Prince Lobel’s client, Aroldis Chapman, a former Cuban national and star relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, was sued by Juan Carlos Thompson who claimed to have signed a seven-year contract to act as Mr. Chapman’s personal assistant. Chapman, who defected from Cuba while traveling in Holland with the Cuban National baseball team in 2009, allegedly signed this contract in Spain shortly after his escape.
Chapman later signed a multimillion contract with the Reds, and Thompson filed suit claiming breach of contract and seeking a seven-figure recovery. Prince Lobel succeeded in getting the contract thrown out based on the rules governing the United States embargo against Cuba. Since Chapman was a Cuban national at the time the contract was entered into, and because Thompson was not authorized by the Secretary of the Treasury to enter into a contract with Chapman, “the contract is null and void pursuant to the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.”
According to Dan Tarlow, “What people don’t realize is that the Cuban embargo applies to a lot more than just Cuban cigars. As this case shows, it is perfectly appropriate to cite it in connection with the contract of a major league baseball player.”