Mon, Mar 24th, 2014

Brave chimp attack victim Charla Nash makes rare public appearance as she pleads for right to sue state for $150million

  • Charla Nash has made a personal appeal to Connecticut state officials to overturn a law that prevents her from suing the state
  • Nash wants to sue the state for $150million because she argues they knew about the threat of the 200lb chimpanzee and did nothing
  • Her friend’s chimpanzee, Travis, attacked her in 2009
  • She is now blind and had an experimental facial transplant in 2011
  • The chimp’s owner died in 2010 and Nash has since received $4million from her estate but that money has gone to medical expenses

Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman disfigured in a 2009 chimpanzee attack, has appealed for permission to pursue a $150million lawsuit against the state.

She appeared before lawmakers on Friday to argue that officials knew the animal was a threat and failed to take action.

In brief remarks to a legislative committee, Nash said the money could help her pay medical bills and give her a chance at a comfortable life.

Slow recovery: Charla Nash, seen on Friday in a Connecticut government building, is hoping to have the right to sue the state because she thinks they should have done more to protect her from being attacked by a chimpanzee

Scars for life: Nash, 60, was blinded, lost both her hands and underwent a face transplant following the attack

Pleading her case: Nash rarely makes public appearances but came to the legislative office building on Friday to appeal to lawmakers to pass a ruling that would allow her to pursue her $150million suit

Nash, 60, was blinded, lost both her hands and underwent a face transplant following the attack.

‘The state knew what was happening and failed to protect me,’ Nash said.

Last year, State Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. refused Nash’s request for permission to sue the state, but the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would override that decision. The state generally is immune from lawsuits unless allowed by the commissioner.

The 200-pound animal, known as Travis, attacked Nash on February 16, 2009, when she went to the Stamford home of its owner, Sandra Herold, to help her friend and employer to lure the chimpanzee back inside.

The animal went berserk and ripped off Nash’s nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen told lawmakers the state cannot be held responsible.

‘I am not here to diminish Ms. Nash’s suffering,’ Mr Jepsen said.

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