The nephew of a New York woman who sued him for $127,000 after she broke her wrist hugging him has spoken for the first time, saying she is not the ‘worst aunt ever’ that everything believes her to be.
Jennifer Connell, 54, broke her wrist when her newphew, Sean Tarala, jumped into her arms when she turned up to his eighth birthday party in Westport, Connecticut in March 2011.
Connell lost her suit on Tuesday, with a jury taking just 25 minutes to dismiss it, but not before a trial by social media branded her ‘evil’.
However Connell and her nephew appeared on the Today show Thursday to ‘clear the air’, with Sean – now 12 – maintaining that the lawsuit was a formality and not a family-at-war situation.
‘I love her and she loves me,’ Sean said.
‘She would never do anything to hurt the family or myself.’
Connell said she has been unfairly represented and that she was only suing Sean as a ‘formality’ to qualify for a homeowners insurance claim to cover her medical bills.
‘This was simply a case of formality with an insurance claim,’ she said.
”I said at the start of this, ”I don’t understand why. I don’t want to sue Sean”.’
‘I’m no legal expert but as I understand it, in Connecticut, it’s not possible to name an insurance company in a suit of a homeowners insurance case.
‘An individual has to be named, and in this case, because Sean and I had this fall together, I was informed that Sean had to be named.
‘I was never comfortable with that.’
Her legal team said taking the case was the only way she could claim from the household insurance to settle her medical bills.
A jury in Bridgeport, Connecticut took just 25 minutes to dismiss Connell’s case on Tuesday, which led to the human resource manager receiving considerable abuse on social media after being branded the auntie from hell.
Much of the public criticism of the case came from Connell’s testimony. She claimed in 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.’
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