Golf Legend Jack Nicklaus Files Motion to Dismiss Fraudulent Misrepresentation Suit

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According to summary judgment motion papers filed by Jack Nicklaus on January 14, 2015, the golf legend asked the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ $1.5 million claim. The action, filed in Utah federal court, rises from the plaintiffs’ investment in a planned golf course and the defendants’ alleged false representations.

The planned golf course was set to be built in Southern Utah for $3.5 billion. However, the luxury resort went bankrupt in 2009.

Plaintiffs Jeffrey and Judee Donner filed suit in 2011, claiming Jack Nicklaus was named as a “charter member” in marketing materials, which prompted the couple to invest.  A brochure stated that “Mount Holly Club and Jack Nicklaus invite you . . . to become a charter member.”  The plaintiffs claim they believed Nicklaus also made a $1.5 million investment and that they relied upon it in making their investment.

Among other procedural contentions, Nicklaus’ argument for dismissing the claim is that the plaintiffs did not reasonably rely on a false representation in choosing to make their investment.  Plaintiff Jeffrey Donner admitted in deposition testimony that he “did not think about” whether Nicklaus provided consideration for his membership, and therefore, the golf legend contends Mr. Donner cannot prove “actual reliance” — a necessary element of a fraudulent misrepresentation claim.

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