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State of Conn. To Face $150 Million Lawsuit Over Chimp Attack

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, November 12, 2009 2:00 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Chimp Attack, Charla Nash, Animal Laws, Chimpanzees, Primates, Workers' Compensation

Charla Nash reveals her face for the first time since a chimp attack, meanwhile the lawsuits continue to grow.
Charla Nash before the attack

Nash Reveals Her Face

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IMAGE SOURCE: Charla Nash Trust Web site

Charla Nash is going public.

A day after her 56th birthday, the Connecticut woman who was attacked by a 200-pound chimpanzee last February, revealed what’s left of her face on Oprah Wednesday.

Nash says she’s beginning to get stronger, she doesn't remember much about the attack, is not angry and is ready to heal and move forward.

Since February, she’s been treated at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio after Travis the chimp ripped off her hands, nose, lips, and eyelids during the attack. Nash must now eat through a straw and can’t breathe through her nose, but says she isn’t in pain. Her Web site is taking donations to cover her care.

Nash allowed Oprah to lift the veil that covers her face but says she wears it so she doesn’t scare anyone.

“I’m the same person I’ve always been. I just look different. You know, and there’s things that happen in life that, you know, you can’t change it. You know, it’s a tragedy.”

Nash’s daughter, Briana, appearing on the Today Show, is a high school senior who visits her mother in the hospital occasionally. Her mother says she’s sorry they didn’t get to pick out a prom dress. The two say they're best friends.

More Legal Action Planned

Last February Nash filed a $50 million lawsuit against the owner of Travis the chimp, Sandra Herold, 70, claiming she was negligent and reckless in her ownership of a wild animal and did not take adequate precautions to ensure the safety of others even though she knew the chimp had “violent propensities.”

Herold and her late husband adopted Travis as an infant, 14-years ago and raised him as a son.

Her attorney, Robert Golder, said that the attack was work-related, since Nash helped Herold with the animal, and should be treated as a workers’ compensation claim.

Herold, who lived along with Travis, had called Nash over to help contain the animal who would not come back inside her home. That’s when Travis, a former TV star who appeared in commercials for Old Navy, attacked Nash.

The state Department of Environmental Protection had allowed the Herolds to keep Travis in their home even though there is a limit on keeping primates over 50 pounds. That law was created after Travis ran after police officers in Stamford when they tried to capture him in 2003.

But the state did not enforce the law with Travis, largely because the Herolds had owned the 200-pound chimp so long it was not believed that he posed a public health risk.

Earlier this month, Nash and her family filed a notice with the state Office of Claims Commissioner, asking for permission to sue the state for $150 million, claiming the state failed to prevent the attack.

And since a toxicology report on Travis confirms he had been given Xanax the anti-anxiety medication five minutes before the attack by Herold, criminal charges may be imminent since the controlled substances was not prescribed for the chimp or Herold. #


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