(Charla Nash in her hotel room before the Legislative hearing at the Connecticut State Capitol, seen in the background: Photo by Me)
After sitting with Charla Nash all day Friday during her Legislative hearing, it was amazing to me how some people tried to paint her as greedy, or like how dare she ask for so much money from Connecticut taxpayers.
Let's CLEAR SOMETHING UP HERE!
Charla Nash is NOT ASKING for 150 million dollar check, rather that is the MAXIMUM amount of money she can get from a possible lawsuit.
Here's how it works. When the claim was filed, Charla was in a coma. Her eyes had just been ripped out of her face; her nose, lips and hands mauled off by her boss' two hundred pound chimpanzee. (Charla worked for Sandra Herold at her towing company and would often mow her lawn to get extra money. Charla, a single mother, had a young daughter to support and money was extremely tight.)
So, let me ask you this: if your face and hands were mauled off your body and you were in a coma for four months, would you be able to put a total dollar amount on such horrific injuries? What would you put for a MAXIMUM amount? You can't go back and change it.
When a complaint is filed, you must put a maximum dollar amount (not a penny more) attached to the claim. That's where this 150 million dollar figure comes from.
Charla just wants a judge to decide 1) if she has a case and 2) if so, what it's worth. Under Connecticut law, a JUDGE and not a jury would decide Charla's case if the state Legislature gives her permission to sue the state based on a 13th law brought over from England. (That's another story in and of itself)
Charla thought it was strange that her boss had a 200 pound Chimp living in her Stamford, Connecticut home.
"I thought it was odd but I also thought the state must think it's safe if it allows the chimp to live here." Charla said yesterday when being interviewed by a local television station. "I had no idea about the memo. The state knew Travis was a public threat months before I was attacked. The state knew and did nothing. I do not want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. No one should have to live this nightmare."
The memo Charla is talking about was from a state biologist who warned Travis the chimp was a threat to the public FOUR MONTHS before she was attacked. The state employee warned that Travis needed to be removed from home and put somewhere safe, like a zoo. To read the memo, click here.
The biologist did everything right but her supervisors dropped the ball big time. One never bothered to read her memo and the other was more concerned with taking an early retirement package from the state.
Attorney General George Jepsen didn't dispute the facts in this memo.
This is what should outrage Connecticut taxpayers, not Charla Nash and her quest for justice to get enough money to live. She told me yesterday that she would much rather have her life back, life as she knew it.
"This has been really hard on me but it's been even harder on my daughter Briana," Nash said. "I used to be so strong, a real cowgirl who did horse barrel racing. I could carry two bales of hay on each shoulder. I did everything for myself and for my daughter. Now, she has to do everything for me."
Charla with her 22 year-old daughter Briana Nash, a senior in college studying business.