Woman's bid to sue nephew, 12, for injuries is rebuffed by Connecticut jury

A Connecticut jury slaps down a lawsuit filed by a New York woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew for injuries she contends resulted from the boy's "exuberant" greeting at a party on his eighth birthday.

'Exuberant' boy, then 8 years old, greeted aunt at his birthday party, breaking her wrist

Jennifer Connell gets into a car Tuesday in Bridgeport, Conn., after a jury rejected her $127,000 US lawsuit against her nephew for injuries that occurred at the boy's eighth birthday party. He jumped into her arms, knocking her down and breaking her wrist. (News 12)

A Connecticut jury on Tuesday slapped down a lawsuit filed by a New York woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew for injuries she contends resulted from the boy's "exuberant" greeting at a party on his eighth birthday.

The six-member jury deliberated for less than half an hour in Superior Court in Bridgeport on whether to find the Westport boy responsible for breaking his aunt's wrist when he jumped into her arms during his birthday party four years ago, a court clerk said after the verdict. She had sought $127,000 US in damages.

Jennifer Connell, 54, had testified that while her nephew, Sean Tarala was a "loving and sensitive" eight-year-old, when he leapt into her arms yelling "Auntie Jen I love you" on March 18, 2011, the boy "acted unreasonably" causing her to fall to the ground and break her wrist.

Connell, a human resources manager from New York City, testified that while she loves her nephew, "he should be held accountable."

Difficult to walk

She said when the child jumped on her they fell to the ground as she tried to catch him.

Connell testified that her injury has made it difficult to walk up the stairs in her Manhattan apartment building, and that her social life has been negatively impacted.

"The injuries, losses and harm to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight year old under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff," she said in her lawsuit.

The boy's mother died last year, and his father, Michael Tarala, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

The woman's law firm said the case was really about getting the homeowner's insurance company to pay her client's medical bills.

"Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family," the law firm Jainchill and Beckert told NBC Connecticut in a statement. "It was about the insurance industry and being forced to sue to get medical bills paid."

Due to Connecticut law, the homeowner's insurance company couldn't be identified as the defendant, NBC cited the firm as saying.

With files from CBC News


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.