Tulip Grove Lawsuit

Credit: The Hermitage

The lawsuit over Tulip Grove, Andrew Jackson Donelson’s Nashville home, has concluded.

A five-year fight over how much money a historic house near The Hermitage should generate for the family that used to own it came closer to its end Friday, with an appeals court ruling in favor of the nonprofit that owns both.

Tulip Grove, on 26 acres near President Andrew Jackson’s home The Hermitage, was transferred to the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 1964 through a donation by owner Jane Buntin. Under a warranty deed, Buntin and her heirs would get a third of ticket sales from tours of the home.

Those tours generated more than $300,000 for Buntin and her family in 1965-2001, but the tours were no longer profitable, the association said, and it started using Tulip Grove as an event space. That generated a flat $1,200 annual payment for the family. Buntin’s granddaughters filed suit against the Ladies’ Hermitage Association in 2007, claiming breach of contract.

The Tennessee Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court ruling that the contract wasn’t breached. If it had ruled for Buntin’s heirs, they may have been entitled to compensation for lost tour money.

The court also ruled that the Buntin family was due a portion of revenue generated by special events held at Tulip Grove.

As Howard Kittell noted in the above article, the end of this suit should allow the Ladies’ Hermitage Association to turn its attention to making the mansion more accessible to the public.

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