News

Chimp Attack Victim Reaches Settlement In Lawsuit

Terms Of The Deal Have Not Been Announced
Charla Nash on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

Charla Nash on Friday, Aug. 10, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond/WCBS 880)

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Lawyers for the Stamford woman who was badly mauled by her friend’s pet chimpanzee in 2009 have agreed to a settlement in a lawsuit against the chimp owner’s estate.

The terms of the agreement have not been released.

Charla Nash’s family filed a lawsuit against Sandra Herold in 2009. Herold died in 2010.

WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reports

Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled by Travis the chimp in front on Herold’s Stamford home on February 16, 2009.

The 200-pound primate was shot dead by police when they arrived at the scene.

“The case is resolved,” said Brenden Leydon, a Stamford lawyer representing Herold’s estate. “I think it was a fair compromise on all sides.”

Leydon had argued that Herold’s estate couldn’t be sued because Charla Nash was an employee of Herold and any claims were a worker’s compensation matter.

A court document obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday shows lawyers for Nash’s family this week accused lawyers for Herold’s estate of failing to provide information needed to complete the settlement.

That information was since provided to Nash’s lawyer, Leydon said.

Nash’s brother, Stephen Nash, declined to comment on the settlement.

Nash, 57, now lives in a nursing home outside of Boston. She had gone to Herold’s home on the day of the attack to help lure Travis back into her home. But the animal went berserk and ripped off Nash’s nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer.

Travis had starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger and made an appearance on the “The Maury Povich Show.” The chimpanzee was the constant companion of the widowed Herold and was fed steak, lobster and ice cream. The chimp could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet and dress and bathe himself.

A month after the mauling, Nash’s family sued Herold for alleged negligence and recklessness. The lawsuit alleged Herold knew Travis was dangerous but failed to confine him to a secure area and allowed him to roam her property. It also claimed Herold gave the chimp medication that exacerbated his “violent propensities.”

Travis had previously bitten another woman’s hand and tried to drag her into a car in 1996, bit a man’s thumb two years later and escaped from her home and roamed downtown Stamford for hours being captured in 2003, according to the lawsuit.

Nash is also seeking permission to sue the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for $150 million in damages, accusing the agency of failing to seize the animal before the mauling despite a staff member’s warning that it was dangerous.

The state is immune from lawsuits unless they’re allowed by the state claims commissioner.

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