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More news on the chimp attack

March 17th, 2009 (11:03 pm)
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Chimp attack victim's
family seeks $50M

Updated: Tuesday, 17 Mar 2009, 7:32 PM EDT
Published :
Tuesday, 17 Mar 2009, 9:27 AM EDT

Stamford (WTNH) - The family of a Connecticut woman mauled by a chimpanzee last month has filed preliminary legal papers seeking $50 million in damages against the primate's owner.

Legal papers were filed late Monday in Superior Court in Stamford against Sandra Herold by relatives of Charla Nash. The papers seek an accounting of Herold's assets and an order that would prevent her from liquidating assets.

It was revealed to News Channel 8 that Herold owns six parcels of land as well as a stake in a used-car dealership. A judge has now ordered a temporary restraining order so that she cannot transfer assets out of her name.

Meanwhile, the victim, 55-year-old Charla Nash, remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

"There is, unfortunately, no significant change in her condition," said Attorney Charles Willinger.

Nash is responding to verbal commands to move her hands and feet. But, the extent of the possible brain damage is not yet known as she is still heavily sedated. Today, through their lawyers, her family thanked her many well-wishers.

"Thousands of people nationwide that never met the Nashes have expressed their well wishes, sent cards, sent letters, made donations," said Attorney Bill Monaco.

But it is not enough for a woman who has no medical insurance and was so brutally mauled by her friend's 200-pound chimpanzee. Her lawyers also announced they are pursuing a $50 million lawsuit against Herold, the chimp owner, for liability, negligence and reckless endangerment.

"The strength of a chimpanzee is equivalent to at least five adult human beings," said Willinger. "And, in fact, one leading expert has equated having a chimp in your home to having a time bomb."

A time bomb that would eventually explode. And Herold would have, or should have, known that. But who else should have known? The DEP grandfathered her license for the chimp and the city of Stamford knew she owned him. In fact, the police had to coral the animal a few years ago when it ran through the streets.

Tuesday, Nash's lawyers wouldn't say for certain but wouldn't rule it out.

"We're looking at all different avenues and we just can't, at this time, comment on those potential defendants," said Willinger.

There will be a hearing to establish exactly what Herold's assets are on April 13th.

The family has set up a trust in her Charla Nash's name.