Miami, Florida – January 22, 2020 – Wicker Smith O’Hara McCoy & Ford, P.A.’s Brandon Hechtman is a partner in the Miami office representing FOGO, a local entrepreneur which specializes in the sale of long branch charcoal found in South America. For a brief period of time, between the years of 2017 and 2019, FOGO imported materials from Cuba to produce marabú charcoal which is derived from an invasive weed on the island.
Following President Trump’s 2019 authorization of the 1996 Title III of the Helms-Burton Act, which allows for the recovery of civil damages for trafficking in property confiscated in the Revolution by the Castro Regime, FOGO is being sued. The Plaintiff alleges he is the grandson of a Cuban American farmland owner that was confiscated in the Cuban Revolution. The Plaintiff is seeking damages under Title III for allegedly trafficking in marabú charcoal produced on his grandfather’s farmland. This is a case of first impression that could set the standard for how future judges interpret “trafficking in confiscated property” and who is liable for such actions.
There are hundreds of millions of dollars of potential claims certified by the U.S. Secretary of State that may be filed in federal courts, primarily in the Southern District of Florida. On top of that there are an unknown sum of uncertified claims like the Plaintiff’s that could be filed depending how this and other case turn out.
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