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Chimp-attack victim's $150M suit opposed

HARTFORD -- The Connecticut attorney general's office urged a key official on Friday to dismiss a $150-million claim filed by a woman who was mauled and disfigured by a chimpanzee in 2009.

But the victim, Charla Nash who has amassed millions in medical and other bills, said she hopes the claims commissioner will ultimately grant her permission to sue the state's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which she holds responsible for not seizing the animal despite a state biologist's warning it was dangerous.

Nash, 57, was attacked in February 2009 by a friend's 200-pound pet chimpanzee in Stamford, Conn. She was blinded in the attack, and underwent a face and double hand transplant in 2011.

Assistant Attorney General Maite Barainca told Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. that Nash deserves sympathy for her plight and admiration for the courage she has shown in dealing with her situation, but argued that the state should not be held liable for actions of the privately owned animal.

Charles Willinger, Nash's attorney, said his client lives in a nursing home outside Boston "in total darkness," "without eyes, without hands." He said she is "permanently scarred, emotionally, physically."

Vance is expected to issue a decision on the state's motion to dismiss the case within 30 days.

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