Cuban prisoner settles lawsuit against Md. company

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm •  Published: May 16, 2013
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WASHINGTON (AP) — An American imprisoned in Cuba settled a lawsuit Thursday against the company he was working for when arrested, a lawsuit that claimed he wasn't properly warned about or prepared for the risks of working in the communist nation.

Alan Gross and his wife filed the lawsuit in November against the U.S. government and Bethesda, Md.,-based Development Alternatives Inc., a contractor for the government's U.S. Agency for International Development. The $60 million lawsuit claimed Gross should have been provided with better information and training for his work setting up internet access points in Cuba.

Lawyers for DAI and the U.S. government had previously asked a judge to dismiss the lawsuit. One of the lawyers' arguments was that federal law barred the lawsuit because it was based on an injury suffered in a foreign country.

Gross, 64, was arrested in Cuba in December 2009 on his fifth trip to work with Cuba's Jewish community set up internet access points.

Gross was working for DAI under a contract with USAID, which does work to promote peaceful democratic change on the island. Cuba considers USAID's programs illegal attempts by the U.S. to undermine the communist government, and court documents show Gross took steps to avoid detection and believed he was engaged in "very risky business."

A Cuban court subsequently convicted Gross of crimes against the state and sentenced him to 15 years in prison.

Lawyers filed a notice of the settlement Thursday in federal court in Washington. The settlement amount was not disclosed, and the agreement only covers Development Alternatives Inc., also known as DAI, not the government.