Charla Nash pleas for right to take state to court

Charla Nash appears in a video statement released March 19, 2014.

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The victim of one of the most horrific attacks in state history is making a direct plea to state lawmakers.

Sixty-year-old Charla Nash’s face and hands were torn off by a rampaging pet chimpanzee in Stamford just five years ago, now she is pleading for the right to take the state of Connecticut to court.

Charla Nash’s case was rejected by the State Claims Commissioner last year. Now the only way she can proceed with a $150 million damage suit against the state is to get the legislature to allow the case to proceed.

Through the blank stare of two glass eyes, Charla Nash likens her situation to a type of imprisonment.

“Five years that I’ve been, that I consider myself, I feel like I’m locked up. I feel like I’m in a cage,” said Nash.

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She says she wants to attempt another hand transplant because it would give her a level of independence and not have to depend on others to do simple tasks.

“I want to be able to try one more time to have hands and be able to do more on my own,” said Nash.

Nash’s lawyer is expected to make the same argument he made before the State Claims Commissioner 19 months ago.

That a memo from a state biologist just 4 months before animal went on the rampage shows the state should have ordered it removed.

The memo in October of 2008 says in part “I would like to express the urgency of addressing this issue. It is an accident waiting to happen.”

“They turned a deaf ear on a foreseeable risk. The result was devastating to Charla. We’re only asking you to do the one thing, and that is, give us the right to go to court,” said Atty. Charles Willinger, lawyer for Charla Nash on August 10, 2012.

But Attorney General George Jepsen says the memo doesn’t matter.

“The state, when it regulates a particular activity, in this case owning of animals…it doesn’t owe an individual duty to a specific individual for legal enforcement, it owes a duty to the public at large,” said Atty. Gen. George Jepsen, (D) Connecticut.

“I’m trying to work the best I can to have my sanity and I just…I want to be as normal as I can be,” said Nash.

Her treatment has cost millions. She did receive a $4 million settlement from the estate of the woman that owned the animal.

She is expected to make a personal appeal to legislators on the Judiciary Committee on Friday.

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