final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
Appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County Lower
Tribunal No. 16-12617, Rodolfo A. Ruiz, Judge.
Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford, P.A, and Brandon J.
Hechtman and Jessica L. Gross, for appellants.
Blaxberg, Grayson, Kukoff & Forteza, P.A., and Gaspar
Forteza and Moises T. Grayson, for appellees.
SALTER, LOGUE, and SCALES, JJ.
Rodriguez Fuentes and Gregory Biniowsky appeal the trial
court's order granting final summary judgment in favor of
ViajeHoy, LLC. Because the trial court correctly concluded
that their cause of action was barred by the Cuban Assets
Control Regulations, 31 C.F.R. § 515.201., et.
seq., and the Trading with the Enemy Act, 50 U.S.C.
§ 4303, et. seq., we affirm.
are Cuban nationals who reside in Cuba. They filed suit in
Florida circuit court against ViajeHoy, a Florida limited
liability company that charters private flights to Cuba.
Appellants alleged that ViajeHoy breached a 2013 oral
agreement, whereby Appellants would negotiate landing rights
with the Cuban government in exchange for a fifty-percent
equity interest in ViajeHoy. They sought damages for breach
of contract, unjust enrichment, or promissory
estoppel.ViajeHoy denied the allegations and raised
the affirmative defense of illegality.
ultimately moved for summary judgment and argued that the
Appellees' cause of action was barred by the provisions
of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, which prohibit any
commerce with Cuba except as expressly authorized by a
license issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In
support, it submitted an affidavit of its principal Mark A.
Elias, an affidavit of a United States and Cuban aviation
compliance specialist, and copies of its licenses from the
Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Appellants cross-moved
for summary judgment, each filing an affidavit. In addition,
the depositions of the witnesses were filed in the record.
The crucial issue was whether the licenses authorized the
oral partnership or business agreements alleged by
Appellants. Without deciding whether or not those business
relationships actually existed, the trial court determined
that, assuming those relationships existed, Appellees'
claims failed, as a matter of law, because the transactions
they alleged violated the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.
court's ruling on a motion for summary judgment is
reviewed de novo. Gonzalez v. Citizens Prop. Ins.
Corp., 273 So.3d 1031, 1035 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019) (citing
Volusia Cty. v. Aberdeen at Ormond Beach, L.P., 760
So.2d 126, 130 (Fla. 2000)). In Florida, "[s]ummary
judgment is proper if there is no genuine issue of material
fact and if the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law." Gonzalez, 273 So.3d at 1035.
"Summary judgment is designed to test the sufficiency of
the evidence to determine if there is sufficient evidence at
issue to justify a trial or formal hearing on the issues
raised in the pleadings." Id. (quoting The
Fla. Bar v. Greene, 926 So.2d 1195, 1200 (Fla. 2006)).
"A court considering summary judgment must avoid two
extremes." Gonzalez, 273 So.3d at 1035.
"On the one hand, 'a motion for summary judgment is
not a trial by affidavit or deposition. Summary judgment is
not intended to weigh and resolve genuine issues of material
fact, but only identify whether such issues exist. If there
is disputed evidence on a material issue of fact, summary
judgment must be denied and the issue submitted to the trier
of fact.'" Id. (quoting Perez- Gurri
Corp. v. McLeod, 238 So.3d 347, 350 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017)).
"On the other hand, a 'party should not be put to
the expense of going through a trial, where the only ...