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Legal Memorandum: Discrimination at Private Clubs or Resorts

Issue: Whether a private club, association, or resort will be held legally accountable for discriminatory practices based on race or other impermissible forms of discrimination.

Area of Law: Constitutional Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Private club, association, or resort; Public-type activity lacking; Legally Accountability
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 896 P.2d 776; 576 A.2d 241; 47 F. Supp. 2d 506; 219 A.2d 161; 350 N.Y.S.2d 273; 825 A.2d 480; 632 F.2d 309; 879 So. 2d 121; 23 F. Supp. 2d 1254; 429 F. Supp. 661; 438 F. Supp. 316; 316 N.E.2d 318; 638 A.2d 1322; 462 F.2d 634; 894 F.2d 83
Cited Statutes: 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983; Civil Rights Act § 201(e); 42 U.S.C. § 2000a(e); 42 U.S.C. §§ 19981, 2000a(e); N.Y. Exec. Law § 292(9); Pa. Stat. tit. 43, § 951
Date: 01/01/2005

  Daniel E. Feld, Annotation, Private Club Coverage Under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, 49 A.L.R. Fed. 590 (2004) (explaining that it may be necessary, in order to find liability, to establish that some public-type activity of the club removes the cloak of protection afforded by its “private” status).

Donald T. Kramer, Annotation, Construction and Application of § 201(e) of the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 2000a(e)), Excluding from the Act’s Coverage Private Clubs and Other Establishments Not in Fact Open to the Public, 8 A.L.R. Fed. 634 (2004) (same).

Jay M. Zitter, Annotation, What Constitutes Private Club or Association Not Othersie Open to Public That Is Exempt from State Civil Rights Statute, 83 A.L.R.5th 467 (2004) (same, under state as opposed to federal law).

Cf. Martha V. Kazarosian, Cause of Action Against Private Club or Association for Sex-based Discrimination, 21 C.O.A.2d 247 (2003).

Race Discrimination Cases

Race discrimination cases discussing and applying the above-referenced concepts include:

Citizens Council on Human Relations v. Buffalo Yacht Club, 438 F. Supp. 316 (W.D.N.Y. 1977) (seven individuals and three organizations sued private yacht club, city, and various city officials alleging discrimination based on race, religion, and sex in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and various federal civil rights statutes, including 42 U.S.C. § 1983; court held that the amended complaint alleged sufficient facts to show that the city had significantly involved itself with the alleged discriminatory practices of the yacht club and that its conduct amounted to […]

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