Peter Quinter Speaks to the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association in Tampa

On November 5, 2019, Peter Quinter presented at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Fines, Penalties, and Forfeitures seminar hosted by the Florida Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association, Inc. in Tampa, Florida. Together with Rebecca Gabbard, Supervisory Paralegal Specialist, FP&F Office, CBP, Tampa, and Jim Alberdi, President of A.J. Arango, Inc., Quinter discussed and analyzed real case scenarios regarding the administrative petition process, export, bonded warehouse and transportation, and air, ocean, and forwarder violations, FTZs, the judicial forfeiture process, seizures, detentions, and penalties.

Gastón Fernández Speaks at Hogan Lovells in Washington, D.C.

On October 24, Gastón Fernández gave a presentation in the Washington, DC office of Hogan Lovells on Recent reforms in China to promote foreign investment, as part of an event organized by the firm’s China Desk. The presentation summarized a number of legal and regulatory reforms in China enacted this year to further open key sectors of its economy to foreign investment, particularly in the financial services and insurance industries. The reforms are part of China’s response to ongoing trade and investment negotiations with the US. The presentation was attended by members of the business and legal community, as well as correspondents from Fox News and Xinhua News.

Susanne Leone and Neha Dagley Attend Luncheon Honoring the Counsel General of India and the CEO and Chairman of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce

Susanne Leone and Neha Dagley Attend Luncheon Honoring the Counsel General of India and the CEO and Chairman of the Indian American International Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

Andrew J. Markus Appointed Republic of Bulgaria’s Honorary Consul for Florida

The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria has appointed Carlton Fields Shareholder Andrew J. Markus as the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria. His consular jurisdiction is the state of Florida, with the seat of the Consulate in Miami.

In his role as the Honorary Consul, Markus will promote trade and academic, cultural, business and professional exchange and arrange for official visits to Florida and from Florida to the Republic of Bulgaria. Markus will also coordinate with the Bulgarian community of Florida.

To read Carlton Fields’ press-release, click here.

Peter Quinter Presents at the DR Logistics Mission and the International Trade Commissioners Association

Peter Quinter and Sophie Labarge

On June 3, 2019 Peter Quinter, Chair of GrayRobinson’s U.S. Customs and International Trade Practice, presented at the DR Logistics Mission hosted by the Florida Foreign Trade Association at Port Everglades. Quinter’s presentation provided an overview of the interaction between four key participants in facilitating trade – government, seaports and airports, logistics companies and customers.

 

 

On June 6, 2019 Peter Quinter presented for the International Trade Commissioners Association (“InTrade”) on U.S. Customs Regulations. Quinter’s presentation, which took place at the Canadian Trade offices in Miami, focused on a variety of topics, including customs valuation, Free Trade Agreement import requirements by Customs and Border Protection, country of origin marking requirements, tariff classifications, and U.S. President Trump’s updated tariffs under Section 232 and Section 301. Quinter also touched on NAFTA and the proposed U.S. – Mexico – Canada Free Trade Agreement and the new OFAC requirements regarding trade and travel to Cuba.

Peter Quinter and attendees of the InTrade presentation

 

For additional information on GrayRobinson customs and international trade practice, please visit www.grayrobinson.com/customs-international-trade-law.

Diane Nobile Named as Vice Chair of the Florida Bar’s 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee ‘K’

Diane Nobile, founding partner of a Miami-based international law firm, has been named as Vice Chair of the Florida Bar’s 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee ‘K’.  The position will is effective since May 1, 2019 through the term per Oath of Service. Ms. Nobile is currently in her third year of membership with the committee.

“I am honored to have been chosen as Vice Chair of the committee,” says Nobile. “Grievance committees are a vital part of our system, ensuring the correct use of professional conduct rules imposed by the Supreme Court of Florida. I look forward to working with this team in the coming months.”
Each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits has at least one grievance committee. The grievance committee reviews complaints with much the same purpose as a grand jury and decides, after a case is submitted to them by bar counsel, whether there is probable cause to believe a lawyer violated the professional conduct rules imposed by the Supreme Court of Florida and whether discipline against the lawyer appears to be warranted.
In her legal practice, Ms. Nobile serves as a trusted legal advisor to her clients, providing a complete legal approach to new businesses and international investors requiring legal guidance in the United States. She specializes in working with international investors on pre-immigration tax planning, estate tax planning, international investors seeking to purchase or invest in US real estate, and business law.
For more information on the  Florida Bar’s 11th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee, visit https://www.floridabar.org/about/cmtes/cmte-gr035/.

MDO Partners Adds Associate Counsel, Priscila Bandeira

Priscila Bandeira

MDO PARTNERS announces the expansion of its global compliance and corporate law practices with the addition of Associate Counsel, Priscila Bandeira.

Ms. Bandeira graduated with a L.L.M./J.D. joint degree from the University of Miami (UM) School of Law and is a member of the Florida Bar. She previously served as the firm’s law clerk, and now joins the firm as an attorney. Ms. Bandeira will assist clients with corporate governance, corporate and international transactions, and compliance programs with emphasis on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“I have learned immensely and have enjoyed doing a great amount of interesting work in my role as the firm’s law clerk. I am thrilled to continue assisting clients with their corporate and compliance needs at MDO Partners and to expand my role at the firm.”
“We are excited to have Priscila as an attorney on our team,” said Managing Partner, Richard Montes de Oca.  Her legal, language and cultural experience, especially with Brazilian clients and interests is a tremendous value to MDO.”
Bandeira is originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where she previously received a law degree from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. She is currently registered with the Brazilian Bar and has experience in Brazilian Corporate Law, International Commercial Arbitration, and International Investments and Contracts. Bandeira is an active member of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) and is fluent in Portuguese and French, and conversational in Spanish.
Priscila Bandeira can be contacted at pbandeira@mdopartners.com

New Phase in US-Cuba Relations Adds New Layers of Complexity for Foreign Companies Doing Business in Cuba

By Arthur M. Freyre*

President Trump’s decision to end the waiver of Helms-Burton’s[1] Title III lawsuits has dramatically changed how foreign companies do business in Cuba. Individuals who have a claim or may have a potential claim against the Cuban government for stolen property can now file suit against foreign companies who are trafficking or trespassing on property they used to own but confiscated by Cuba without compensation. The waiver that has been in the law since the signing of the bill in 1996, ended on May 2nd and Title III will finally be implemented. This post provides a general overview on the Title III lawsuit process. Let’s answer three basic questions: “Who are the plaintiffs?” “What is property?” and “What is the trafficking?”

Prior to discussing the three questions, counsels should note that pursuant to 22 U.S.C. §6082 (a)(8), the Attorney General was supposed to have prepared and published in the Federal Register a concise summary of the Act sixty days after the date of enactment. Now that the waiver has been lifted, we anticipate that the Attorney General will prepare and publish the Title III summary. Besides being familiar with the statute, attorneys filing or defending Title III lawsuits need to be aware of certain required actions (i.e. notice to parties and the wind down period) prior to the filing of the lawsuit.

The first question is “Who are the Plaintiffs?” Helms-Burton recognizes two groups of plaintiffs. The first group of plaintiffs is known as certified claimants. The second group of plaintiffs consists of individuals, or heirs of Cuban nationals, who are now U.S. citizens.  These are known as uncertified claimants.

Certified claimants are individuals or corporations who were U.S. citizens when their property in Cuba was confiscated by the Castro revolution after 1959. These individuals provided evidence to the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission showing that the Cuban government confiscated their land without compensation. The Commission issued a certified claim to the claimant based on the property’s value. Prior to this implementation of Title III, certified claimants effectively had no access to federal court to file a lawsuit, except for a limited number of victims of terror with personal injury or wrongful death claims.

Uncertified claimants are persons whose families left Cuba after the 1959 communist takeover and whose property were also confiscated by the Cuban government. At the time of the taking, these property owners were not U.S. citizens, and were not eligible to present their matter before the U.S. Foreign Claims Settlement Commission when they arrived to the United States.  Subsequently, they or their sons or daughters became U.S. citizens.  Regarding this class of potential plaintiffs, Title III states that the federal courts may use the Commission as a special master to review the uncertified claim and make a finding on it’s validity and it’s value for the court to decide.
An additional question the courts may have to consider is the question of what is property? Pursuant to Title III, property is broadly defined to include intellectual property (i.e. trademarks, copyrights, patents, and so forth), real property (commercial and personal), and any item that may have a present, future, or contingent right, security, or other interest therein.
The third and final question is what is defines as trafficking? Trafficking in a confiscated property involves a person who knowingly and intentionally, and without authorization of any U.S. national who holds a claim to the property, engages in or benefits from a wide range of transactions in Cuba that include or relate to a confiscated property. There are several exceptions to the trafficking definition. It is important to discuss this matter with counsel.
One final point regarding trafficking, 22 USC § 6082(b) states the required minimum threshold for damages in federal court is $50,000 value of the property at the time of the confiscation. This amount is exclusive of interest, costs, and attorney fees.
Just because one believes that they might meet the minimal threshold of standing, there are other factors that one needs to consider. For instance, the Judicial Conference announced that there is an additional filing fee of $6,548.00 that one needs to pay the courts for the filing of a Title III action, Besides the filing fees, other costs may include service of process, and other fees and expenses we have not mentioned here regarding litigation.
In closing, companies doing business in Cuba should reassess their increased risk exposure during this time, as it may be significant. They need to make sure that they are not trafficking in stolen property. This was the case before May 2nd since there remains an economic embargo of Cuba. Counsel should read and understand Title III carefully and also review the economic sanctions regulations in conjunction with your Title III analysis. Failure to do this assessment may expose companies and individuals to potential lawsuits and liability. Reading and understanding Title III carefully is just as important for those who believe that they may have a Title III claim. Failure to comply with the notice provisions could lead to unnecessary expense and the dismissal of a Title III claim.
*Arthur M. Freyre, Esq., is an attorney at the Law Offices of Poblete Tamargo LLP. His practice area includes federal regulatory law and public policy. Mr. Freyre would like to thank Mr. Mauricio Tamargo, Esq., former Chairman of the Foreign Claim Settlement Commission and Mr. Jason Poblete, Esq., an expert in U.S. economic sanctions and export control laws, for their assistance and input in this blog post.

Davide Macelloni Appointed to The Florida Bar Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Davide Macelloni

On April 30, 2019, Davide Macelloni was appointed by The Florida Bar President-Elect John Stewart to serve on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for the upcoming year.

The mission of the Committee is to increase diversity and inclusion in The Florida Bar so that the Bar will reflect the demographics of the state, to develop opportunities for community involvement, and to make leadership roles within the profession and The Florida Bar accessible to all attorneys, including those who are racially, ethnically and culturally diverse, women, members of the LGBTQ community and persons with disabilities.

Facebook to Pay Up to $5 Billion in Privacy Fines

By Richard Montes De Oca* and Priscila Bandeira**
On April 24, 2019, Facebook disclosed in its quarterly results that the company expects to pay between $3 and $5 Billion dollars in fines to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for data privacy violations. The amount is only an estimate because investigations are still pending.
Facebook has been under investigation by the FTC for privacy violations in connection with the news that political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, acquired data from up to 87 million Facebook users last year. In addition to the issues surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook suffered a large data breach shortly after, which exposed at least 50 million users.
In 2011, Facebook entered into a settlement agreement with the FTC requiring it to obtain user consent before sharing their data and to improve its protection of consumer information. The recent Facebook privacy issues may have violated such settlement agreement. In a press release on March 26, 2019, the FTC announced the investigation, and the FTC Acting Director, Tom Pahl, stated that the FTC will seek enforcement action “against companies that fail to honor their privacy promises.” Pahl also said that “the FTC is firmly and fully committed to using all of its tools to protect the privacy of consumers.”
Facebook is also under investigation in Europe for alleged General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) violations and could be facing further legal challenges after the California Consumer Privacy Act becomes effective on January 1, 2020.
With increasing privacy regulations, class actions and regulatory enforcement by the FTC and other regulators, it is critical for companies to establish or enhance their Privacy and Data Protection Compliance Programs. MDO Partners encourages companies to conduct cybersecurity risk assessments, adopt robust privacy policies, enhance disclosure controls and adopt cyberattack investigation procedures to help mitigate the risks associated with a cyberattacks and data breaches.
 
*Richard Montes De Oca is Managing Partner at MDO Partners, a boutique law firm that focuses on Corporate, International, and Real Estate Law, as well as Global Compliance and Business Ethics.
 

**Priscila Bandeira is a Global Compliance and Corporate Law Associate Counsel at MDO Partners, where she assists clients with  

corporate governance documentation, corporate formation, and international transactions. A graduate of the J.D./L.LM. Joint Program at the University of Miami, Ms. Bandeira is also registered with the Brazilian Bar.