James Tracy Wins Motion to Dismiss for Theodore Roosevelt Association and a Historically Significant Beech Tree

Friday, May 26, 2023

James Tracy successfully represented the Theodore Roosevelt Association and Tweed Roosevelt, descendant of the 26th President of the United States, in a matter involving a diseased beech tree originally planted by the Former President at Sagamore Hill (Oyster Bay, NY), the Roosevelt Family’s home (1887-1948), which is managed in partnership with the National Parks Service (NPS).

NPS contracted with a tree removal service following their receipt of a nominal bid of $0.01 and an indication by the service that the tree had a “historic and communal value,” making it “an honor” and a great opportunity to execute the removal. Thereafter, NPS learned of the tree removal service’s intention to resell the debris and terminated the contract. NPS later transferred the tree’s remains to the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

The tree removal service sued the Theodore Roosevelt Association and Tweed Roosevelt for conversion, tortious interference with contract, and tortious interference with business relations. The tree removal service asserted that it owned the tree, not the Theodore Roosevelt Association, and accused the defendants of interfering with its contract with NPS. The Court, however, dismissed the Complaint with prejudice, holding that the tree removal service's contract with NPS did not transfer any property interest in the tree to the removal service, and that NPS properly terminated the contract.  Accordingly, the defendants could not be held liable for interfering with any property or contract rights of the tree removal service.

Michael Moriarty is the Relationship Partner for the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

Case: Looks Great Services v. Theodore Roosevelt Association