Javier A. Lopez
Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton
Javier A. Lopez has dedicated over 1,000 hours in pro bono matters ranging from an international discrimination case against Cuban nationals by Carnival Corp. to a police brutality case against the Hollywood police department.
Lopez’s work in a high-profile case resulted in an immediate, unprecedented policy change by the Cuban government in its treatment of Cuban-born U.S. citizens. It marks the first time since the Castro government took over in 1959 that Cuba has changed a discriminatory policy at the insistence of the United States.
When Miami-based Carnival became the first U.S. cruise line approved by the Cuban government to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, the company planned to honor the Cuban government’s practice of denying ship passage to people born in Cuba.
Lopez, the president of the Cuban American Bar Association, filed federal and state class action lawsuits in the month before the first cruise scheduled for May 1, 2016, seeking an emergency injunction against Carnival subsidiary Fathom.
Pressure mounted on the company when Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, a Cuban-born naturalized U.S. citizen, asked for a legal opinion on whether Carnival was violating the county code by banning passengers based on national origin.
Carnival agreed to suspend cruises to Cuba until the decadesold policy was withdrawn, and the Cuban government quickly rescinded its ban. The lawsuit was withdrawn before the inaugural cruise launched. But delicate negotiations continued for months to avoid a recurrence.
In the Hollywood police brutality case, Lopez reached a $242,000 settlement, and his indigent client received an apology from a police captain. Lopez spent hundreds of hours and took 17 depositions to resolve the case, which settled for the highest amount in the history of the department.
His work for the client continues on a different front, with Lopez working with health care providers to guarantee mental health services from the Veterans Administration.