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National Briefing / Connecticut

Workers' comp for chimp attack?

October 15, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

An attorney representing the owner of a chimpanzee that mauled and blinded a woman is calling the attack a work-related incident and said her case should be treated as a workers' compensation claim.

The strategy, if successful, would severely limit potential damages and insulate the chimp's owner from liability.

The 200-pound chimpanzee, named Travis, went berserk in February when his owner, Sandra Herold, asked her friend and employee, Charla Nash, to help lure him back into her house in Stamford. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids. She remains in stable condition at the Cleveland Clinic.

Nash's family filed a $50-million lawsuit against Herold, saying she was negligent and reckless for lacking the ability to control "a wild animal with violent propensities."

But Herold's attorney, Robert Golger, said in recent court papers that Nash was working as an employee of Herold's tow truck company, Desire Me Motors, at the time of the attack, and that the chimp was an integral part of the business.

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