The family of a woman, who was brutally mauled by a chimp in February, plans to file a $150 million lawsuit against the state.
Charla Nash was brutally attacked by a 200 pound chimpanzee in February. Sandra Herold, the owner of the chimp, has asked for Nash's assistance in luring the animal back into its cage when the the chimp went berserk. During the attack the chimp, named Travis, ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.
As a result, Nash although in stable condition, still remains at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Nash's family is suing the state for a total of $150 million following reports that suggest that it was aware the animal posed an eminent danger.
"We believe the evidence will show that the state, acting through the Department of Environmental Protection, failed to adequately address a serious public safety issue that resulted in tragic consequences for our client," Matt Newman, the attorney for Nash's family, said in a statement.
Biologists within the department advised officials that Travis could pose a dangerous threat due to his size and strength. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal admitted sympathy over the "horrific tragedy" but added that the lawsuit "seems unprecedented in size."
"There is a potential for a very significant exposure to the state, depending on how the facts are developed in the claims process," state Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford said.
In a 2003 incident, Travis had escaped and ran rampant down a busy street. Following his escape new reports, which were discovered by the Associated Press, had brought the animals possible threat to the attention of the state.
"The DEP had information for at least five years that would have permitted that agency to have removed Travis from its residence," Nash's attorneys wrote. "If the DEP had acted prudently, Charla Nash would not have been devastatingly injured."
The state did however act on the case of a smaller primate. Following the attack on Nash, Travis was shot and killed by police.