Lawmakers vote against Nash on chimp lawsuit

In this March 21, 2014 file photo, Charla Nash speaks to the media before attending a public hearing with Connecticut at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Conn. The state's Judiciary Committee voted 35-3 Wednesday, APril 2, 2014, to uphold last year’s decision by State Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., who denied Nash’s request to sue the state. The state is generally immune from lawsuits unless allowed by the commissioner. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The legislature’s Judiciary Committee Wednesday voted overwhelmingly against allowing Charla Nash to sue the state.

Nash is the woman who was horribly mauled by a pet chimpanzee in Stamford five years ago.

The 35 to 3 vote re-affirmed the decision of the State Claims Commissioner denying her claim against the state.

Twelve days ago, Charla Nash made a personal appeal to lawmakers on this committee, to allow her lawyers to move forward on a $150 million  liability case against the state.

“Although her injuries are terrible … it’s a situation where the state does not have the responsibility ultimately in a private situation like this one,” said committee member Rep. Gerald Fox (D).

“At the end of the day, however a sympathetic figure she is or how serious her injuries are, it just doesn’t appear to me that there is liability on the part of the state,” added committee member Rep. Arthur O’Neil (R).

No matter which way the vote went Wednesday, the case will still end up in a vote by the full General Assembly sometime before May 7.

Like votes on judicial appointments, this committee’s vote is really a recommendation.

A spokesperson issued this statement from Charla Nash late this afternoon:

“I am heartbroken. The fact that I will not be able to tell my side of the story to a court of law is devastating. This process isn’t fair. Right now, I need some time to think things through and talk with my family.

“I wanted a chance to be able to pay my medical bills and get the assistance I need to live as normal of a life as possible. I can’t give up hope now. This means too much to my daughter Briana and me.”

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