THE NAKED LADY RANCH, INC., a Florida not-for-profit corporation, Appellant,
MICHAEL WYCOKI, JR., Appellee.
final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit,
Martin County; Barbara W. Bronis, Judge; L.T. Case No.
C. Borucke of Cole Scott & Kissane, P.A., Tampa, and
Steven L. Brannock of Brannock & Humphries, Tampa, for
Jonathan Mann and Robin Bresky of the Law Offices of Robin
Bresky, Boca Raton, for appellee.
the Naked Lady Ranch, Inc. ("NLRI"), appeals an
adverse final judgment entered following a bench trial in its
action for declaratory relief, nuisance, and injunctive
relief. This case arose out of NLRI's suspension and
termination of the defendant, Michael Wycoki, as a member. We
hold that the trial court erred in conducting a de novo
inquiry into the merits of NLRI's disciplinary decision,
and that the defendant's membership was suspended and
terminated pursuant to a procedure that was fair and
reasonable and carried out in good faith as required by
section 617.0607(1), Florida Statutes. We therefore reverse
for entry of judgment in favor of NLRI on its claims for
declaratory and injunctive relief.
Naked Lady Ranch is an aviation community in Martin County
that consists of fifty private residences on parcels of at
least five acres. By stipulation, the parties agreed that the
covenants in the Declaration do not run with the land.
a not-for-profit corporation that was incorporated to provide
"physical facilities of private roads and of aircraft
runways" for its members. To be a member of NLRI, a
person must own five acres of land within the community, make
a written application to NLRI's Board, and receive Board
approval. NLRI's governing documents do not contain a
formal, written disciplinary procedure.
signing his membership application, the defendant agreed that
he "may be suspended" if his "actions violate
the trust of acceptable airport operations," and that
"commercial operations are not permitted" at the
his membership in NLRI, the defendant paid a private pilot to
fly his twin-engine airplane out of the NLRI airport early in
the morning about once or twice a week, transporting himself
and several co-workers to work at medical clinics around the
state. The co-workers were paid by their employer for the
time they spent flying to work.
counsel sent the defendant a letter informing him that
NLRI's Board had called a meeting to review his
membership status. The letter alleged that the defendant was
using the NLRI facilities for commercial operations.
meeting, the defendant was represented by counsel. The
meeting included opening statements, witnesses, evidence, and
cross-examination. Following the meeting, the Board suspended
the defendant's membership, finding that he was
conducting a commercial activity and was operating a
"for hire aircraft."
counsel sent the defendant's counsel a letter inviting
him to provide additional "evidence, if any, that he is
not conducting a commercial activity." The letter also
warned that, should the defendant continue to use the runways
during the suspension, the Board would conduct a meeting to
terminate his membership.
defendant continued to take early morning flights out of the
NLRI airport during his suspension. The Board held another
meeting on the defendant's membership status. The
defendant's attorney was initially present, but left
shortly after the meeting started. Following the meeting, the
Board terminated the defendant's membership due to his
continued use of the NLRI facilities during his suspension,