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NCA Alert: Fiddles Sticks Case Briefed, In Hands of Appellate Court

Attorneys for Fiddlesticks Country Club this week filed a reply brief in Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal in Fiddlesticks Country Club v. Potter, a case that could have far-reaching implications for private clubs in Florida and beyond.

The National Club Association (NCA) filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in January in support of Fiddlesticks; the case centers on whether bylaws in effect at the time a member joins the club constitute a contractual agreement that is not subject to change unless both parties explicitly agree to the changes. In this instance, the lower court ruled that notwithstanding amendments to the bylaws voted on by the entire membership of the club, the bylaws in effect when the plaintiff joined the club are a binding contract and not amendable. The ruling is directly contradictory to recent case law and unless overturned would have a negative impact on any club in Florida that has changed its bylaws in the last 10 years.

With the club’s filing this week, the case is considered “perfected,” and in the hands of the court. The court could decide to hear oral arguments or issue a decision based on the briefs. Oral arguments would likely be scheduled for several months from now. If the court chooses to rule based on briefs, a decision could be made in six to nine months. NCA will keep members updated.

For more information, contact NCA Vice President of Government Relations Joe Trauger at 202-684-8753.