​Chimp Attack Settlement Awards Charla Nash With $4 Million

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December 1, 2012
Also: Charla Nash, Chimp Attack, Chimp Attack Settlement, Sandra Herold, Settlement

A woman who suffered from a chimp attack has agreed to a $4 million settlement from the estate of the animal’s now-dead owner, according to court documents.

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. Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled outside Herold’s home in Stamford in February 2009.

Attorney Brenden Leydon, representing Herold’s estate, said the case is “resolved.”

“I think it was a fair compromise on all sides,” Leydon said.

A lawyer for the Nash family, though, said the money obtained is “an insignificant amount” considering what Nash went through.

Nash had gone to Herold’s home on the day of the attack to help lure Herold’s 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, back inside. But the chimp went berserk and ripped off Nash’s nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer. Nash, 57, now lives in a nursing home outside Boston.

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 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 bathe and dress itself≥

A month after the mauling, Nash’s family sued Herold, accusing her of negligence and recklessness. The lawsuit alleged Herold knew Travis was dangerous but failed to confine him to a secure area and allowed him to roam her property. It also claimed Herold gave the chimp medication that exacerbated its “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.

The $4 million settlement would cover a small fraction of Nash’s medical costs. Her lawyers have said she requires care and supervision around the clock. She is facing another surgery for hand transplants and will need to be on antibiotics for the rest of her life.