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National Club Association Testifies in Fiddlesticks Case Appeal

The National Club Association (NCA) yesterday testified in the Florida Sixth District Court of Appeals in support of Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fiddlesticks Country Club v. Potter 

The case centers on whether bylaws in effect at the time a member joins a club constitute a contractual agreement that is not subject to change unless both parties explicitly agree to the changes. A 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, despite a membership vote to amend them.

Attorney Frank A. Shepherd, GrayRobinson, testified on behalf of NCA that the initial ruling should be overturned based on the “arbitrary, capricious and bad faith test.” “This was a very reasoned decision made by the membership,” he said, noting that in a recent survey, all participating Florida clubs responded they had changed bylaws and all had clauses in their membership agreements allowing them to do so at the discretion of their boards of directors.

NCA President & CEO Joe Trauger and attorney member Robyn Nordin Stowell, Spencer Fane LLP, also attended the hearing.

Shepherd joined attorneys for Fiddlesticks in arguing the initial ruling should be overturned. “Virtually all private club documents have an amendability provision in them,” he said, noting that the original court decision was of concern to all NCA member clubs. 

NCA filed an amicus brief in the case in January 2022. A decision from the appeals court is expected later this year. 

About NCA

The National Club Association (NCA) has been the advocate for the private club industry in Washington, D.C., for more than 60 years. As the voice of private clubs on Capitol Hill, NCA ensures that club concerns are forefront when legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry are being decided. In addition, NCA provides club leaders an outstanding array of resources on club industry trends, governance best practices, legal and operational matters and ways to strengthen club leadership.

For more information, contact Kim Fernandez, CAE, vice president of communications: [email protected].