Case of the Day: Villoldo v. Castro

The case of the day is Villoldo v. Castro (1st Cir. 2016). Westlaw calls the case Villoldo v. Ruz. I’m no Spanish naming convention expert, but that seems clearly wrong. Anyway, Alfredo and Gustavo Villoldo were Cuban brothers. In 1959, the Cuban government confiscated their father’s property and threatened them, even after they fled to Miami. The brothers sued the Cuban government and high officials, namely Fidel and Raul Castro, in the Florida state court in 2008. The Florida case ended in a $2.79 billion default judgment. The brothers then sued on the Florida judgment in the federal court in New York. Again, the case ended in a default judgment. The brothers registered the judgment in the District of Massachusetts, and the District Court authorized them to seek an attachment. So the brothers served a subpoena on Computershare, a transfer agent in Canton, Massachusetts. Computershare produced documents identifying hundreds of securities accounts blocked under the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The brothers moved for an order requiring Computershare to turn over the accounts and filed a trustee process complaint against Computershare. Computershare argued that the accounts were not the property of Cuba and thus could not be turned over to satisfy the judgment. After some procedural complexities, the district court ultimately concluded that the accounts were not subject to the turnover order.

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