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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 20301
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. experience with Real Estate
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Hi, I am researching a case; Post v Belmont Country Club,

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I am researching a case; Post v Belmont Country Club, Inc., 60 Mass.App.Ct. 645, 6 (2004) and trying to determine whether a written contract existed that tied Post to the by-laws of the Club. It states at P. 647 "When Post became a member of the club, he entered into an obligation, in the nature of a contract, to be bound by the club's rules and by-laws..." Do you read this as an agreement was signed that Post agreed to be bound or do you read it as no written agreement exists.

Thank you for the information and your question. Per the court's statements, there was no traditionally signed contract directly related to the by-laws. The court specifically points out: "...The terms and conditions of the contract were expressed by the constitution and by-laws, which defined not only the benefits and privileges secured but also the duties and obligations assumed." They go on to discuss the facts by saying: "...the estate argues that there is no evidence that Post assented to the clause requiring release and indemnity, and therefor neither he nor his estate should be bound. We conclude that in becoming a member of the club, Post should be charged with knowledge of the Club's by-laws and rules and regulations, and that his actual knowledge of the provision need not be shown in order that the provision apply. Decisions both in Massachusetts and elsewhere support this conclusion. In Massachusetts, a member of an incorporated co-operative banking society is charged with knowledge of the society's by-laws, Richardson v. Devine, 193 Mass. 336 , 338 (1907), as is a stockholder with respect to provisions as to preference contained in an agreement of association, Crimmins & Peirce Co. v. Kidder Peabody Acceptance Corp., 282 Mass. 367 , 375 (1933)."

It is clear from the facts of the case as discussed by the court that there was no signature involved in agreeing to the by-laws, etc., and no need for one to be bound. As long as the club could prove that he had constructive notice of the rules, he was bound.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you. Relative to the above, I am involved as plaintiff (pro se) in a motion to compel arbitration. The Defendant is using the above argument in their Reply Brief. They say that given my Response; that there is no agreement that binds me to the by-laws (defendant made a mistake in not getting the proper paperwork when I joined the club) that by virtue of becoming a member I am required to adhere to the by-law provision to go to arbitration. However, the whole reason we are here is because they forged an application for my membership and used it when I requested my deposit back upon leaving the Club. So they originally used this altered document which led to the Complaint, then they do not use it in their motion, and now say that no agreement was required. FYI: the forged application aside from referring to the bylaws included material changes, one of which is not even in the by-laws.

Question: how can I defend their new "angle"? Can I say that any agreement that may have existed between the parties was invalidated when they forged a document and represented it as the contract?

Hello again and thank you for your reply. Unfortunately I cannot give you legal advice since that would violate the TOS of this Site that we both agreed to as Users of this Site. In addition, I am working a bit in the dark since this isn't a case I have all of the facts, files, etc. for. That said, your strongest argument appears to be the forgery you say they executed. That would be a breach of the covenant of good faith and their fiduciary duty. So, yes, I would argue that the mandatory arbitration is not applicable because of that. Also, since this is an "agreement" that was drafted by the opposing party, the court will interpret it in a light most favorable to the person who didn't draft it.

That said, mandatory arbitration is not necessarily a bad way to resolve these issues. So, I wouldn't automatically assume that is not a way for you to prevail. Ultimately though, that is your decision.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi...I understand your not being able to give advice. Clarification on "agreement" above. Are you referring to the document I said they forged?

Yes, the document they forged, which my understanding is the actual membership application, which is the basis for applying all of the by-laws, etc. to you.
Marsha411JD and 3 other Real Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

Hello again, I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the legal answer I provided to you on the 13th.

If not, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to assist you further in the future. Thank you