airport, serving Havana and surrounding cities. The Cuban government confiscated the airport without any compensation to Vilaboy shortly after the communist Castro regime seized power in 1959. Since then, a number of airlines, including U.S.-based airlines, have routinely used the airport for transporting cargo and passengers.
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.
Click the links below to see media coverage.
Associated Press – Demandan a American y LATAM por uso de aeropuerto de Cuba
The Business Times – American Airlines, Latam face lawsuit over Cuba business
Telemundo – Presentan demanda contra American Airlines
Radio Rebelde – Demandadas dos aerolíneas bajo la Ley Helms-Burton contra Cuba
LECHO Touristique – Aéroport de la Havane : des compagnies aériennes poursuivies en justice
The Wall Street Journal – American Airlines, Latam Airlines Sued Over Seized Cuban Airport
Daily Business Review – American and LATAM Airlines Hit With Helms-Burton Lawsuit
Miami Herald (video) – Miami man who says he’s rightful owner of Havana’s airport sues American Airlines
El Nuevo Herald (video) – American Airlines enfrenta demanda por el uso del aeropuerto de La Habana
WLRN (sound clip) – American Airlines Sued For Operating On Seized Property In Cuba
Global Investigations Review – American Airlines and LATAM sued under Helms-Burton Act
El Economista – Demandan a American y LATAM por uso de aeropuerto de 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.