The aunt who sued her nephew for hugging her a bit too hard has spoken out about the incident.
Jennifer Connell, 54, took legal action against her 12-year-old nephew after he broke her wrist while trying to hug her. She filed a $127,000 (about £82,000) lawsuit against Sean Tarala, who was only eight when the accident occurred, holding the boy responsible for her injury, The Independent reports.
Ms Connell, from New York, lost the case on Monday, but has now said she only pursued it because she was struggling to pay her medical costs. Her lawyers said in a statement:
From the start, this was a case… about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance. 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.
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.
After the case was closed her lawyers added: “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.”
Ms Connell told CNN that she was forced to name an individual as the defendant, rather than an insurance company, adding she never intended to hurt her nephew:
This was meant to be a simple homeowners insurance case. Connecticut law is such that I was advised by counsel that this is the way a suit is meant to be worded. I adore this child. I would never want to hurt him. He would never want to hurt me.
She added: “It’s amazing the power that the Internet has that something can go viral, completely out of context. 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.”
So apparently the claim was about the unscrupulous practices of the insurance industry, not destroying her family and ruining her nephew’s life.