Thursday, February 5, 2015

Club Bylaws Can't Work Retroactive Arbitration

Cobb v. Ironwood Country Club, No. G050446 (D4d3 Jan. 28, 2015)

Some folks are in a dispute with their country club. Four months into the litigation, the club revised its bylaws to say that any member-club disputes go to arbitration. No doubt you would be shocked to hear that that doesn’t work to require the members to arbitrate their already-pending case against the club. Even though bylaws are a contract between an association and its members, a contract can’t be unilaterally amended by one party with retroactive effect to the other party’s detriment without some kind of consideration. Prior cases address this point specifically in the arbitration context.

Affirmed.

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