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28 CFR Part 36, Appendix B: Preamble to Regulation on Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations and in Commercial Facilities (1991 ADA Title III Regulations Preamble)

Note: This regulation or portion of the regulations was replaced by the Department of Justice’s updated ADA regulations in 2010. It may not be complete or currently applicable. See the comparable section under the 2010 ADA Regulations.

"Private club.'' The term "private club'' is defined in accordance with section 307 of the ADA as a private club or establishment exempted from coverage under title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II of the 1964 Act exempts any "private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public, except to the extent that the facilities of such establishment are made available to the customers or patrons of [a place of public accommodation as defined in title II].'' The rule, therefore, as reflected in Sec.36.102(e) of the application section, limits the coverage of private clubs accordingly. The obligations of a private club that rents space to any other private entity for the operation of a place of public accommodation are discussed further in connection with Sec.36.201.

In determining whether a private entity qualifies as a private club under title II, courts have considered such factors as the degree of member control of club operations, the selectivity of the membership selection process, whether substantial membership fees are charged, whether the entity is operated on a nonprofit basis, the extent to which the facilities are open to the public, the degree of public funding, and whether the club was created specifically to avoid compliance with the Civil Rights Act. See e.g., Tillman v. Wheaton-Haven Recreation Ass'n, 410 U.S. 431 (1973); Daniel v. Paul, 395 U.S. 298 (1969); Olzman v. Lake Hills Swim Club, Inc., 495 F.2d 1333 (2d Cir. 1974); Anderson v. Pass Christian Isles Golf Club, Inc., 488 F.2d 855 (5th Cir. 1974); Smith v. YMCA, 462 F.2d 634 (5th Cir. 1972); Stout v. YMCA, 404 F.2d 687 (5th Cir. 1968); United States v. Richberg, 398 F.2d 523 (5th Cir. 1968); Nesmith v. YMCA, 397 F.2d 96 (4th Cir. 1968); United States v. Lansdowne Swim Club, 713 F. Supp. 785 (E.D. Pa. 1989); Durham v. Red Lake Fishing and Hunting Club, Inc., 666 F. Supp. 954 (W.D. Tex. 1987); New York v. Ocean Club, Inc., 602 F. Supp. 489 (E.D.N.Y. 1984); Brown v. Loudoun Golf and Country Club, Inc., 573 F. Supp. 399 (E.D. Va. 1983); United States v. Trustees of Fraternal Order of Eagles, 472 F. Supp. 1174 (E.D. Wis. 1979); Cornelius v. Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, 382 F. Supp. 1182 (D. Conn. 1974).


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