Asch v. Friends of Community of Mount Vernon Yacht Club

Decision Date12 January 1996
Docket NumberNo. 941940,941940
Citation251 Va. 89,465 S.E.2d 817
PartiesGenevieve ASCH, et al. v. FRIENDS OF THE COMMUNITY OF MOUNT VERNON YACHT CLUB, et al. Record
CourtVirginia Supreme Court

John M. Ballenger (Thomas, Ballenger, Vogelman and Turner, on briefs), for appellants.

Douglas V. Rigler (A. Lindsey Crawford; Andrews & Kurth, on brief), for appellees Edward S. Pearsall and James G. Hamrick.

No brief or argument for appellees Friends of the Community of Mt. Vernon Yacht Club, Harvey Silver, Jerome P. Kelly, Donald L. Waller and Susan Weigert.

Present: CARRICO, C.J., and COMPTON, STEPHENSON, LACY, HASSELL, and KEENAN, JJ., and WHITING, Senior Justice.

HASSELL, Justice.

The Friends of the Community of Mount Vernon Yacht Club, a Virginia unincorporated association, and James G. Hamrick, Harvey Silver, Edward S. Pearsall, Jerome P. Skelly, Donald L. Waller, and Susan Weigert, filed their bill of complaint against the Mount Vernon Yacht Club, Inc., a Virginia corporation, and 55 persons, including Genevieve Asch. The respondents are members of the Yacht Club. The complainants sought certain injunctive relief and a declaration that they are members of the Yacht Club, and that they are entitled to exercise certain voting privileges. The trial court granted the requested declaration, and we awarded Asch and certain other respondents an appeal.

The respondents did not join the Yacht Club as a party in this appeal. Some of the complainants filed a motion to dismiss the respondents' appeal, asserting that the Yacht Club is an indispensable party. The respondents assert that they are entitled to maintain this appeal because, inter alia, their notice of appeal informed all the litigants below, including the Yacht Club, "that the litigation was not ended and that appeal was in progress."

We have defined "necessary parties" broadly:

"Where an individual is in the actual enjoyment of the subject matter, or has an interest in it, either in possession or expectancy, which is likely either to be defeated or diminished by the plaintiff's claim, in such case he has an immediate interest in resisting the demand, and all persons who have such immediate interests are necessary parties to the suit."

Raney v. Four Thirty Seven Land Co., 233 Va. 513, 519-20, 357 S.E.2d 733, 736 (1987) (quoting Gaddess v. Norris, 102 Va. 625, 630, 46 S.E. 905, 907 (1904)); accord Mendenhall v. Cooper, 239 Va. 71, 75, 387 S.E.2d 468, 470 (1990).

We have also held that a court lacks the power to proceed with a suit unless all necessary parties are properly before the court. Id. at 74, 387 S.E.2d at 470. We have stated that

"[a necessary party's] interests in the subject matter of the suit, and in the relief sought, are so bound up with that of the other parties, that their legal presence as parties to the proceeding is an absolute necessity, without which the court cannot proceed. In such cases the court refuses to entertain the suit, when these parties cannot be subjected to its jurisdiction."

Bonsal v. Camp, 111 Va. 595, 597-98, 69 S.E. 978, 979 (1911) (quoting Barney v. Baltimore City, 73 U.S. (6 Wall.) 280, 284, 18 L.Ed. 825 (1867)); Mendenhall, 239 Va. at 74, 387 S.E.2d at 470. Accord Walt Robbins, Inc. v. Damon Corp., 232 Va. 43, 47-48, 348 S.E.2d 223, 226-27 (1986); Buchanan Co. v. Smith, 115 Va. 704, 707-08, 80 S.E. 794, 795 (1914); Sweeney v. Foster, 112 Va. 499, 505-06, 71 S.E. 548, 550 (1911). See also Kennedy Coal v. Buckhorn Coal, 140 Va. 37, 49, 124 S.E. 482, 486 (1924).

Applying these principles, we hold that this appeal must be dismissed because the Yacht Club is an indispensable party, and the respondents failed to make the Yacht Club a party in this appeal. The respondents assign as error the following:

I. The trial court erred as a matter of law by not enforcing Article V, Section 1 of the 1956 By-laws of Mount Vernon Yacht Club, Incorporated, which provides that only property owners in the subdivision known as Yacht Haven Estates, in the Mount Vernon Magisterial District of Fairfax County, Virginia, may be members of the Corporation.

II. The trial court erred as a matter of law by Amending the Articles of Incorporation of Mount Vernon Yacht Club, Incorporated, by Order of the court. Amendment of Articles of Incorporation is a legislative act, not a judicial one. The exclusive means for amending Articles of Incorporation is set forth in the Virginia Nonstock Corporation Act and is beyond the statutory and constitutional power of a court of equity.

The respondents request, in their prayer for relief, that this Court enter a final judgment declaring, among other things:

(ii) that the original Bylaws of [the Yacht Club], which so provide, were not amended prior to January 1, 1957, nor was there any determination made by the then members of [the Yacht Club], prior to January 1, 1957, that residents of "other areas" were qualified...

To continue reading

Request your trial
28 cases
  • Ghameshlouy v. Com., Record No. 1882-07-1.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • May 5, 2009
    ...not name the local authority in his 54 Va. App. 52 notice of appeal) (citing Asch v. Friends of the Community of Mount Vernon Yacht Club, 251 Va. 89, 91, 465 S.E.2d 817, 818-19 (1996))3; see Roberson v. City of Virginia Beach, 53 Va.App. 666, 674 S.E.2d 569 (2009) (holding that the City of ......
  • Watkins v. Fairfax County, Record No. 1938-03-4.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • April 13, 2004
    ...of Virginia has used the terms "indispensable parties" and "necessary parties" synonymously. See Asch v. Friends of Mt. Vernon Yacht Club, 251 Va. 89, 90-91, 465 S.E.2d 817, 818 (1996).4 In that context, the Court defines the term "necessary party" broadly, holding that: "`Where an individu......
  • Yopp v. Hodges
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Virginia
    • July 6, 2004
    ...v. Fairfax County Dep't of Family Servs., 42 Va.App. 760, 765, 595 S.E.2d 19, 22 (2004) (citing Asch v. Friends of Mount Vernon Yacht Club, 251 Va. 89, 90-91, 465 S.E.2d 817, 818 (1996)). It has defined a necessary or indispensable party as one is in the actual enjoyment of the subject matt......
  • Synchronized Constr. Servs., Inc. v. Prav Lodging, LLC
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Virginia
    • October 31, 2014
    ...authority to supply the answer.We have consistently defined “necessary party” broadly. See, e.g., Asch v. Friends of Mt. Vernon Yacht Club, 251 Va. 89, 90–91, 465 S.E.2d 817, 818 (1996). Generally, we have described necessary parties as follows:Where an individual is in the actual enjoyment......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT