White v. Bald Head Island Yacht Club (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-16-0933, 15 pp.) (Wanda G. Bryant, J.) Appealed from Brunswick County Superior Court (Ola M. Lewis, J.) N.C. App. Unpub. Full-text opinion.
Holding: Plaintiff signed the defendant-yacht club’s application for membership, which states, “I understand that membership at Bald Head Island Yacht Club will be a membership in a private club and that acceptance for membership is subject to my being approved for membership and payment of the required purchase price and dues.” Notwithstanding plaintiff’s alleged intentions, the record reflects that what she purchased was a membership in the yacht club, not a property interest in a boat slip.
We affirm summary judgment for defendants.
Plaintiff was issued a Non-Restricted Membership Certificate in the yacht club. The yacht club’s bylaws indicate that the yacht club offers three types of memberships, “each entitling a Member to the exclusive use of a designated boatslip in the Marina.” A Non-Restricted Member is said to have “the exclusive right to use a designated boatslip in the Marina.”
A review of the record also indicates that the yacht club’s membership plan – a summary of the membership opportunities offered by the yacht club – explicitly states that the yacht club does not own but leases a designated portion of the marina. Therefore, plaintiff could not have contracted to gain a property interest in a boat slip since the yacht club did not have a property interest to convey, making plaintiff’s claim an impossibility.
Furthermore, taking the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the express terms of the membership application and certificate of membership are clear and unambiguous that the conveyance plaintiff received was a membership in the yacht club.
With regard to plaintiff’s unfair trade practices claim, there is no evidence in the record of unfairness or deception. The undisputed facts show that plaintiff’s membership application to the yacht club stated that the fees paid were for membership to a private club; plaintiff’s membership certificate stated that it gave her the exclusive right to use, as opposed to ownership of, the boatslip.