Update: Family of chimp attack victim seeks $50M in damages
By Michael P. Mayko
Updated: 03/17/2009 02:04:04 PM EDT
BRIDGEPORT -- As Charla Nash lies heavily sedated in the Cleveland Clinic being treated for severe injuries sustained in a chimpanzee attack, her lawyers filed a $50 million lawsuit against the woman who owned the 200-pound chimp that mauled Nash's face and hands.
The lawsuit was filed Monday afternoon in Stamford Superior Court against Sandra Herold of Stamford, who owned the animal and kept it as a pet.
At this point only Herold has been named as a defendant in the suit brought by Charles Willinger Jr. and Matthew D. Newman, of Willinger, Willinger & Bucci, a Bridgeport lawfirm and William Monaco, a Long Island lawyer.
However, Willinger, during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at his Main Street office, said his firm is researching the possibility of adding additional defendants in the future.
While Willinger would not name those defendants, they could be the state and its Department of Environmental Protection, which allowed Herold to keep the chimp, named Travis, without applying for and receiving their permission as required by a law enacted in 2004. It could also name the city of Stamford, which failed to press action against Herold and the chimp following an earlier incident, and the veterinarian who prescribed Xanax, a mood-altering drug for the chimp.
On Monday, Willinger and Newman obtained a temporary restraining order in Stamford Superior Court which prevents Herold from transferring ownership of any assets she owns including Desire Me Motors, 15 St. Mary's Street, Stamford, a used car and towing business or belonging to the estate of her late husband, Jerome.
"We believe she owns four or five properties," Willinger said.
A hearing on Willinger's request on turning the temporary restraining order into a pre-judgement remedy is set for April 13 in Stamford Superior Court.
Meanwhile, Monaco said doctors have not yet decided on whether to perform a facial transplant or begin re-attaching body parts, including Nash's hands, that were ripped off in the attack.
"She is very heavily sedated but doctors are able to bring her in and out of consciousness as needed to perform tests and assessments," he said. Monaco said Nash has been able to respond to simple commands like moving her ankles.
Never make someone a priority in your life when that someone treats you like an option.