Conn. lawmakers block chimp victim's request to sue - New York News

Conn. lawmakers block chimp victim's request to sue

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Charla Nash after her face-transplant operation Charla Nash after her face-transplant operation

By SUSAN HAIGH | AP

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- A legislative committee is not allowing a Connecticut woman disfigured in a 2009 chimpanzee attack to sue the state and seek financial damages.

The Judiciary Committee voted 35-3 on Wednesday to uphold last year's decision by State Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr., who denied Charla Nash's request to sue the state. The state is generally immune from lawsuits unless allowed by the commissioner.

Both Vance and Attorney General George Jepsen maintain the state did not have a duty to protect Nash, even though state officials knew about the chimp, kept as a pet by a Stamford woman.

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.

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