A Connecticut woman disfigured in a 2009 chimpanzee attack says she's ``heartbroken'' a committee is recommending the General Assembly deny her request to sue the state for financial damages. The Judiciary Committee voted 35-3 Wednesday in favor of upholding last year's decision by the state claims commissioner denying Charla Nash's request.
Redding Representative John Shaban sits on the Committee and questioned the state Attorney General about the claim. He wondered if a seizure notice was issued, would that change the state's liability. Attorney General George Jepson says if the state was contacted about the chimp, an agency would likely have sent a letter to the owner ordering her to go through the permitting process.
New Fairfield Representative Richard Smith wanted clarification about the regulation stating people must have a permit for primates larger than 50 pounds, but that there was no consequence of seizure if they didn't have a permit. Smith was told that there would have been a 75-dollar penalty. The state could have then either issued a permit or, with court authorization, seized the animal.
Nash says she's devastated by the decision and only wants a chance to pay her medical bills and ``live as normal of a life as possible.''
The full legislature still has the option of approving Nash's suit but it would be an uphill battle.
Committee members spoke about how it was difficult to vote against Nash, who impressed the lawmakers with her courage in appearing before the panel during a public hearing earlier this month.