Monday, 29 June 2015

( Bigot-Johnson provides the answer )

For years many people have wanted to know the true identity of Bob Dylan's character , the man in the long black coat.  Theories about who he is are numerous. Is he the Devil ?  The Phantom Of The Opera ?  An East European spy  ? A silent assassin ?  Zorro ?  Or is he nothing more than a random stranger , who simply leaves the narrator cynical and bitter over the stealing of his true love ? 

Well , Bigot-Johnson knows the answer , having provided Bob with the inspiration for his classic song. The man in the long black coat is the archetypal bridge player , who reflects the darker side of the human psyche , as so often witnessed inside  bridge clubs when results become a matter of life or death.

" Some people don't live or die , they just float "  completely sums up this enigmatic man.  A player who floats from one partner to another , leaving each and every one emotionally drained and exhausted. Every bridge club has one in its midst. Every bridge club becomes his feasting ground.

The poem which Bigot sent Bob to fire up his imagination and great story telling can now be seen below for the very first time.

He's mysterious and scary , aloof and remote
For he is the man in the long black coat
He lives in the shadows,  not one to dote
On clueless players not worthy of note
When he holds court he's ready to quote
Extracts from articles which he once wrote
About hunting rabbits like a predatory stoat
Shafting them in ways which led him to gloat
So if you're his partner do watch your throat 
For a vampire is a man in a long black coat 

Saturday, 27 June 2015

MAKING A CLAIM.......( A heartfelt rant by Bigot-Johnson )

Slow players do my head in. In fact I hate them as much as a plateful of cold soggy sprouts. So when these buggers arrive at my table I know we will be a board behind the rest of the field. Consequently, the need to catch up requires me to win the auctions , and to make claims at the earliest opportunity. 
Making claims certainly speeds up the game. Moreover , it spares defenders from the agony of playing out a hand ,  especially when there's not even a ghost of a chance of making a trick. But do these slow-coaches rejoice at my efforts to win back some precious time ?  NO THEY DO NOT !
Many will argue the toss and insist that the hand is played out in accordance with the stated line of play. I JUST SIT THERE IN ABJECT DESPAIR.. 
Thank the Lord God I'm not allowed to carry a gun in the UK , because If I were bridge rooms would be littered with dead bodies of those who disputed my irrefutable claims. Once , when I made a claim I didn't state a line of play because I had more tricks available then there were cards in my hand. I had AQ of diamonds in dummy but didn't even need the Ace as a trick , but what did I hear an opponent say ? 
" Excuse me but I have a winning the king of diamonds ". My reply was as sharp as it was instant ; " AM I STUPID OR WHAT ? AM I LIKELY TO TAKE A FINESSE ?  IT'S OBVIOUS I'VE GOT ENOUGH WINNERS ELSEWHERE TO DISCARD BOTH MY BLOODY DIAMONDS  "
But guess what , the director is called over.....alarmed at my decision not to state a line of play. Unbelievably ,  he insists that I am now obliged to finesse the diamond queen , and lose to the tosser's king.  WAS I LIVID ?.... No , that would be a gross understatement. I WAS IN FACT RABID AND READY TO KILL. 
How come I was obliged to adopt this grossly inferior line of play, which only a blind brain-dead novice would make ?  If the rules require the director to impose a normal line of play , then surely " he has to take into account the class and experience of the player involved ?  So given my status as a canny player, what the hell was this evil , scheming biased director up to ? Who knows ....but what I do know is what caused his new Toyota corolla to go up in flames several days later !  
So my advice to all those who quite rightly want to continue making claims , in an attempt to speed up the game ,  can be outlined as follows :
(i) be prepared to grab your opponent by the throat , ensuring eye-to-eye contact , and state your line of play in such a way that he/she listens intently and understands fully 
(ii) and if all the remaining tricks can be harvested up in a multitude of ways , which you inadvertently fail to state one , be prepared to grab the director by the throat to remind him that his ruling to impose a normal line of play must respect you a serious intelligent player... as well as serial arsonist   


Friday, 26 June 2015


As luck would have it being an utterly obnoxious bastard comes very easy to me. I was born with this talent , like a gift from Lucifer himself. Nevertheless ,  for any player who has set out on this all important journey to become loathed and reviled by all , my 12 point guide can help him/her complete the mission with real aplomb. 

1. Do all the things that will annoy other players intensely, such as gloating over their mistakes.
    Pick up bridgemates at every opportunity to slam down on the table if only for theatrical     
    effect. Snap the cards repeatedly. Fidget and squirm about in your seat , whilst strumming 
    your fingers on the table top. The list is endless.

2. Alternate between sharp yells and quiet whispers when engaged in table conversation.
    Forever quiz opponents over their bids even though you know the answers. Use a 
    combination of sly smiles and pugnacious scorn to unnerve and unsettle them. Pounce on 
    them with menacing intent for any actual or perceived misdemeanour on their part. Scream  
    for the director over and over again. And should the director award you a favourable 
    outcome , rub your hands together with glee before chuckling to yourself incessantly.

3. Whenever members are gathered in groups , butt in without invite or warning. Immediately
    take control of the discussion and hold court , firing questions at your captive audience.
    These questions should offer no easy answers , such that any replies can be torn down in
    shreds or rejected as " hopeless ". This of course will provide you with the platform to 
    portray yourself as the club expert , whose technical knowledge and analysis is beyond

4. Never take " no " for an answer , or take any hints of any kind , that your presence is 
    unwanted. Impose yourself upon others with the tenacity of a bloodsucking leech or 

5. Insult all and sundry on any pretext whatsoever. Just do it if only for personal pleasure.
    Belittle their opinions and achievements mercilessly. Use words like rapiers ,  all pointed
    cutting and sharp.   However , should anyone dare to register disapproval of your
    alleged defamatory remarks , brush them aside by stating that you were " only joking ".

6. Never be one to put personal hygiene at the top of your agenda. In fact don't allow it
    on your agenda full stop. Dress like a tramp ( or a sailor ) , never cut or comb your hair ,    
    throw away your shaver , wear shoes without socks , and trousers with flies wide open. 

7. After each and every board harangue your partner irrespective of whether or not you scored
    a top. Partner of course must be found to have done something wrong even if the opposite
    is true. Also you must forcefully remind the opponents of their errors , giving them a stern
    lecture in the process on how to play " proper bridge ". Always assume they were too polite
    to ask for advice. 

8. Develop the masterful art of being excruciatingly smug whenever results go your way. Gloat 
    over each and every top, but sneer , whinge and whine whenever a poor score is recorded. 
    In such unfortunate situations , act as though you were the unwitting victim of cheating or
    some evil conspiracy to make your life difficult. Accuse those out to get you of malicious 
    gossip and persecution. If necessary retreat to the corner of the room , curl up into a ball and 
    blubber like a baby. Indeed , take the art of sulking to unprecedented levels , such that
    unaware and caring members offer you pity,  comfort and sympathy.

9. Despite tearing into opponents who fail to provide identical system cards or adequate 
    descriptions of their alerted or convention bids., seize every goddamn opportunity to shaft  
    easy opponents with a barrage of psychs and off-centre anti-system bids. These should only 
    be done with partners who know their place,  and how to handle such " fishy " situations. 

10. See yourself as the only one in the club who knows how to play proper bridge. In team 
      events always blame the others. In situations where you haven't been appointed captain
      usurp his/her authority and take control of selections , pairings and tactics. 

11. Taunt and tease members in an attempt to exacerbate their inferior feelings about them-
       selves. In between telling dirty jokes , use sexist and racist comments to develop the comic
       side to your persona. Choose the most inappropriate times , but keep on persevering until
       you get the desired result , say when victims of your targeted abuse become acutely hurt
       and embarrassed.

12. Tell appalling lies and use over-the-top exaggerations when looking to defend yourself
       against complaints regarding your conduct , or when wooing unsuspecting new members 
       into gaining their friendship and emotional support. Rid yourself of any moral guide or 
       conscience , but look for opportunities to portray yourself as ethically correct.      

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Tuesday, 23 June 2015


 ( This wonderful three verse poem by Richard Arkell has been skillfully altered to reflect today's reality in the bizarre world of bridge. Verses 2 and 3 remain true to the original but verses 4 and 5 take the theme a stage further , in an attempt to remind players of the predicament they will find themselves in........ should they choose to partner those with a real attitude. )  

Partner arrives like a man with the flu 
Feeling ill at the prospect of partnering you 
He clearly loathes you from the start
But loves to land you in the cart

His face is grim , his soul is grey
He snorts at every card you play
And if you can't return his lead
He hates you very much indeed

He gets my nerves in such a state
By this relentless look of hate
Upon his thin, unfriendly face....
I always manage to trump his Ace

He's never forgiving and quick to blame
Claims you're a duck , useless and lame
He whinges and whines at every turn
Screaming out loud " don't you ever learn "

On every board you hear his moans
Along with insults full of acid tones
Yet when the agony ends , the future's still bleak
For you've just heard him say.........

Friday, 19 June 2015

IT COULD ONLY HAPPEN AT BRIDGE....... ( An almost true story by Bridgemeister Gibson )

Sitting large as life at the table was The Northern Pro , when along came his old long standing Nemisis , the man in the long black coat.
In an uncontested auction the Northern Pro opened 1NT only to wonder why his partner failed to inform the opponents of the point range.On receiving a 2D response the Northern Pro dutifully announced " transfer to hearts " , which he did as instructed. The next bid from partner was 2NT which was followed by 3H , showing 3 card support. Partner then bid 3NT to end the auction.
However , when Nemisis made his opening lead , the Northern Pro was onto him in a flash.
" It's not your lead. I bid no trumps first ". Nemisis turned towards him with an air of contempt :
" But you didn't.....after you opened 1S , you then rebid 2H in response to your alert ." The
Northern Pro was dumbstruck. He had indeed opened 1S when intending to open 1NT only to make an incorrect alert,  and the subsequent explanation of the bid. 
" I want a ruling " said Nemisis , and so the TD was called over. After hearing about the Northern Pro's mechanical error and subsequent false announcement , the TD suggested that the hand should be played out in 3NT , and if the injured parties felt damaged by the result , he should called back to make a decision.
So by making a poor lead against 3NT , Nemisis saw the contract come rolling in for a complete top. He was not a happy bunny. Moreover , he was adamant the final contract should have been four hearts, since the Northern Pro's bidding suggesting that the he had two-suited hand in the majorswith partner having the sufficient values to bid game. This contract of course was doomed to go two off for a complete bottom. Inevitably , the TD agreed with Nemisis , and so 4H-2 was the result entered into the well behaved grounded bridgemate.

Given the Fact The Northern Pro genuinely intended to bid 1NT , all his subsequent bids ( and alert ) were all in keeping with both his hand and system card. The 3NT call over his 3H was one he was happy to leave in trusting in partner's judgement.
Partner will of course have wondered what the Northern Pro was doing,  and so this thinking may have been as follows:
1S - he's got an opening hand with at least 4 or more spades 
2D - best bid I've got available but at least it shows my strongest suit  
2H ( after alert and announcement ) - what the blue blazes is partner about . I haven't got any bloody hearts......but has he ? 
2NT - This bid shows 11-12 HCPs and a flatish hand. Perfect.
3H  - Good God.....does the Northern Pro still think I've got hearts and is now showing support
....or is he now confirming 5-5 in the majors ?  I've no bloody idea
3NT - I should bid 3S now showing 3 card support for his first bid suit , but 3NT could be a superior contract if we're making the same nine tricks 
However,  moving over Nemisis , his analysis of the auction will be slightly different :
1S - The man got a spade suit
2D - Clearly 9+ points with a diamond suit
2H !! - What's all this nonsense ? Is this conventional bid on their system suit ? The Northern Pro likes to be clever , so I do wonder. May be I should start asking questions after this ?  
2NT - His partner clearly has values to bid on , and is offering an alternative spot to play
3H - Either the Northern Pro is showing 3 card support for his partner's hearts .....or he's confirming a strong 2 suited hand in the majors
3NT - Why aren't they in 4H ?   Surely that's their best spot for game ?  3NT is clearly an inferior contract and could well go off on a club lead. Happy to defend this contract against these numpties.

So in my view Nemisis didn't suffer any real damage , because 3NT was a bad contract which should have handed him a fair share of the match points. Certainly if the Northern Pro had opened 1NT and was playing in three , the obvious spade lead would have sunk the contract there and then. So had the spade bid scuppered the best line of defence ? Yes ...certainly in respect to the choice of opening lead. The lead of a club instead of the spade simply handed declarer with at least 2 tricks in the suit. And the subsequent ducking a heart now set up 8 tricks , unless Nemisis quickly switches attention to the spade suit. He should see that there was another club winner plus a whole load of red suit winners ready to be cashed. An immediate spade switch clearly offered his only hope of beating the contract. Dummy's miserable 764 of spades were a dead giveaway.    
Both 3NT and 4H were doomed contracts.  So were the opponents damaged by the opening spade bid ? Yes....far more so than the subsequent incorrect alert. Therefore , 4H-2 should not have been the substituted score. Either 3NT -1 or 3H-1 would seem a much fairer amended score. But with Nemisis , he wants much much more ,  and getting easy tops from opponents' transgressions , courtesy of helpful TDs ,  has always been a skillful feature of his game. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015


" Doctor ....I feel terrible......things are not ticking over like they should.....
 I'm getting myself all wound up .....and I don't seem to have the time
to relax any more ...."



( Footnote : On a low spade lead , declarer can pick up 3 spades on finesses, and cash AK in both minor suits leaving himself in hand. Down to the critical 6 card ending , he is able to cash his minor suit queens. West is squeezed in 3 suits and forced to pitch a heart. East gets squeezed in two suits and must also pitch a heart. This allows declarer to make all 4 of dummy's  hearts on a finesse. )  

Wednesday, 17 June 2015


So seems you're riddled with acute anxiety and stress. You believe you've
a major problem on your hands.....simply because of what the club's treasurer has told 
you......something which has set your alarm bells ringing....." 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015


  • Only Go For Tournaments Which Attract The Rabbits..........................E. C. Pickins
  • Don't Ask Me To Deal The Cards, I've Got A Dodgy Arm......................Tanis  L. Bow
  • Director ! My Partner's Caught That Woman Cheating Again............... E. Sawyer 
  • She Wants Crucifying But How Do We Attach Her To The Cross?.......Bess Naylor
  • In My Club It Pays Up To Keep Quiet And Not Look Up..........................Ed Downe
  • What Happened To The Last Member Who Crossed Our Chairman ?...Barry Dellive
  • She's Always Looking To Guard Against Nasty Squeezes.....................Eva Reddy
  • My Partner Loves Her Lipstick , Mascara And Suntanned Skin..............Dolly Byrd
  • Committees Rarely Approach Disciplinary Matters Free Of Bias.......... John Diss
  • I've Made A Small Fortune Out Of Running Bridge Classes........Honor Wright-Fiddle
  • The Slaughter House Bridge Club Is Really The Place To Go....Alotta Fanny Harbout
  • Everyone Cheats At My Club Including Myself......................................Eve N. Mee
  • Hesitating Before Playing My Stiff Almost Caused Her To Go Wrong...Neil Lee Fulder

Sunday, 14 June 2015


Common law which is made up of judges' decisions , many of which go on to become binding precedents , sets out to balance rigidity with flexibility. Although the doctrine of judicial precedent requires precedents to be followed , there is tremendous scope for judges to decide on issues purely on the given set of circumstances , and the merits of each individual case. Therefore what we end up with are authoritative precedents which lay down the general rules , with a whole raft of exceptions , and exceptions to the exceptions. A legal minefield in fact.
In matters relating to disciplinary hearings held by private clubs , rules regarding natural justice
cannot be ignored. Every committee member involved in the hearing is under a duty to act in good faith and fairly listen to both sides before making any decisions as to whether the alleged wrongdoing can be established , and what , if any , sanctions or punishment would be both appropriate and proportional. Certainly,  the basic bottom-line requirements include notice and the opportunity for the accused to be heard in order to respond to allegations made against them. Nevertheless the requirements of natural justice and the standards of fairness are flexible , depending on the nature of the power being exercised, and the effect of the decision on personal interests.
Indeed , in determining the presence and level of natural justice , one must start with the body's own rules themselves. Subject to anything in the rules , other relevant factors will include the nature of the interest at stake , whether an adverse decision would amount to a finding of misconduct and the severity of the sanction which the body is empowered to impose
Those criteria , by no means exhaustive , will be important when deciding what the parties intended or implied in their contract. In one form or another they are all concerned with the seriousness of the proceedings. The greater the extent to which a disciplinary committee sets out to operate in a quasi-judicial fashion , the greater the expectation the courts will place on them to adhere to the minimum requirements of natural justice. 
What reported cases tell us is that members may not be expelled without full knowledge of all the charges , adequate notice and a hearing , with committee members needing to approach the task ahead with open minds , displaying no personal animosity or bias against the accused. Clearly , the committee need to assiduously follow their own written procedures and not act in an arbitrary fashion, such as declaring " there was no point in having a hearing because we had already decided that the life ban was the right decision to take " .  

Saturday, 13 June 2015


Friday, 12 June 2015


  • Ladies If You Want Men To Partner You Dress Like A Diva.............Ed Turner
  • He's Useless At Bridge Ladies, But He's Such A Great Partner.....Ken  E. Shagwell
  • My Best Year Ever For High Stakes Rubber Bridge.........................Ray Kennitten
  • The Main Reason Why I Never Partner The Older Ladies................Alec  M. Young
  • How Dare You Accuse My Partner Of Throwing A Bridgemate.......Asif  E. Wood
  • What ! He's Been Banned For Just Dropping A Bridgemate...........Shirley Knott
  • What Part Of The Body Did The Bridgemate Strike Him ?..............Courtney Badleigh
  • These End Of Year Accounts Make Dreadful Reading.....................Annette Loss
  • For Christ Sake Is Anyone In This Club Under The Age Of 75 ? .......Jerry Attrick
  • I Have No Other Choice But To Resign From This Committee...........Ike Witt   
  • Can't Play Tonight Partner, Someone Has Put Their Foot Down.......Erin Syde
  • All My Partner Ever Wants To Do Is Spread Malicious Gossip........Wendy Holdbagg
  • Someone Find Me Some Poison To Give To My Partner.................Dudley Knightshade
  • What Is It About Bridge That Makes Players So Irritable ?................Malcolm Tent 
  • Guess Who Turned Up To The Latest AGM ?................................Allan Sundrie   

Monday, 8 June 2015


BRIDGE BOOKS GUARANTEED TO TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY......( Recommendations by Pun who has substantial shares in the undertaking business )

  • Just Keep An Eye On Him , He's A Troublemaker............................Mark Hiskard
  • Has All The Club's Legal Expenses Been Paid For ?.......................Bill Owen
  • As Chairman Everything I Do Is With Good Intention And Motive......Bonar Fyday
  • When My Partner Gets Really Mad He's Uncontrollable...................Ray Ginbull
  • Partner You're A Pathetic Wimp And Spineless Coward.................Arthur Mann 
  • What Elderly Male Bridge Players All Have In Common...................Harry R. Sezz
  • How Much For That Rare And Unusual Bridge Book ?.....................Naomi A. Price
  • If The Committee Comes After You , Scarper Quickly.......................Ron  L. Farr-Lether
  • Asking Her To Be His Partner Wasn't Just For The Bridge..............Betty Adder
  • How The Hell Can We Trust Our Chairman To Tell The Truth ..........Eli Sallot
  • I Wouldn't Stand There And Let Flying Bridgemate Hit Me...............Ida Duckdown 
  • Encouraging A Member To Hurl A Bridgemate Is A Crime..............Aidan Bett
  • That Flying Bridgement Hardly Touched Him At All...........................Amir Glance
  • So What If Our Next Opponents Are All Grandmasters.....................Alwyn Hallwright
  • For Once Partner Keep Your Foul Mouth Tightly Closed..................Noah Buce

Saturday, 6 June 2015


( No sooner  had Bigot-Johnson been allowed back into the club following his 6 month suspension , he found himself back in front of the committee to face yet another disciplinary hearing. This was the result of a written complaint , supported by witness statements , alleging that he made a rude and offensive remark to an opponent over his woeful and inept play at the table. An extract from the hearing's transcript appears below. )

Chairman (C) : Bigot....did you call Arthur Brown  " an idiot " ?
B-J : Yes....and to be exact..... I called him " a complete idiot "
C : Well , that in my book represents a rude and offensive remark .....which we as a committee consider as gross misconduct on your part..... warranting a severe sanction of some kind
B-J : Excuse me....that remark was neither rude or offensive
C : So what was it then ?
B-J : I would define it as an astute observation based on the evidence of the three boards I played against him. The numb skull bid like a lunatic , and then proceeded to play the hands with the clear intent to lose tricks rather than win them. He gifted us three galactic tops as a consequence of his scrambled brain and lack of thinking.
C : Nevertheless your remark was rude and uncalled for...
B-J : Excuse me.....any impartial observer would regard my observation as most perceptive.....a simple statement of fact.....a justified and valid opinion.....a fundamental truth. Why I would go as far as saying it was a gross understatement in that the man hasn't got a functioning brain. I'm certain that many would view my comment as a mild compliment given the extent of his moronic and cretinous play. 
C : In this can't make such a cruel and nasty statement like that .....especially to his face.....knowing that he will be deeply offended and hurt 
B-J : The thing is...... although I was gifted 3 galactic tops I unfortunately fell victim to a cathartic emotional outburst......such was my amazement and disbelief as to how stupid this man could be
C : No excuse....
B-J : But hold on you lot....other impartial observers would see that it was nothing more than a whimsical remark , a bit of light comic banter , a reference to his village upbringing.....a tongue-in-cheek comment said in the spirit of good fun and bon hommie
C : But it wasn't ...calling Arthur a complete idiot was designed to crush his self-esteem
B-J : Not so....the man has no self-esteem ....for years he has never made it out the bottom three in any event he has played in. He is the butt of everyone's jokes.....the subject of both ridicule and humiliation wherever he goes. In fact Arthur has become immune to it all because of his impaired mental condition
C : more arguments were objectionably rude.....and you must therefore be punished with another lengthy suspension
B-J : I'm sorry.....but you're overlooking a couple of important legal points here. In any defamation case involving an alleged slander......the judge is duty bound to declare the truth as fair comment...... and given the fact Authur is an idiot it would appear that my comment was both valid and fair.
C : But this club has rules !
B-J : But these rules cannot override our precious and enshrined right to free speech. Indeed this freedom cannot ....and must not..... be taken away from me by petty club rules like yours. 
C : Oh...
B-J : observation ought to be considered as a genuine attempt to help this imbecile achieve a better understanding of his help him achieve a higher level of self-awareness. It was a verbal prompt to self-enlightenment. Medical professionals would concur that my helpful analysis of his disability fulfilled the basic criteria of an in-depth psychological and neurological diagnosis. Any doctor would be obliged to declare this man an idiot .....and he or she would be praised for such an assessment and paid handsomely in the process
C : Oh I what you're saying then is that your sole intention was to be helpful and informative
B-J : Exactly.....
C: Well.....on this occasion then we will give you the benefit of the doubt ....and let you off with a gentle warning
B-J : Thank you ......but all this goes to show that there are more idiots in this club than I first thought.....

Friday, 5 June 2015


Chairman Bigot-Johnson and his bully-boy lackeys just wanted everyone to know that the committee will continue to run the club in a disturbingly immoral way. 
Ordinary club members will yet again be persuaded , cajoled , and coerced into forking out money to keep the club's cash float afloat, as the committee has many more reckless spending schemes in the pipeline. These include , as usual , wasting huge amounts of money on mammoth white elephants and lost causes.Clearly , the rank and file members are living on another planet, as they seem completely unaware that the club is being run by lunatics, racketeers and demons.
A committee spokesman said : " Although we obviously treat the members will contempt , we still desperately rely on their financial support. Their donations demonstrate the hugely successful brainwashing and conditional techniques we have put into practice , in a bold and daring attempt to steer their minds in the right direction. 
Therefore the committee has no worries whatsoever about another round of wasteful spending and asset squandering on costly ventures , designed with futile and pointless objectives in mind. We know that the members will be there to bail us out , with generous loan contributions which we have no intention , let alone ability, of ever paying back.  Indeed , the last time we tapped a member for a loan , we were obliged to hold him down on the floor , and tattoo the details onto his forehead . This was simply because the awkward bugger claimed that given his poor memory , he needed a permanent reminder of the transaction. "      

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

DOROSHOW'S HORROR SHOW FINALLY CAME TO A HAPPY ENDING......( Legal report by Professor Hu Chi Ku Chi ) 

James Doroshow joined a very exclusive private golf club in 2006, whereby he agreed to abide by the Club's by-laws, rules and regulations.
The club's by-laws authorise the rules committee to " investigate written complaints concerning the conduct of any member , and to take action thereon, and to report to the board of directors its findings and recommendations as to disciplinary action ". If a member disagrees with the committee's decision to impose a sanction , the member has the right to appeal the matter to the board of directors. In such cases , the club's by laws require the board to conduct " a full hearing de novo to all relevant matters " after providing at least 10 days written notice to the member. 
Grounds for expulsion include " a material violation of the by-laws , house rules and policies of the club " or " any conduct which is detrimental to the welfare , interest , character or reputation of the club ". The ultimate catch all statement , by all accounts ! 
Doroshow was alleged to have committed 3 rule violations prior to an incident in July, which involved him having an altercation with another member on the golf course. This heated exchange of words resurfaced a few hours later in the club house bar,  where Doroshow was dining with his guests. In this instance , he was certainly the victim , being subjected to a torrent of abuse which provoked a response of pinning his aggressor up against a wall. Not surprising a written complaint came in concerning the alleged physical assault. 
Initially, each party received a 90 day suspension for the incident , but then the defendants took a secret vote as to whether or not the plaintiff should be expelled from the club. At this stage common sense prevailed, and the conspirators were thwarted by the lack of sufficient paper record to obtain the desired outcome. But these conspirators were not to be denied as they quickly seized upon a written complaint about Doroshow's conduct six months later , following another incident on the golf course. 
The plaintiff was alleged to have hit a ball in the direction of another player intentionally ,   thereby endangering his personal safety. Yet , despite the fact that witness statements claimed that Doroshow simply made an errant shot , which caused his ball to fly off the 4th fairway and cross over onto the fifth , where the complainant was playing. On receiving a copy of the complaint letter , the plaintiff was told the hearing would only concern the latest incident , but the rules committee also questioned him over another alleged violation regarding the use of cell phones.
Doroshow tried to explain that because of the untimely death of his wife , the club's general manager had given him permission to use in cell phone in emergencies to speak to his children. The conspirators were clearly not of a mind to have to show mercy over this matter.
After this meeting , which resulted in the plaintiff receiving another suspension to last 120 days , the rules committee then decided to recommend to the board his expulsion from the club. A scheduled hearing took place and the expulsion was approved by an 11-0 vote , with one abstention. This was a horror show which surely beggared belief.
But when Doroshow decided to sue the club , the trial judge seemed only concerned with two issues : (i) whether the procedure followed by the association was fair , and (ii) whether the expulsion rested upon a rule which was substantially capricious or contrary to natural justice. Unbelievably he found in favour of the club , concluding that " the process does not have to be perfect : it has to be fair and that this court finds that it was ". Moreover , he believed " the court was not required to evaluate the merits of a member's expulsion " , which to my way of thinking would provide clubs with the absolute power and freedom to expel members on any whimsical pretext , so long as they correctly follow laid down procedures.
Well, thankfully on appeal the  State Supreme Court shared my concerns and took a different view of the matter. First off , the judges felt that Doroshow's legal rights and protections had been overlooked and denied during the disciplinary process. But more importantly , they took the view that the disciplinary process was in error, which raised serious questions with regards to its impartiality. " It was the duty of this court , and any other court,  to determine whether the association acted within its powers in good faith , in accordance with its laws , and the law of the land ". Indeed , there are  two fundamental requirements of good faith : (i) decisions need to be substantively rational , and (ii) disciplinary procedures are not conducted in a climate full of prejudice and animosity. 
Doroshow was without doubt the victim of deferential treatment , which demonstrated the club's lack of good faith . It seemed the club adopted a callous, dismissive attitude towards the plaintiff in respects of the reasonable explanations he offered , when defending the last two allegations of misconduct. Clearly , there were certain individuals out to get him, utterly hell bent on seeing him expelled from the club. Nothing demonstrated their prejudice and bias against him than the fact that Doroshow had initially paid the club $100,000 for a " full equity membership ", only to receive 10% of that money on expulsion , following the club's decision to sell his membership at a reduced price. Somebody I guess really benefited from that but it wasn't the plaintiff.
Not surprisingly , the appeal court judges had no hesitation in reversing the trial court's judgement , awarding Doroshow damages along side a full entitlement to all his costs. Now that's what I call justice... and a happy ending to a rather disturbing story.


Monday, 1 June 2015