Donner v. Nicklaus, No. 13-4057 (10th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Professional golfing legend Jack Nicklas' participation in a developer's plan to build a luxurious golf course and housing plan allegedly led plaintiffs-appellants Jeffrey and Judee Donner to invest $1.5 million in the development. "Plans went awry:" the developer's parent company went bankrupt, and the project was never built. The Donners settled with the developer's parent company in its bankruptcy proceedings, then sued Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, LLC for intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act. The district court dismissed the action, holding in the alternative: (1) the complaint failed to state a valid claim for relief; and (2) defendants were entitled to summary judgment because the Donners elected their remedies by entering into a settlement agreement with other parties. After review, the Tenth Circuit disagreed with the district court with respect to two issues: (1) the dismissal of the claim involving intentional misrepresentation of Mr. Nicklaus's membership status; and (2) the award of summary judgment to Mr. Nicklaus and Nicklaus Golf, finding the settlement agreement did not include defendants, and the Donners neither affirmed nor repudiated a contract. The case was affirmed in all other respects, and remanded for further proceedings.