Chimpanzee owner sued for $50 million

March 17, 2009 at 3:27 PM

STAMFORD, Conn., March 17 (UPI) -- Lawyers for the seriously injured victim of a Connecticut chimpanzee attack say the animal's owner is liable in a $50 million lawsuit.

Attorneys for Charla Nash, who is hospitalized after an enraged 200-pound pet chimp ripped off her nose, lips and eyelids last month, said Tuesday they have filed suit against the chimp's owner and Nash's former employer, Sandra Herold of Stamford, Conn., the Connecticut Post reported.

Attorney Charles Willinger Jr. told reporters that his firm is researching the possibility of adding additional defendants in the future, such as the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, which he said allowed Herold to keep the chimp without receiving the proper permissions.

The newspaper said Willinger on Monday obtained a temporary restraining order in Stamford Superior Court which prevented Herold from transferring ownership of any assets she owns.

Nash, 55, is hospitalized at the Cleveland Clinic where doctors have placed her in a medically induced coma. She suffered brain and eye damage in the attack, as well as facial disfigurement, medical officials say.

Police shot Travis the chimp dead after they were unable to subdue the animal.

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