Charla Nash reaches undisclosed settlement in multimillion dollar lawsuit against Sandra Herold
Charla Nash, the woman who lost her eyesight, lips, nose, and hands when she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009, has settled an undisclosed lawsuit against Sandra Herold, the animal’s now-dead owner.
Connecticut attack victim Charla Nash’s brother filed the lawsuit on her behalf in 2009 in state Superior Court seeking $50 million in damages from chimp owner Sandra Herold, who died in 2010.
Charla Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled outside Sandra Herold’s home in Stamford in February 2009.
Lawyers for Charla Nash’s twin brother, Michael Nash, accused executors of Sandra Herold’s estate earlier this week of withholding information needed to complete the settlement, according to a court document.
An attorney for Sandra Herold’s estate said today that his office has since provided the information and the settlement is nearly finalized.
He declined to elaborate and said the settlement will be confidential.
“The case is resolved,” said Brenden Leydon, a Stamford lawyer representing Herold’s estate.
“I think it was a fair compromise on all sides.”
Brenden Leydon had argued that Sandra Herold’s estate couldn’t be sued because Charla Nash was an employee of Herold and any claims were a worker’s compensation matter.
Messages were left today for Michael Nash and his lawyer. Charla Nash’s other brother, Stephen Nash, declined to comment.
Charla Nash, 57, now lives in a nursing home outside of Boston. She had gone to Sandra Herold’s home on the day of the attack to help lure Herold’s 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, back into her home.
But the animal went berserk and ripped off Charla Nash’s nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer.
Travis had starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger and made an appearance on The Maury Povich Show.
The chimpanzee was the constant companion of the widowed Sandra Herold and was fed steak, lobster and ice cream. The chimp could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet and dress and bathe himself.
A month after the mauling, Charla Nash’s family sued Sandra Herold for alleged negligence and recklessness.
The lawsuit alleged Sandra Herold knew Travis was dangerous but failed to confine him to a secure area and allowed him to roam her property.
It also claimed Sandra Herold gave the chimp medication that exacerbated his “violent propensities”.
Travis had previously bitten another woman’s hand and tried to drag her into a car in 1996, bit a man’s thumb two years later and escaped from her home and roamed downtown Stamford for hours before being captured in 2003, according to the lawsuit.
Charla Nash’ family is also trying to sue the state for $150 million but is awaiting permission from the state claims commissioner. The state is immune from lawsuits unless they’re allowed by the claims commissioner.
She wants to sue the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which she holds responsible for not seizing the animal before the attack despite a state biologist’s warning it was dangerous.
“I hope and pray that the commissioner will give me my day in court,” Charla Nash told reporters following a hearing in August before Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr.
“And I also pray that I hope this never happens to anyone else again. It is not nice.”
Court documents obtained by the AP on Thursday show the settlement between Charla Nash’s family and Sandra Herold’s estate was approved on September 25 by the Stamford Probate Court and the two sides met on November 13 to finalize it.
A lawyer for Michael Nash, Matthew Newman, said in a court document filed on Tuesday that since November 13, “executors have failed and refused to provide information necessary to complete the settlement”.
Brenden Leydon said Thursday that Matthew Newman now has the needed information.