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Alfred Dunhill of London, Inc. v. Republic of Cuba
United States Supreme Court
425 U.S. 682 (1976)
In 1960 the Republic of Cuba (Cuba) confiscated five major Cuban cigar businesses and assigned so-called interventors to operate them. The cigar businesses sold cigars to American importers, and after confiscation, the interventors continued to send cigars to the American importers. Former owners (plaintiffs) of the cigar businesses who had moved to the United States filed suit in federal court against the importers (defendants). Cuba and the interventors were permitted to intervene. The former owners and interventors both asserted rights to payments that were mistakenly made by the importers to the interventors for cigars shipped before the confiscation. The importers had demanded that the interventors return the funds, but the interventors refused. The interventors were authorized by Cuba to operate the commercial enterprises of the cigar businesses, but no evidence suggested that Cuba had expressly authorized the interventors to refuse repayment of money owed. The district court held that the former owners were entitled to the money from purchases of cigars made up to the time of the confiscation. On appeal, the court of appeals applied the act-of-state doctrine. The court of appeals found that the interventors failed to return the money mistakenly paid by the importers as demanded by the importers, but that the interventors’ refusal constituted an act of state that could not be reviewed by a United States court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)
Concurrence (Stevens, J.)
Concurrence (Powell, J.)
Dissent (Marshall, J.)
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