Saturday, November 24, 2012

Excerpts from suit by Alan and Judy Gross

Case 1:12-cv-01860-JEB Document 2 Filed 11/16/12
ALAN GROSS... and JUDITH GROSS, Plaintiffs, v.

COMPLAINT (excerpts)

since December 3, 2009. Mr. Gross is imprisoned in Cuba due to his work on a project that Defendant United States negligently directed, organized, and oversaw (pp 1-2)

Worse, Defendant DAI, with negligence, gross negligence and willful disregard for Plaintiffs’ rights, failed to take these basic remedial steps because doing so would have delayed or prevented DAI’s complete performance under part of a lucrative contract with Defendant United States, thereby depriving Defendant DAI of significant revenue. Indeed, upon information and belief, Defendant DAI’s business model depends upon obtaining and performing contracts with Defendant United States. Defendant DAI engaged in this behavior – putting profits before safety – (pp 2-3)

21. USAID’s “Cuba Democracy and Contingency Planning Program” (the “Cuba Program”) was developed pursuant to the Helms-Burton Act. 

22. USAID’s Cuba Program was “expressly designed to hasten Cuba’s peaceful transition to a democratic society.” Task Order No. DFD-I-03-00250-00 (“Cuba Task Order”) at B.1.1 One of its objectives is to “[d]evelop and . . . activate plans for launching a rapid-response programmatic platform that will meet USAID’s interest for having and coordinating an on-island presence.Id. (p 9)

66. The Subcontract stated that “[t]he pilot [project] will diminish portions of the information blockage by – on a limited test basis – establishing internet connections using multiple redundant devices in order to improve intra and intergroup communications channels. The pilot will . . . [e]nable target beneficiaries via training to use ICT devices to connect to the internet so that they can have regular and direct contact with each other and with JBDC, as well as enable access to a large volume [of] data and information not previously accessed . . . .” (p 18)

74. Upon information and belief, USAID, and the United States’ diplomatic mission in Cuba, were required to communicate with each other regularly regarding Mr. Gross’ trips to Cuba.

75. Upon information and belief, Mr. Gross was not provided with the same information that Defendants USAID and DAI possessed regarding the specific risks involved in performing this kind of project in Cuba. (p 19)

76. As discussed further below, Defendants DAI and United States breached their duty to protect Mr. Gross from specific risks that Defendants, based on their position, had the unique ability to know. Defendants also ignored Mr. Gross’ own expressions of concern about the Project, opting instead to continue an operation from which Defendant DAI stood to benefit financially and that Defendant United States was committed to ideologically. (p 20)

83. Instead, Defendant United States continued, without any adjustment, the Cuba ICT Project, using Mr. Gross as a pawn in its overall Cuban policy efforts. (P21)

91. A failure by Mr. Gross to complete the work would have jeopardized not only the millions of dollars owed to DAI by USAID on the Cuba Task Order, but, upon information and belief, also would have jeopardized other existing, and future, business generally between DAI and USAID. (p22)

102. In his fourth trip memorandum, Mr. Gross began his section on risk with the following sentence in bold lettering: “In no uncertain terms, this is very risky business.” To illustrate the risks involved, he described an incident during which Cuban customs officials attempted to seize some of his team’s equipment when they arrived at the airport in Havana. Fourth Trip Memo. at 5. He described efforts by Cuban authorities to detect or “sniff out” wireless networks and other unauthorized radio frequency use, especially outside of Havana. . He reiterated that the detection of these networks could result in arrests of his contacts there. (pp 23-24)

117. Notwithstanding the verdict by the Cuban court, Mr. Gross’ activities were entirely lawful under the laws of the United States. (p 26)

129. Mr. and Mrs. Gross likewise have suffered significant economic losses due to Mr. Gross’s wrongful arrest and continuing wrongful detention. (p 30)

139. Defendant United States’ breaches of its duties were a direct and proximate cause of Mr. Gross’ detention and imprisonment in Cuba and the injuries and damages suffered as a result. (p 32)

152. Defendant DAI’s breaches of its duties were a direct and proximate cause of Mr. Gross’ detention and imprisonment in Cuba and the injuries and damages suffered as a result. (p 34)

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