A New York woman has lost a lawsuit she brought against her 8-year-old nephew over a broken wrist she suffered four years ago.
Jennifer Connell claimed in the suit that Sean Tarala, now 12, acted negligently by greeting her too enthusiastically at his birthday party.
According to Connell’s version of events, the boy attempted to jump into her arms when she arrived at his home to celebrate his birthday on March 18, 2011.
“All of a sudden he was there in the air,” Connell testified in court. “I had to catch him, and we tumbled onto the ground. I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen, I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.”
Connell did not tell the boy at the time she was injured.
“It was his birthday party, and I didn’t want to upset him,” she said, according to the CT Post.
But she subsequently launched the $127,000 lawsuit, which would have covered her medical bills among other things.
Connell claimed the injury had negatively impacted her life.
“I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walkup, so it has been very difficult,” she said. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”
“This was just a kid trying to give his aunt a hug on his birthday,” defense lawyer Thomas Noniewicz said in court, the New York Post reported. “He’s just an 8-year-old. He wasn’t being negligent.”
Connell’s attorney, William Beckert, disagreed.
“We do not take pleasure bringing a minor to court,” he said. “But Jennifer indeed has a case. [Sean] was unsafe, and his father did not see what happened. He didn’t mean to do it, but that is of no consequence. He should have known better.”
The jury deliberated for 25 minutes and issued a unanimous ruling in favor of Sean.
“We just didn’t think the boy was negligent,” a female juror said after the verdict, according to the CT Post.
The Superior Court ruled on Oct. 13 that Connell was not entitled to any compensation for the incident.