Appeal, No. 20, Mach T., 1957, from decree of Court of common Pleas of Washington County, No. 2353, in case of David M. McCloskey v. Charleroi Mountain Club et al. Decree reversed.
Francis H. Patrono, with him Palmer J. McCloskey, Jr., Howard W. Carson and McCloskey, Patrono & McCloskey, for appellant.
William S. Yard, with him Frank C. Roney, Charles J. Spinelli, John J. McLean, Jr. and Bloom, Bloom & Yard, for appellee.
Before Jones, C. J., Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno, Arnold, Jones and Cohen, JJ.
Opinion by Mr. Justice COHEN
By an action in equity brought in 1954 in the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, David M. McCloskey sought to establish his status as a member of the Charleroi Mountain Club, (a nonprofit corporation dissolved in 1953), to have its dissolution set aside to receive a 1/29th share of the property of the club, and to obtain an accounting of the proceeds received since 1953 from the leasing of the property of the Charleroi Mountain club subsequent to its dissolution.
The Charleroi Mountain Club was organized by a group of sportsmen for the purpose of purchasing a tract of mountain land suitable for recreation, hunting and fishing, and maintaining the tract so acquired as a game preserve. In 1915 the club was chartered as a nonprofit corporation. In 1953, following the discovery
of valuable gas deposits under the land of the club, the corporation was dissolved and distribution in kind made of its assets to the members who thereupon granted an exclusive mineral lease to the Kota Gas & Oil Company in return for the payment of royalties, the total amount of which may well exceed $2,000,000.
The plaintiff, an attorney, alleged in his complaint that he was a subscribing member of the club from the date of its incorporation to the date of the institution of his action, but had never received notice of the attempted dissolution nor shared in the distribution of the club's property, and that consequently the dissolution was invalid.*fn1
The defendants, the Charleroi Mountain club, its members and the Kota Gas Company averred that plaintiff was never a duly constituted member of the club, having never paid initiation fees, annual dues and other assessments as required by the bylaws of the corporation.
At the trial of the case the following documentary evidence was introduced by agreement of the parties:
1. The application for a charter for the club presented on May 24, 1915. In this document plaintiff appears as one of the incorporators and is named as ...