Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, January 28, 2008

Texas Court Holds Contract Did Not Create Trust for the Care of an Animal


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.


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