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Havana Docks Corp. v. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.

United States District Court, S.D. Florida

January 7, 2020

HAVANA DOCKS CORPORATION, Plaintiff,
v.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS, LTD., Defendant.

          Aziza F. Elayan-Martinez, Stephanie Anne Casey, Zachary Andrew Lipshultz, Roberto Martinez, Colson Hicks Eidson, Coral Gables, FL, for Plaintiff.

          Allen Paige Pegg, Richard C. Lorenzo, Hogan Lovells U.S. LLP, Miami, FL, for Defendant.

         ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

         BETH BLOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS CAUSE is before the Court upon Defendant Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.'s ("Norwegian" or "Defendant") Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. [31] ("Motion"). Plaintiff Havana Docks Corporation ("Havana Docks" or "Plaintiff") filed a response, ECF No. [36] ("Response"), to which Defendant filed a reply, ECF No. [41] ("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.

Page 1376

          I. BACKGROUND

         On August 27, 2019, Havana Docks filed this action against Defendant pursuant to Title III of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (the "LIBERTAD Act" or "Act"). ECF No. [1] ("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. ¶ 6 (citing 22 U.S.C. § 6022(6)).

         Plaintiff is a United States national as defined by 22 U.S.C. § 6023(15). Id. ¶ 7. 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. ¶¶ 8. Plaintiff further alleges that since its confiscation, the Subject Property has not been returned and adequate and effective compensation has not been provided. Id. ¶ 10. 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. ¶ 12.

         According to the Complaint, beginning on or about March 2017 and continuing for at least two years thereafter, Norwegian "knowingly and intentionally commenced, conducted, and promoted its commercial cruise line business to Cuba using the Subject Property by regularly embarking and disembarking its passengers on the Subject Property without the authorization of Plaintiff or any U.S. national who holds a claim to the Subject Property." Id. ¶ 13. At that time, Defendant is alleged to have participated in, and profited from, the Cuban Government's possession of the Subject Property without Plaintiff's authorization. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff claims that Norwegian's knowing and intentional conduct relating to the Subject Property is "trafficking" as defined in 22 U.S.C. § 6023(13)(A), and Defendant is liable to Plaintiff for all money damages allowed by statute. Id. ¶¶ 15-16.

         Defendant has now moved to dismiss the Complaint under Rule 12(b)(6).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         A 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, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (explaining that Rule 8(a)(2)'s pleading standard "demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation"). Nor can a complaint rest on "`naked assertion[s]' devoid of `further factual enhancement.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557, 127 S.Ct. 1955 (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, 127 S.Ct. 1955).

         When 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 ...


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