NEW HAVEN, Conn. — 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 family's case should be treated like a workers' compensation claim.
The strategy, if successful, would severely limit potential damages in the case and insulate the chimp owner from personal 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, and 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, says 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. He argues that Travis was an integral part of the business, saying his picture was on the wrecker, he appeared at the garage daily and he attended numerous promotional events.
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