A 54-year-old woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew for breaking her wrist during his eighth birthday party was forced to take legal action by an insurance company, she said.
Jennifer Connell took Sean Tarala, 12, to court after an enthusiastic hug from the boy during his birthday party in 2011 led to a broken wrist, Fox CT reported.
Sean was reportedly riding his new bike around the home when he saw his aunt arrive. He jumped into her arms, causing them both to fall to the ground. Connell fractured her wrist during the incident.
Connell’s lawsuit alleged that Tarala “should have known, that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff,” New York Daily News reported.
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“This was meant to be a simple homeowners insurance case,” Connell told CNN in a phone interview. “Connecticut law is such that I was advised by counsel that this is the way a suit is meant to be worded.”
Connell added that the decision to sue her nephew arose because an individual, and not an insurance company, had to be named as a defendant in the case.
She was suing for $127,000 in medical bills, arising from two separate surgeries. A jury threw the suit out after deliberating for 25 minutes on Oct. 13.
“From the start, this was a case was about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance,” Connell’s law firm, Jainchill & Beckert, added in a statement, Fox CT reported. “Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family. It was about the insurance industry and being forced to sue to get medical bills paid.
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"She suffered a horrific injury. She had two surgeries and is potentially facing a third. Prior to the trial, the insurance company offered her one dollar. Unfortunately, due to Connecticut law, the homeowner’s insurance company could not be identified as the defendant.”
Connell testified in court against Tarala, saying that the injury had caused her serious problems since she lives on a third floor walk-up in Manhattan.
Connell is still close with the family, and said she took Tarala out recently to buy his Halloween costume.
“I adore this child. I would never want to hurt him. He would never want to hurt me,” she told CNN.
Tarala's mother passed away last year.
“It's amazing the power that the Internet has that something can go viral, completely out of context,” Connell added. “I’m certainly not trying to retire to some villa in the south of France. I'm simply trying to pay off my medical bills.”