Monkeys, Torture and Tort Law

David Cassuto

monkeyInVivo Therapeutics Corp. recently sued the Oregon Health and Science University, alleging that the rhesus monkeys InVivo purchased were defective.  Apparently, many of the monkeys — which were slated for spinal cord experiments — did not survive the surgery that was supposed to prepare them for their ordeal. InVivo had to abandon its project and is seeking damages.

There is much one could say about this but I choose to focus on the way the story was covered in the Boston Herald.  The lede states that the monkeys had to suffer in the name of medical science but that InVivo did not expect the monkeys to have to suffer more than necessary.  Hence the lawsuit.

This is nonsense.  InVivo intended to mutilate and torment the monkeys until the monkeys died.  What happened here is that the monkeys died before they could be tortured sufficiently.   InVivo seeks damages for that lost opportunity.

Assuming InVivo’s allegations are true, I have three questions: 1) Who’s the victim here?  Who does the law say is the victim here?  Last, why are the anwers to those two questions different?

One Response

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