United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
BLOOM UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendants MSC
Cruises SA Co. and MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.'s (together,
“Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 
(“Motion”). Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation
(“Havana Docks” or “Plaintiff”) filed
a Response, ECF No.  (“Response”), to which
Defendants filed a Reply, ECF No.  (“Reply”).
The Court has carefully considered the Motion, the Response
and Reply, the record in this case and the applicable law,
and is otherwise fully advised. For the reasons that follow,
the Motion is granted.
August 27, 2019, Havana Docks filed this action against
Defendants pursuant to Title III of the Cuban Liberty and
Democratic Solidarity Act (the “LIBERTAD Act” or
“Act”). ECF No.  (“Complaint”).
“One of the LIBERTAD Act's purposes is to
‘protect United States nationals against confiscatory
takings and the wrongful trafficking in property confiscated
by the Castro Regime.'” Id. ¶ 7
(citing 22 U.S.C. § 6022(6)).
is a United States national as defined by 22 U.S.C. §
6023(15). Id. ¶ 8. In the Complaint, Plaintiff
alleges that it is the rightful owner of an interest in, and
claim to, certain commercial waterfront real property in the
Port of Havana, Cuba, identified as the Havana Cruise Port
Terminal (“Subject Property”). Id.
Plaintiff claims that it owned the Subject Property until the
Cuban Government confiscated it in 1960. Id.
¶¶ 9-10. Plaintiff further alleges that since its
confiscation, the Subject Property has not been returned and
adequate and effective compensation has not been provided.
Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff's ownership interest in
and claim to the Subject Property has been certified by the
Foreign Claims Settlement Commission
(“Commission”) under the International Claim
Settlement Act of 1949. Id. ¶ 13.
to the Complaint, on or about December 10, 2018, Defendants
“knowingly and intentionally commenced, conducted, and
promoted their commercial cruise line business to Cuba using
the Subject Property by regularly embarking and disembarking
their passengers on the Subject Property without the
authorization of Plaintiff or any U.S. national who holds a
claim to the Subject Property. Id. ¶ 14. At
that time, Defendants participated in and profited from the
communist Cuban Government's possession of the Subject
Property without Plaintiff's authorization. Id.
¶ 15. Plaintiff claims that Defendants' knowing and
intentional conduct with regard to the confiscated Subject
Property is “trafficking” as defined in 22 U.S.C.
§ 6023(13)(A), and Defendants are liable to Plaintiff
for all money damages allowed by statute. Id.
have now moved to dismiss the Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6).
pleading in a civil action must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although a
complaint “does not need detailed factual allegations,
” it must provide “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); see Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (explaining that Rule
8(a)(2)'s pleading standard “demands more than an
accusation”). Nor can a complaint rest on
“‘naked assertion[s]' devoid of
‘further factual enhancement.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557 (alteration in original)). “[A]
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570).
reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court, as a general rule,
must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true and
evaluate all plausible inferences derived from those facts in
favor of the plaintiff. See Chaparro v. Carnival
Corp., 693 F.3d 1333, 1337 (11th Cir. 2012);
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Fla. v. S. Everglades
Restoration Alliance, 304 F.3d 1076, 1084 (11th Cir.
2002); AXA Equitable Life Ins. Co. v. Infinity Fin. Grp.,
LLC, 608 F.Supp.2d 1349, 1353 (S.D. Fla. 2009)
(“On a motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all
facts alleged by the non-moving party are accepted as
true.”); Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A court
considering a Rule 12(b) motion is generally limited to the
facts contained in the complaint and attached exhibits,
including documents referred to in the complaint that are
central to the claim. Wilchombe v. TeeVee Toons,
Inc., 555 F.3d 949, 959 (11th Cir. 2009); see
Maxcess, Inc. v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 433 F.3d 1337,
1340 (11th Cir. 2005) (“[A] document outside the four
corners of the complaint may still be considered if it is
central to the plaintiff's claims and is undisputed in
terms of authenticity.”) (citing Horsley v.
Feldt, 304 F.3d 1125, 1135 (11th Cir. 2002)). Although
the court is required to accept as true all allegations
contained in the complaint, courts “are not bound to
accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555;
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
their Motion, Defendants argue that the Complaint should be
dismissed for four reasons: 1) Plaintiff fails to include
sufficient allegations regarding Defendants' alleged
trafficking in Plaintiff's property and impermissibly
groups both Defendants together; 2) Plaintiff's claim of
trafficking fails as a matter of law; 3) Title III of the
LIBERTAD Act violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment; and 4) Title III's remedy provision violates
the Due Process Clause. Because the Court finds the second
issue to be dispositive, the Court considers it first.
argue that Plaintiff's “property” as defined
in the LIBERTAD Act is not at issue in the Complaint because
Plaintiff's property interest in the Subject Property is
a leasehold that expired in 2004. As such, Defendants reason
that Plaintiff can only assert claims under Title III for
trafficking that allegedly took place prior to the expiration
of Plaintiff's leasehold in the Subject Property. The
Defendants correctly point out that the Complaint does not
allege that the Defendants ever trafficked in, profited from,
or infringed upon the confiscated leasehold interest which
expired in 2004. In response, Plaintiff argues that the Court
has already considered and rejected the same argument made
previously by Carnival Corporation in a related case. See
Havana Docks Corp. v. Carnival Corp., No. 19-cv-21724,
ECF No. . The Court in Carnival agreed with
Plaintiff that the interpretation suggested by Carnival (and
Defendants here) conflates a claim to a property and a
property interest. Id. However, upon further review
and analysis, the Court reconsiders its previous
interpretation of the statute given the time-limited nature
of Plaintiff's claim, a fact not in dispute.
first rule in statutory construction is to determine whether
the language at issue has a plain and unambiguous meaning
with regard to the particular dispute. If the statute's
meaning is plain and unambiguous, there is no need for
further inquiry.” U.S. v. Silva, 443 F.3d 795,
797-98 (11th Cir. 2006) (internal quotations omitted).
“This is so because ‘[t]he plain language is
presumed to express congressional intent and will control a
court's interpretation.'” Moss v.
GreenTree-Al, LLC, 378 B.R. 655, 658 (S.D. Ala. 2007)
(quoting U.S. v. Fisher, 289 F.3d 1329, 1338 (11th
Cir. 2002) (alterations in the original)). It is a
court's duty “to give effect, if possible, to every
clause and word of a statute.” Duncan v.
Walker, 533 U.S. 167, 174 (2001) (citations omitted).
And, “[w]hen interpreting a statute, words must be
given their ‘ordinary or natural' meaning[.]”
Leocal v. Ashcroft, 543 U.S. 1, 8 (2004) (citation
omitted). In any event, “[a] court ‘should not