AG says no to Charla Nash lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- The State of Connecticut is moving to slam the door closed on a big legal fight in that chimp attack in Stamford that left a woman horribly disfigured.

By now everyone knows the story of Charla Nash, who was attacked and mauled by her friend's chimpanzee Travis three years ago. She has undergone millions in surgery and therapy and is now attempting to sue the state for $150 million.

Attorney General George Jepsen has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit with the State Claims Commissioner.

"If Mrs. Nash's theory of liability were spread across the board, the state would be quickly bankrupt," Jepsen said.

Part of her case is based on a memo written by a Department of Environmental Protection official just months before the attack, saying that Travis the chimp was an accident waiting to happen.

"Public highways across Connecticut; there are accidents waiting to happen," Jepsen said. "That doesn't mean that the state is liable every time an accident does happen. The fact that a single employee made that suggestion or statement doesn't, by itself, create liability for the state."

In his motion Jepsen says "Prior to the attack on her, the claimant herself never contacted any public official to complain about Travis." And that "unless an owner voluntarily complied, DEP did not have unilateral authority to seize Travis."

The man who will sit in judgement of this case is the State Claims Commissioner, J. Paul Vance, Jr. A former President of the Waterbury Board of Alderman, he was appointed to the job by Governor Dannel Malloy last year. Vance is the son of the well known state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance, Sr.

The first hearing in what's expected to be a long series of legal maneuvers in this case is expected to be scheduled for late next month over at the State Capitol.

There was no immediate comment to News 8 from Nash's attorney.

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Comments

MilfordNative
While I feel bad for Ms Nash, I fail to see why the taxpayers of CT are responsible for this. We didn't tell her friend to keep a wild animal and treat it as if it were her child. We didn't tell Ms Nash to go help her friend with the chimp when he went crazy. And we most certainly didn't lock ourselves into a safe place while the chimp attacked her. Lets face it, the taxpayers are already paying for this. By now she must be on Medicare and Medicaid. So why the lawsuit other than someone thinking "deep pockets?"
ChuckR
Didn't she willingly get in the cage with the animal when his happened?? She shouldn't even be able to sue the owner if she did that.
Alex
Good, the state had NOTHING to do with this and should NOT be held liable
 

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Connecticut (change)

 
Connecticut has 169 cities and towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state. Connecticut is the 5th of the original thirteen United States.
 
Offices & Officials

Governor: Dan Malloy
Lieutenant Governor: Nancy Wyman
Attorney General: George Jepsen
State Treasurer: Denise L. Nappier

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