‘The Auntie Christ’
The woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew for causing her to fall and break her wrist while enthusiastically trying to hug her is pointing to insurance companies as the reason behind her unpopular decision.
New York City woman Jennifer Connell, 54, has been the target of an outpouring of criticism on social media after her $177,000 lawsuit was denied by a Bridgeport, Connecticut jury this week.
Some Twitter users described her with vulgar language and called her ‘despicable’ while the New York Daily News dubbed her ‘the auntie Christ’.
However, her attorneys said Connell had been ‘reluctant’ to file the lawsuit and it was her only avenue to collect the cost of her medical bills from the homeowners’ insurance policy of the child’s parents.
“This was a case about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance,” Connell’s attorneys, Jainchill and Beckert of Plainville, Connecticut, said in a statement.
“Our client was very reluctant to pursue this case, but in the end she had no choice but to sue the minor defendant directly to get her bills paid.”
The six-member jury deliberated for less than half an hour in the Bridgeport Superior Court before determining the Westport boy was not responsible, the Daily Mail reported.
The incident occurred in 2011 when Connell had arrived at her nephew’s eighth birthday party.
When he spotted her arriving, the child ran over to her excitedly and jumped into her arms, and the pair fell to the ground as she lost balance causing her to break her wrist.
In her testimony Connell claimed her suffering included difficulty holding an hors d’oeuvre plate at a recent cocktail party, a comment which prompted particular ridicule by social media users.”
The lawsuit appeared all the more heartless when it was revealed the boy’s mother died last year.
In the latest development, Connell herself has appeared alongside her nephew, Sean Tarala, on a US TV show describing their ‘painful’ experience of so much online derision.
“It was a complete shock to me,” she said. “It was amazing how I walked into court that morning and walked out all over social media.”
She said she had never been comfortable with the idea of naming Tarala in the suit, but it had been explained to her as a legal technicality as an insurance company couldn’t be named in the suit.
As she is now facing a third surgery on her wrist, the suit was intended to force Tarala’s home insurance company to cover the medical bills.