Alan Gross Settles Suit on ‘Risky’ Work in Cuba
Jewish State Department Contractor Still Jailed on ‘Spy’ Charge
An American contractor imprisoned in Cuba has settled a lawsuit in which he accused the company he was working for when he was arrested and the U.S. government with failing to warn him about the risks of working on the communist-controlled island.
Alan Gross and his wife Judy filed the $60 million lawsuit in November 2012 against the U.S. government and Development Alternatives Inc, a Bethesda, Maryland, contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The suit claimed Gross, 64, should have been given better information and training for his work increasing Internet access and the flow of communications. Gross was working for Development Alternatives under a contract with USAID.
The settlement with Development Alternatives was filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington. The terms were not disclosed. The U.S. government is not included in the settlement.
Gross has been jailed in Cuba since December 2009. He is serving a 15-year sentence for providing Internet gear to Jewish Cubans under a U.S. program that Cuba views as subversive. The United States insists Gross was merely helping the local population get connected as part of a democracy-building project.
Information is tightly controlled on the Caribbean island, Internet use is limited and visitors are not allowed to carry satellite technology.
Since his detention, Gross’ wife has said he had lost 100 pounds (45 kg), has had chronic arthritis pain and what could be a cancerous tumor beneath a shoulder blade.
Gross and his wife also sued New Jersey-based Federal Insurance Co in Maryland District Court in November 2012. They claimed that the company, part of Chubb Corp, had wrongfully refused benefits under what the suit cited as “a wrongful detention” clause.