X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A Connecticut developer’s lawsuit against Westchester’s historic Winged Foot Golf Club and 10 of its members, stemming from the club’s denial of his membership application, has been dismissed. Corey A. Kupersmith, who has garnered headlines for his protracted and unsuccessful battle to found a luxury golf club on Martha’s Vineyard, initiated the action, Kupersmith v. Winged Foot Golf Club, 20312/04. He alleged that the “defendants formed a cabal to humiliate [him for] having failed to secure valuable business benefits for some of the defendants,” according to Westchester Supreme Court Justice Kenneth W. Rudolph’s decision. Specifically, Kupersmith claimed Winged Foot encouraged him to confer “special business opportunities” upon its members by making him a “special house member” in 1998, according to the decision. In 2003, member Arthur Plant sponsored Kupersmith for membership, but when Kupersmith was unable to “deliver a business advantage” to another member, “all of the individual defendants embarked upon a campaign of defamation and humiliation,” the decision said. Founded in 1923, the Mamaroneck golf course has been home to the U.S. Open three times, and will host the event again in 2006. Winged Foot ranked ninth in Golf Digest‘s 2004 survey of the country’s best courses. Eventually, Plant rescinded his sponsorship and Kupersmith then filed suit. He alleged that “the ripple effect of defendants’ slanders began to chill plaintiff’s business opportunities and social life, minimally costing [him] an opportunity to make $1 million on a [planned] deal,” Rudolph wrote. Last week, the judge granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the case in its entirety. Kupersmith pursued eight separate causes of action including fraud, defamation, tortious interference with contractual relations, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and breach of contract and the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Justice Randolph addressed each cause of action separately, but dedicated particular attention — four of the decision’s 16 pages — to analyzing the defamation claim. He excerpted each of the nine letters to the Winged Foot board sent by individual defendants that, according to Kupersmith, constituted defamation. Defendant James W. Fitzgerald, for example, wrote that Kupersmith, “has a reputation for being ill-mannered, self-centered, overbearing and obnoxious,” according to the decision. James D. Graham’s letter “recites plaintiff’s brash behavior, total lack of respect for rules of golf, self-absorption and lack [of] social grace.” The court dismissed the defamation charge, finding among other things that the letters were protected by a qualified privilege and that Kupersmith’s allegations lacked evidentiary facts of malice. Kupersmith’s attorney, Manhattan-based litigator Richard B. Herman, said his client intends to appeal. Randolph “misapplied the case law and the progeny under [CPLR] 32.11. He never should have dismissed the case at this point,” Herman said. “We’re going to fight this thing to the end.” The defendants’ attorneys, John S. Martin Jr. and Jeffrey S. Jacobson of Debevoise & Plimpton, did not return phone messages.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.