The “terrible” aunt from New York who attempted to sue her 12-year-old nephew for breaking her wrist claimed on Wednesday her actions were required to pay mounting medical costs. Jennifer Connell, 54, was pilloried on social media after it was revealed she filed a $127,000 lawsuit against her nephew, Sean Tarala, a court case she lost on Tuesday.
After the verdict, Connell’s lawyers released a statement attempting to justify their client taking a 12-year-old family member to court. “From the start, this was a case was about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance. Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family,” the statement read.
According to the lawyers, Connell’s insurance company had not offered enough money to cover the costs of two surgeries on her damaged wrist, which they said left their client no choice but to sue her nephew. The statement continued: “She didn’t want to do this anymore than anyone else would. But her hand was forced by the insurance company. We are disappointed in the outcome, but we understand the verdict.”
“Our client is being attacked on social media. Our client has been through enough,” the statement concluded.
During the trial, the human resources manager argued that her nephew, who was 8-years-old at the time of the accident, should be held accountable for his behaviour. Connell’s wrist was damaged when the young boy ran towards her to give her a hug, but the pair toppled over, breaking a bone.
His father accompanied Tarala, whose mother died last year, to the Connecticut courtroom last week. The child reportedly watched proceedings “confused.”
The claimant said she didn’t want to sue the boy when the accident happened, as it would upset him. However, the injury has impaired her life, particularly at social gatherings. She told the court: 'I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walk-up so it has been very difficult. And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan. I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate.”
On Wednesday, Connell spoke to CNN, telling the broadcaster that the family remains close despite the case, while blaming the Internet for blowing it out of proportion.