Class Action Claims Luxury Penn. Resort Wrongfully Wiped Out ‘Lifetime’ Club Memberships [UPDATE]
Last Updated on March 7, 2023
Hook et al. v. Nemacolin Woodlands, Inc. et al.
Filed: March 23, 2021 ◆§ 2:21-cv-00387-M
A class action alleges the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort has wrongfully terminated the pricey lifetime memberships of those in the exclusive Nemacolin 400 Club without notice or compensation in return.
March 7, 2023 – $10M Settlement Reached in Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Class Action
The proposed class action outlined on this page has been settled for $10 million.
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The settlement will cover anyone who obtained a Nemacolin Resort 400 Club membership between January 1, 1989, and March 23, 2021, and did not sell, transfer, terminate, cancel or otherwise relinquish control of the membership.
As part of the settlement, Nemacolin will create a $10 million cash fund, “which will provide substantial and immediate benefits for the Settlement Class,” the parties said in a memo in support of the deal.
If the settlement is given final approval, eligible class members will receive a cash payment no later than 45 days after the final order of approval, court documents state. Those who are eligible for a payment from the settlement do not need to do anything, i.e., file a claim, to receive compensation.
Consumers who are eligible for a payment from the settlement will be identified through 400 Club records provided by Nemacolin to the settlement administrator. Those who feel they may be covered by the deal should keep an eye out for notices, which will be sent via first-class mail.
United States Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly granted preliminary approval to the parties’ joint settlement motion on January 19, 2023. According to court documents, initial mediation efforts were unsuccessful between August 2021 and May 2022, and the proposed settlement terms had to be amended after their original filing in September of last year.
According to the order, the parties agreed to resolve the case to “avoid the expense, uncertainties, and burden of protracted litigation.” Judge Kelly said in the 25-page order that the preliminary settlement terms were “fair, reasonable, and adequate” and the “product of informed, good-faith, arm’s length negotiations between the Parties and their counsel.”
Those who choose to “opt out” of the deal will receive no share of the settlement but will retain the right to pursue individual claims against Nemacolin.
Benefits from the settlement will be distributed if and when the deal receives final approval from the court and any appeals are resolved. A final approval hearing is scheduled for April 13, 2023.
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A proposed class action alleges the owners and managers of Farmington, Pennsylvania’s Nemacolin Woodlands Resort have wrongfully terminated the pricey lifetime memberships of those in the exclusive Nemacolin 400 Club without notice or compensation in return.
Filed by two West Virginia residents, the 19-page lawsuit alleges the defendants—Nemacolin Woodlands, Inc.; Nemacolin Woodlands Resort; Nemacolin, Inc. and NWL, Co.—have fraudulently misrepresented that Nemacolin 400 Club members who paid a “one-time initiation fee” would be in for life and able to access certain golf courses, facilities and amenities not open to others.
The defendants, however, wrongfully “terminated, dishonored, and/or disregarded” proposed class members’ 400 Club memberships without notice sometime last year, meaning those who paid for the privilege could no longer access the resort’s golf courses and certain facilities and amenities for which they paid “significant sums,” the lawsuit alleges. According to the suit, the defendants, soon after terminating proposed class members’ 400 Club memberships, began to offer certain individuals membership to a “substantially similar,” and similarly pricey, program, dubbed the “Woodlands Club.”
“Upon information and belief, Defendants began offering membership to the Woodlands Club for an initiation fee of approximately $25,000, and an additional $10,000 in annual maintenance fees,” the lawsuit says. “To date, despite their representations to Plaintiffs and the public, Defendants continue to refuse to honor Plaintiffs’ 400 Club Memberships.”
The Nemacolin Woodland Resort offers premium hotel accommodations, fine dining, two on-premises golf courses, spa facilities and other amenities, the lawsuit begins. The resort, which the suit says has garnered national attention after being featured on The Bachelor and The Real Housewives of the Potomac, began offering around 1988 lifetime memberships to what it called the Nemacolin 400 Club, whose members were granted “special access” to the golf courses, pool and fitness facilities, membership parties and events and a number of other amenities, the complaint says. Members of the 400 Club were also the recipients of discounted rates for the golf courses and spa and wellness services, as well as the Nemacolin Field Club, Off-Road Driving Academy, restaurants and retail purchases, according to the case.
400 Club members also have the privilege of purchasing 400 Club Plus memberships, the dues for which ranged annually from $2,700 for individuals and $3,300 for families, the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs allege that although Nemacolin Woodlands represented to the public that the one-time initiation fee was all it took to become a lifetime 400 Club member, they and other 400 Club members were informed by the defendants last year that their memberships would be terminated and no longer honored, meaning they could no longer access the Nemacolin golf courses or certain resort facilities and amenities. Seemingly in the 400 Club’s place came from the defendants the “Woodlands Club,” which the lawsuit relays costs substantially more in initiation fees.
In all, the lawsuit alleges the defendants agreed to provide access to certain facilities, services, amenities, discounts, benefits and other privileges in exchange for payment to join the 400 Club yet breached their contractual obligations to the plaintiffs and proposed class members.
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