Monday, January 28, 2008
In Sarah v. Primarily Primates, No. 04-06-00868-CV (Tex. App. Jan. 16, 2008), Ohio State University contracted with Primarily Primates, Inc. (“PPI”) to accept ownership and care for 12 primates. Shortly after the primates’ arrival at PPI, two of them died, and a third escaped from a cage. Thereafter, several interested persons filed suit against PPI, requesting, among other things the creation of a trust and an award of damages in the amount of the full contract price to be held in trust and applied towards the acquisition of shelter and care at a suitable facility. The trial court held that the interested persons lacked standing to sue.
On appeal, the court considered Section 112.037 of the Texas Trust Code, which allows a trust to be created to provide for the care of an animal alive during the settlor's lifetime. Such trust may be enforced by a person appointed in the terms of the trust or, if a person is not appointed, by a person appointed by the court. The court ruled, however, that just because the Trust Code allows the creation of a trust to provide for the care of an animal, it does not necessarily mean that every contract relating to animals creates such a trust.
The Appellate Court held that because the contract between Ohio State University and PPI did not create a trust to provide for the care of the primates, appellants had no standing to bring their claims.