Traylor v. Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&A.M. Washington

Decision Date04 January 2017
Docket NumberNo. 48322-0-II,48322-0-II
CourtWashington Court of Appeals
PartiesLONNIE RAY TRAYLOR, Appellant, v. MOST WORSHIPFUL PRINCE HALL GRAND LODGE F & A.M. WASHINGTON AND JURISDICTION and GREGORY D. WRAGGS, SR., Most Worshipful Grand Master, comprised thereof, Respondents.

WORSWICK, J.Lonnie Ray Traylor appeals the superior court's summary dismissal of his claims against the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge (Grand Lodge). Traylor's arguments on appeal are not entirely clear, but are based on his dissatisfaction with the Grand Lodge's decision to suspend his membership and the disciplinary procedures used to decide the suspension. He appears to claim Grand Lodge violated the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD),1 denied him Masonic due process during the suspension proceedings, breached a contract to reinstate his membership, and harassed and defamed him. All of Traylor's claims fail, and we affirm summary judgment dismissal.


The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Washington is a voluntary nonprofit fraternal association incorporated in Washington, and consisting of exclusively black2 members. As a condition of membership in the Grand Lodge, a member must agree to abide by the Grand Lodge Constitution and the Grand Lodge Bylaws.

Under the Grand Lodge Constitution, the membership has the ultimate authority over the Grand Lodge's legislative, judicial, and executive decisions. The Grand Lodge Constitution states, in pertinent part:

This Grand Lodge is the only source of authority and exercises exclusive jurisdiction in all matters pertaining to Ancient Craft Free Masonry within the State of Washington and Jurisdiction; it has supreme, inherent and absolute legislative, judicial and executive Masonic authority and power . . . . It is subject only to the Ancient Landmarks, and from its decisions in relation to them or any Masonic subject there is no appeal.

Clerk's Papers (CP) at 580 (Grand Lodge Const. art. 11).

The Grand Lodge Constitution defines the power of the Grand Master, the Grand Lodge's highest ranking executive officer. The Grand Lodge Constitution provides that "[w]hen the Grand Lodge is not in session," the Grand Master "shall decide all questions of usage, order and Masonic law, . . . and his decisions are final and conclusive, subject to the approval of the Grand Lodge in session." CP at 581 (Grand Lodge Const. art. 13).

Each July, the Grand Lodge holds the annual communication to elect the Grand Master, to approve or disapprove the Grand Master's actions for the previous year, and to hear appeals by members from "Lodge or Worshipful Master decisions." The Grand Lodge Bylaws reiterate that the membership has ultimate authority over all the Grand Lodge, and sets forth the process for an appeal. Under the Bylaws, "Sections 207.01 through 207.10" govern an appeal from "Worshipful Master decisions." CP at 595. Section 207.01 provides, in pertinent part:

Appeals shall be submitted to the Grand Lodge for review of judgments, orders, verdicts, decisions or sentences of a lodge in any disciplinary proceedings of the lodge or the rulings or decisions of Masters, . . . and the accused . . . has the right to and may appeal to the Grand Lodge from any judgment, order, verdict, decision or sentence rendered or adjudged by the lodge.

CP at 595 (Grand Lodge Bylaws, Title 207, § 207.01).


Lonnie Traylor became a Grand Lodge member in 1988. In May 2014, a Masonic trial was held in which Traylor was accused of un-Masonic conduct. A trial commission of Masons, headed by Melvin Lozan, was appointed to hear the case. Traylor became angry and walked out during the trial. The trial commission completed the trial without Traylor and unanimously concluded that Traylor had acted in an un-Masonic manner. The then-sitting Grand Master suspended Traylor's membership.

Traylor appealed his suspension to the Grand Lodge's grievance and appeal committee. The committee reviewed the matter and recommended that Traylor's suspension be upheld, but that the length of the suspension be reduced to a total of four years and six months. In accordance with its procedures, the committee presented its recommendation to the entire GrandLodge membership for its vote at the 2014 annual communication. The membership voted to affirm Traylor's suspension. The minutes from the annual communication state in relevant part:

PGM Troutt #3 moved, that the suspension modification as approved by the Appeal and Grievance Committee and the MWGM actions be sustained on this matter RW Roy Price #83 seconded. Motion carried. MWGM Hughes stated that eventually, Brother Traylor #102, name would be put back on the website.

CP at 802 (emphasis added).

After the annual communication, Traylor met with the newly elected Grand Master Gregory Wraggs and asked him to overturn his suspension. Traylor claims that Wraggs agreed to overturn Traylor's suspension and reinstate his membership if Traylor rescinded his appeal to the Grand Lodge. Following their meeting, Traylor prepared a memorandum of understanding agreeing not to pursue legal action if the Grand Lodge would reinstate his membership. Traylor mailed the memorandum to Wraggs, but Wraggs did not sign it and declined to reinstate Traylor.


Traylor filed suit against Grand Lodge and Wraggs on November 12, 2014. His pro se complaint is difficult to understand, but the first sentence states, "This action is being brought under Washington Law [A]gainst Discrimination, RCW49.60 et seq." CP at 1. The complaint proceeds to review Traylor's dissatisfaction with his suspension, and argues that the Grand Lodge and Wraggs violated the Masonic code book. Traylor sought full reinstatement to membership, loss of income at $75,000 each year for 10 years, and all properties and assets of Grand Lodge.

On January 26, 2015, Traylor filed a motion for default judgment against Grand Lodge. Grand Lodge filed its answer and the motion for default was denied.

Traylor filed a motion for issuance of subpoena duces tecum in an attempt to compel discovery. The superior court denied the motion because Traylor had issued the request for production the day prior. The superior court explained the discovery process and encouraged Traylor to communicate with the Grand Lodge. Traylor also filed a motion for summary judgment. The court denied the motion after determining that Traylor's motion actually sought further discovery.

Grand Lodge filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Traylor alleged insufficient facts to support a claim under WLAD, several of Traylor's claims are barred by the statute of limitations, Traylor's breach of contract claim fails for indefiniteness and lack of consideration, and Traylor's suspension was in accordance with the Grand Lodge Constitution. The superior court granted Grand Lodge's motion for summary judgment and dismissed all of Traylor's claims.

A. Motion for Default

Traylor assigns error to the superior court's denial of his motion for default. However, he provides no further argument or authority and therefore we do not consider it. Am. Legion Post No. 32 v. City of Walla Walla, 116 Wn.2d 1, 7, 802 P.2d 784 (1991) ("In the absence of argument and citation to authority, an issue raised on appeal will not be considered."); RAP 10.3(a)(6).

B. Sanctions

Traylor also assigns error to the superior court's failure to sanction Grand Lodge's counsel for not providing requested discovery, filing a "bogus order" to dismiss, not timely responding to Traylor's motion for summary judgment, and not complying with the case order schedule. Br. of Appellant at 1. However, Traylor never requested that the superior court impose sanctions. Generally, we will not consider an issue raised for the first time on appeal. RAP 2.5. Because Traylor did not ask the superior court to impose sanctions, we do not consider this issue.

C. Discovery

Traylor appears to argue that he was improperly denied discovery. However, the superior court never entered any discovery orders. Traylor filed multiple motions in the court regarding discovery,3 but the transcripts from the hearings on those motions show that the issue was premature and, later, that Grand Lodge had provided discovery. Indeed, at one such hearing the superior court clarified, "You are not asking for me to order him to produce any additional documents," and Traylor responded, "No, sir." Verbatim Report of Proceedings (VRP) (June 5, 2015) at 6.

Traylor's displeasure appears to center on not being provided an audio recording of the Masonic trial or the annual communication. The record reflects that no such Masonic trial recording exists. A recording of the annual communication was provided to Traylor. When Traylor continued to complain that he did not have the annual communication recording, GrandLodge sent multiple letters explaining that it had been provided, offering to have him listen to their copy, and inquiring as to what the continuing dispute was. The transcript reflects Traylor's position that the audio provided to him was inaccurate, but nothing in the record suggests that other recordings existed and were possessed by Grand Lodge.

Because the trial court made no discovery order, there is no decision for us to review. Traylor's discovery argument fails.

A. Legal Principles

We review trial court's summary judgment order de novo, performing the same inquiry as the trial court and viewing all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Elcon Constr., Inc. v. Eastern Washington University, 174 Wn.2d 157, 164, 273 P.3d 965 (2012). "A genuine issue of material fact exists where reasonable minds could reach different conclusions." Michael v. Mosquera-Lacy, 165 Wn.2d 595, 601, 200 P.3d 695 (2009).

The moving party bears the initial burden of showing there are no...

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