Woman Mauled by Chimp Seeks to Sue State
Lawyers for Charla Nash, the Connecticut women whose face and body were severely disfigured when she was attacked by a friend's chimpanzee, have filed new documents they say prove the state was negligent in not removing the animal from a friend's home years before the attack.
Nash, who received a face transplant but remains blind and is missing both her hands, first filed a claim against the state in 2009. The documents filed Wednesday are part of an ongoing case to receive permission from a claims commissioner to file a suit and bring the state to court.
"We have discovered facts that show a systemic institutional negligence ever since the state first learned of the chimp, Travis, after he first escaped in 2003," Nash's lawyer Charles Willinger told ABCNews.com.
Willinger said that officials at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection discussed in emails whether to send police officers to remove the chimp from Sandra Herold's home, but determined the animal was too dangerous for removal. Following those emails, he says officials simply dropped the ball and no further action was taken.
Nash is hoping to sue the state for $150 million, but a decision by the claims commission to allow the suit to proceed is still pending.
Connecticut's attorney general says the state is not liable and Nash should sue Herold's estate. Herold died in 2010.
Willinger said his client is "doing well" and living in a nursing home outside Boston.