Tort Law

Woman Hurt in Pet Chimp Attack Seeks OK to Sue State for $150M, Says Officials Ignored Danger Signs


Blinded and requiring a face transplant after a 2009 attack by a neighbor’s pet chimpanzee that also cost her the use of her hands, a Connecticut woman is trying to hold the state accountable for her injuries.

Charla Nash says officials ignored warning signs that Connecticut needed to step in to deal with a dangerous wild animal, illegally being kept in a residential setting, that one referred to as “an accident waiting to happen.” But the state says the law about wild animals was unclear and there had been no attack prior to one on Nash, according to the Associated Press and the Hartford Courant.

Testimony is scheduled Friday before a claims commissioner assigned to determine whether the state should waive its sovereign immunity and let the case proceed. If he doesn’t allow the suit, court proceedings over the sovereign immunity issue are likely.

Nash is pursuing a separate suit against the estate of the chimp’s owner, who died in 2010.

The animal was shot to death by a police officer responding to the 2009 attack.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyers for Woman Injured in Chimp Attack Claim Owner Is Strictly Liable”

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