Legal Question in Civil Litigation in Texas

Removing members from a non profit organization

We are a non profit family oriented equine riding club. At an event earlier this month we had two members who let loose with horrible language and aggressive behavior. We have a set of By-laws that states you can not do this sort of thing, so the Officers & Directors got together and voted them out. Of course they are extremely angry and have threatened to sue however if we don't stick by our decision we will lose over half of the remaining members. Any ideas on how to move forward with this? Also a side note here, in our By-laws it states Any person asked to leave club property or activity will appear before the Board of Directors at their next regular meeting for disciplinary action, however every individual involved with this conflict sent in an incident report, then the vote was taken, then the two in question sent in their incident reports and the Board re-voted to kick them out anyway due to the fact that everyone in the club will leave, so it was decided that it isnt necessary to have them sit around and scream at the board members. How confusing!!! OK here is the big question... Is what we are doing OK? Thanks for your help, I know it's confusing.

Asked on 6/29/07, 10:13 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Johm Smith tom's
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Re: Removing members from a non profit organization

You appear to have built in the right for members to appear in person to be disciplined. You can argue expulsion is discipline or simply termination of rights due to extreme behavior. My guess is that it would be considered discipline; so you may have due process problem by not letting them appear in person, but not necessarily. I'd have to research this a little. It would help to know exactly what they said they would sue over.

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6/29/07, 3:08 pm
Peter Bradie Bradie, Bradie & Bradie
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Re: Removing members from a non profit organization

If the Bylaws say "will appear" then they must be afforded that opportunity to appear in person. They don't have to show, but relying solely on incident reports deprives them of due process.

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6/29/07, 4:51 pm

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