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Exclusive: Charla Nash’s Lawyer Blames State For Chimp Attack, Seeks $150 Million

Charla Nash after a full face transplant (credit: Lightchaser Photography/Handout)

Charla Nash after a full face transplant (credit: Lightchaser Photography/Handout)

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STAMFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) - Charla Nash is still recovering from a face transplant and wants to sue the state of Connecticut over the chimpanzee attack that nearly killed her three years ago, WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports exclusively.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau On The Story

On February 16, 2009, a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis was freely roaming the grounds of the Stamford home of his owner, and Nash’s friend, Sandra Herold when Nash visited.

The chimp attacked Nash, causing her to lose her ears, eyes, hands, and nose in the aftermath.

Bridgeport attorney Charles Willinger, who represents Nash, exclusively told Schneidau that he believes that the near-fatal mauling could have been avoided.

He said the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection ignored its own regulations regarding private ownership of potentially dangerous animals.

“They knew it was an accident waiting to happen. They knew the animal had no permit, and in spite of all this, the DEEP took no action,” Willinger told Schneidau. “Under Connecticut law… the DEEP must either issue a permit or the statute says it shall seize and dispose of the animal. It chose to do neither.”

Nash is hoping to sue the state for $150 million, Schneidau reported, but a decision on the whether the lawsuit will be allowed to proceed is pending.

State Attorney General George Jepsen said he wants the lawsuit dismissed. He believes Nash should be suing the estate of the now late Sandra Herold instead.

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