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Sussex County BOR v. Dautel: New Jersey Superior Court Upholds Board's Authority to Discipline Members for Failure to Comply With Code of Ethics' Continuing Education Requirements

Note: This case is not published in an official reporter and may not be cited as authority. Consult with counsel before relying on this case.

In 1989 the Superior Court of New Jersey addressed whether a Board could suspend a member for failure to comply with bylaws requiring attendance at a continuing education program based on the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics. The court granted summary judgment to the Board.

Dautel was a member of the Sussex County Board of REALTORS® (Board). Members were required to adhere to the bylaws and rules of the Board. One bylaw required all members to attend a yearly instructional course covering the NAR Code of Ethics. The same bylaw permitted the Board to suspend a member until compliance was achieved. The suspension process required that membership could not be suspended without first giving the member an opportunity to appear before the Board to appeal the suspension.

Despite receiving notices for several Code of Ethics courses, Dautel failed to attend any. The Board gave him notice that his refusal to comply with the Board's bylaws would result in his suspension. Further, Dautel was advised by letter of his right to appeal this decision. Dautel appealed the decision to the Board, but it was denied.

Prior to suspending Dautel's membership, the Board sought declaratory judgment from the the Superior Court of New Jersey. The Board wished to ensure its suspension of Dautel's membership was lawful and proper. The court found that no issues of material fact existed. Therefore, the Board was entitled to summary judgment.

Sussex County Board of REALTORS® v. Dautel, No. W 007911-89 (N.J. Super. Ct. Law Div. June 16, 1989). [Note: This opinion was not published in an official reporter and therefore should not be cited as authority. Please consult counsel before relying on this opinion.]