Golf Club Members to Court: Trump Not Entitled To Summary Judgment

A Florida Federal District Court received a response in opposition for summary judgment motion on Monday November 30, 2015, by a class of former Ritz-Carlton Golf Club & Spa members seeking refunds on allegedly denied membership deposits. The response motion was filed against Donald Trump’s Jupiter Golf Club LLC, which had moved for summary judgment earlier this year. Trump had purchased the highly-touted Florida country club in 2012.

The class argues that Trump bought the club on condition it abide by the then-existing membership agreements for individual members at the time of the sale, which expressly provided for deposit refunds in the event of termination of certain club activities, such as access to tennis courts, or in the event of a change in ownership. Trump had argued that the membership agreements were written so as to give the club an absolute right to amend the agreements at will, and that per the terms of the new club, any member who terminated his or her agreement was not entitled to a refund on their deposit. According to the response motion, membership deposits at the club ranged between $35,000 and $210,000 per year.

The class takes a very legal approach in its motion against why Trump and the club are not entitled to summary judgment, arguing that defendants fail to meet their burden under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, which requires a party to prove the existence of undisputed material facts and its legal right to judgment as a matter of law. Further, the class believes Trump is missing the entirety of the point of the preexisting membership agreements and the stipulation they were to be honored after the sale, stating “Trump confuses Plaintiffs’ personal disinterest in continuing to frequent the Club with a continuing legal interest they have to receive a refund under their Membership Agreements.”

The case is set for trial in March 2016.

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