ClubCorp Member Sues Over Fees Charged During COVID-19

By Hailey Konnath
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Law360 (April 24, 2020, 10:36 PM EDT) -- ClubCorp USA Inc. is wrongly forcing its thousands of private club members to continue paying monthly membership fees even though all of its clubs around the country are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, one member told a California federal court.

California resident Jeffrey Cuenco lodged a proposed class action against ClubCorp on Thursday, though his attorney Ronald Marron told Law360 on Friday that the the complaint will be withdrawn because ClubCorp is filing for bankruptcy — an assertion the company denied.

Marron told Law360 the suit was "filed in error," though no notice of voluntary dismissal had been filed in the Southern District of California's online court system as of Friday night. A ClubCorp spokesman told Law360 on Friday the company was not filing for bankruptcy protection.

According to Cuenco, the club operator closed all of its private clubs in March in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, and unlike its competitors, ClubCorp has continued to charge its monthly membership fees at full price, Cuenco said, adding that the company can do so without the consent of members because it has their debit and credit card information.

"Thus, defendant has made the deliberate decision to bilk its customers out of a monthly membership fee while its members do not have access to defendant's private clubs," Cuenco said.

ClubCorp, which is based in Dallas, operates about 200 clubs throughout the country. Its monthly membership fees range from $120 for social memberships to $800 for some golf club memberships, according to the suit.

Cuenco said he's a member of the University Club in San Diego and pays $184 a month. Last week, Cuenco said he saw that the club had charged him the full $184 fee even though he hasn't had access to the facilities since March. And the company hasn't refunded him, he said in the suit.

Cuenco is looking to represent a nationwide class of potentially thousands of members who have been charged fees while the clubs have been closed, as well as a California subclass.

In the suit, Cuenco alleged violations of California's Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law, along with breach of contract and unjust enrichment claims. He's after unspecified damages, attorney fees and court costs.

Cuenco is represented by Ronald A. Marron, Michael T. Houchin and Lilach Halperin of the Law Offices of Ronald A. Marron APLC.

Counsel information for ClubCorp wasn't immediately available Friday.

The case is Jeffrey Cuenco v. ClubCorp USA Inc., case number 3:20-cv-00774, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

--Editing by Daniel King.

For a reprint of this article, please contact reprints@law360.com.

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Case Information

Case Title

Cuenco v. ClubCorp USA, Inc.


Case Number

3:20-cv-00774

Court

California Southern

Nature of Suit

Other Fraud

Judge

Janis L. Sammartino

Date Filed

April 23, 2020

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