Painter Law Firm

Firm secures restraining order to stop Tyrannosaurus auction in New York City 

The Honorable Carlos Cortez, a Dallas, Texas district court judge, granted a “Temporary Restraining Order” (TRO), after an application by Attorney Robert Painter, legal counsel for His Excellency Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia. The TRO prevents Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, Inc. from selling a rare national treasure that paleontology and dinosaur experts believe may have been illegally removed from Mongolia. The emergency TRO was issued Saturday morning, May 19, 2012, to stop a New York City auction, on May 20, 2012, of the dinosaur remains to a private buyer. At issue is an extremely rare near-complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus bataar, a cousin of the North American T-Rex. This is not the first time that looters have desecrated excavation sites. However, this sale is particularly unique. It is of grave concern to officials in Mongolia that Heritage Auctions, Inc. has declined requests to disclose the owner and provenance, or to answer questions about whether the dinosaur was illegally smuggled out of Mongolia. Further, it is rare for a near-complete and mounted dinosaur body, at 24-foot long and 8-feet tall, to be sold as a whole unit. Mongolia is particularly vulnerable to looters taking advantage of the country. Because of the country’s expansive size, it is very difficult to secure all excavation sites. When President Elbegdorj learned of this imminent auction, he knew that he had to take action to preserve Mongolia's history, culture and treasures. Attorney Painter said, "The temporary restraining order preserves the status quo, while the true ownership of the Tyrannosaurus bataar is legally proven and decided in court. President Elbegdorj was wise to use this legal procedure to protect the interests of the Mongolian people." The auction house was served with the TRO on Saturday afternoon. Robert Painter will be in New York City for the auction to ensure that Heritage Auctions, Inc. complies with the TRO terms.


Additional Resources

Official Statement of His Excellency Elbegdorj Tsakhia, President of Mongolia

Original Petition and Exhibits Filed With Dallas County District Clerk on 5/19/12

Temporary Restraining Order Signed By Judge Carlos Cortez on 5/19/12

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Robert Painter is an attorney and member of Painter Law Firm PLLC.

Opinions expressed on Painter Law Firm are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of Painter Law Firm. Opinions and comments do not establish an attorney-client relationship.
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About Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an attorney and member of Painter Law Firm PLLC.

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