Law360 Reports on Sean Haran and Jake Gardener’s Third Circuit Victory on Behalf of Tripadvisor


On August 18, Sean Haran and Jake Gardener secured a decisive victory in the Third Circuit on behalf of Tripadvisor.

The case—Glen v. Tripadvisor—involved a claim that Tripadvisor and other defendants “trafficked” in confiscated Cuban property in violation of the Helms-Burton Act by facilitating travel to four beachfront resorts that sit on land that allegedly once belonged to the plaintiff’s family.  The plaintiff sought statutory damages in the amount of three times the current value of the four properties.  The case involved novel issues of statutory interpretation — although the Helms-Burton Act was passed in 1996, the provisions at issue had been suspended continuously until 2017, meaning this was one of the first suits of its kind.  WMH obtained dismissal of the lawsuit in 2021 in Delaware District Court, successfully arguing that the plaintiff’s trafficking claim was barred by the plain terms of the Act, an especially impressive feat given the dearth of caselaw on point and the fact that the congressmen who sponsored the Act submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff.

The Third Circuit affirmed, adopting WMH’s argument that the Court need not even reach the merits because the action was foreclosed by collateral estoppel.

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