22 U.S. Code § 6082 - Liability for trafficking in confiscated property claimed by United States nationals

(a) Civil remedy
(1) Liability for trafficking
(A) Except as otherwise provided in this section, any person that, after the end of the 3-month period beginning on the effective date of this subchapter, traffics in property which was confiscated by the Cuban Government on or after January 1, 1959, shall be liable to any United States national who owns the claim to such property for money damages in an amount equal to the sum of—
(i) the amount which is the greater of—
(I) the amount, if any, certified to the claimant by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1621 et seq.], plus interest;
(II) the amount determined under section 6083 (a)(2) of this title, plus interest; or
(III) the fair market value of that property, calculated as being either the current value of the property, or the value of the property when confiscated plus interest, whichever is greater; and
(ii) court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees.
(B) Interest under subparagraph (A)(i) shall be at the rate set forth in section 1961 of title 28, computed by the court from the date of confiscation of the property involved to the date on which the action is brought under this subsection.
(2) Presumption in favor of the certified claims
There shall be a presumption that the amount for which a person is liable under clause (i) of paragraph (1)(A) is the amount that is certified as described in subclause (I) of that clause. The presumption shall be rebuttable by clear and convincing evidence that the amount described in subclause (II) or (III) of that clause is the appropriate amount of liability under that clause.
(3) Increased liability
(A) Any person that traffics in confiscated property for which liability is incurred under paragraph (1) shall, if a United States national owns a claim with respect to that property which was certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1643 et seq.], be liable for damages computed in accordance with subparagraph (C).
(B) If the claimant in an action under this subsection (other than a United States national to whom subparagraph (A) applies) provides, after the end of the 3-month period described in paragraph (1) notice to—
(i) a person against whom the action is to be initiated, or
(ii) a person who is to be joined as a defendant in the action,
at least 30 days before initiating the action or joining such person as a defendant, as the case may be, and that person, after the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date the notice is provided, traffics in the confiscated property that is the subject of the action, then that person shall be liable to that claimant for damages computed in accordance with subparagraph (C).
(C) Damages for which a person is liable under subparagraph (A) or subparagraph (B) are money damages in an amount equal to the sum of—
(i) the amount determined under paragraph (1)(A)(ii), and
(ii) 3 times the amount determined applicable under paragraph (1)(A)(i).
(D) Notice to a person under subparagraph (B)—
(i) shall be in writing;
(ii) shall be posted by certified mail or personally delivered to the person; and
(iii) shall contain—
(I) a statement of intention to commence the action under this section or to join the person as a defendant (as the case may be), together with the reasons therefor;
(II) a demand that the unlawful trafficking in the claimant’s property cease immediately; and
(III) a copy of the summary statement published under paragraph (8).
(4) Applicability
(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, actions may be brought under paragraph (1) with respect to property confiscated before, on, or after March 12, 1996.
(B) In the case of property confiscated before March 12, 1996, a United States national may not bring an action under this section on a claim to the confiscated property unless such national acquires ownership of the claim before March 12, 1996.
(C) In the case of property confiscated on or after March 12, 1996, a United States national who, after the property is confiscated, acquires ownership of a claim to the property by assignment for value, may not bring an action on the claim under this section.
(5) Treatment of certain actions
(A) In the case of a United States national who was eligible to file a claim with the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1643 et seq.] but did not so file the claim, that United States national may not bring an action on that claim under this section.
(B) In the case of any action brought under this section by a United States national whose underlying claim in the action was timely filed with the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 but was denied by the Commission, the court shall accept the findings of the Commission on the claim as conclusive in the action under this section.
(C) A United States national, other than a United States national bringing an action under this section on a claim certified under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949, may not bring an action on a claim under this section before the end of the 2-year period beginning on March 12, 1996.
(D) An interest in property for which a United States national has a claim certified under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 may not be the subject of a claim in an action under this section by any other person. Any person bringing an action under this section whose claim has not been so certified shall have the burden of establishing for the court that the interest in property that is the subject of the claim is not the subject of a claim so certified.
(6) Inapplicability of act of state doctrine
No court of the United States shall decline, based upon the act of state doctrine, to make a determination on the merits in an action brought under paragraph (1) .
(7) Licenses not required
(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action under this section may be brought and may be settled, and a judgment rendered in such action may be enforced, without obtaining any license or other permission from any agency of the United States, except that this paragraph shall not apply to the execution of a judgment against, or the settlement of actions involving, property blocked under the authorities of section 5 (b) of title 50, Appendix, that were being exercised on July 1, 1977, as a result of a national emergency declared by the President before such date, and are being exercised on March 12, 1996.
(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, and for purposes of this subchapter only, any claim against the Cuban Government shall not be deemed to be an interest in property the transfer of which to a United States national required before March 12, 1996, or requires after March 12, 1996, a license issued by, or the permission of, any agency of the United States.
(8) Publication by Attorney General
Not later than 60 days after March 12, 1996, the Attorney General shall prepare and publish in the Federal Register a concise summary of the provisions of this subchapter, including a statement of the liability under this subchapter of a person trafficking in confiscated property, and the remedies available to United States nationals under this subchapter.
(b) Amount in controversy
An action may be brought under this section by a United States national only where the amount in controversy exceeds the sum or value of $50,000, exclusive of interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees. In calculating $50,000 for purposes of the preceding sentence, the applicable amount under subclause (I), (II), or (III) of subsection (a)(1)(A)(i) of this section may not be tripled as provided in subsection (a)(3) of this section.
(c) Procedural requirements
(1) In general
Except as provided in this subchapter, the provisions of title 28 and the rules of the courts of the United States apply to actions under this section to the same extent as such provisions and rules apply to any other action brought under section 1331 of title 28.
(2) Service of process
In an action under this section, service of process on an agency or instrumentality of a foreign state in the conduct of a commercial activity, or against individuals acting under color of law, shall be made in accordance with section 1608 of title 28.
(d) Enforceability of judgments against Cuban Government
In an action brought under this section, any judgment against an agency or instrumentality of the Cuban Government shall not be enforceable against an agency or instrumentality of either a transition government in Cuba or a democratically elected government in Cuba.
(e) Omitted
(f) Election of remedies
(1) Election
Subject to paragraph (2)—
(A) any United States national that brings an action under this section may not bring any other civil action or proceeding under the common law, Federal law, or the law of any of the several States, the District of Columbia, or any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, that seeks monetary or nonmonetary compensation by reason of the same subject matter; and
(B) any person who brings, under the common law or any provision of law other than this section, a civil action or proceeding for monetary or nonmonetary compensation arising out of a claim for which an action would otherwise be cognizable under this section may not bring an action under this section on that claim.
(2) Treatment of certified claimants
(A) In the case of any United States national that brings an action under this section based on a claim certified under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1643 et seq.]—
(i) if the recovery in the action is equal to or greater than the amount of the certified claim, the United States national may not receive payment on the claim under any agreement entered into between the United States and Cuba settling claims covered by such title, and such national shall be deemed to have discharged the United States from any further responsibility to represent the United States national with respect to that claim;
(ii) if the recovery in the action is less than the amount of the certified claim, the United States national may receive payment under a claims agreement described in clause (i) but only to the extent of the difference between the amount of the recovery and the amount of the certified claim; and
(iii) if there is no recovery in the action, the United States national may receive payment on the certified claim under a claims agreement described in clause (i) to the same extent as any certified claimant who does not bring an action under this section.
(B) In the event some or all actions brought under this section are consolidated by judicial or other action in such manner as to create a pool of assets available to satisfy the claims in such actions, including a pool of assets in a proceeding in bankruptcy, every claimant whose claim in an action so consolidated was certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1643 et seq.] shall be entitled to payment in full of its claim from the assets in such pool before any payment is made from the assets in such pool with respect to any claim not so certified.
(g) Deposit of excess payments by Cuba under claims agreement
Any amounts paid by Cuba under any agreement entered into between the United States and Cuba settling certified claims under title V of the International Claims Settlement Act of 1949 [22 U.S.C. 1643 et seq.] that are in excess of the payments made on such certified claims after the application of subsection (f) of this section shall be deposited into the United States Treasury.
(h) Termination of rights
(1) In general
All rights created under this section to bring an action for money damages with respect to property confiscated by the Cuban Government—
(A) may be suspended under section 6064 (a) of this title; and
(B) shall cease upon transmittal to the Congress of a determination of the President under section 6063 (c)(3) of this title that a democratically elected government in Cuba is in power.
(2) Pending suits
The suspension or termination of rights under paragraph (1) shall not affect suits commenced before the date of such suspension or termination (as the case may be), and in all such suits, proceedings shall be had, appeals taken, and judgments rendered in the same manner and with the same effect as if the suspension or termination had not occurred.
(i) Imposition of filing fees
The Judicial Conference of the United States shall establish a uniform fee that shall be imposed upon the plaintiff or plaintiffs in each action brought under this section. The fee should be established at a level sufficient to recover the costs to the courts of actions brought under this section. The fee under this subsection is in addition to any other fees imposed under title 28.

Source

(Pub. L. 104–114, title III, § 302,Mar. 12, 1996, 110 Stat. 815.)
References in Text

For the effective date of this subchapter, referred to in subsec. (a)(1)(A), as Aug. 1, 1996, or date determined pursuant to suspension authority of President see section 6085 of this title.
The International Claims Settlement Act of 1949, referred to in subsecs. (a)(1)(A)(i)(I), (3)(A), (5), (f)(2), and (g), is act Mar. 10, 1950, ch. 54, 64 Stat. 12, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 21 (§ 1621 et seq.) of this title. Title V of the Act is classified generally to subchapter V (§ 1643 et seq.) of chapter 21 of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1621 of this title and Tables.
This subchapter, referred to in subsecs. (a)(7)(B), (8) and (c)(1), was in the original “this title”, meaning title III of Pub. L. 104–114, Mar. 12, 1996, 110 Stat. 814, which enacted this subchapter and sections 1643l and 1643m of this title and amended section 1611 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure. For complete classification of title III to the Code, see Tables.
Codification

Section is comprised of section 302 ofPub. L. 104–114. Subsec. (e) ofsection 302 of Pub. L. 104–114amended section 1611 of Title 28, Judiciary and Judicial Procedure.

 

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