Chimpanzee attack victim Charla Nash wins $4million compensation from owner of animal who ripped her face off


The Daily Mail

The woman who lost her eyesight, lips, nose, and hands when she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009 has been given $4million compensation by the estate of the animal’s now-dead owner.

Connecticut attack victim Charla Nash’s brother filed a lawsuit on her behalf in 2009 in state Superior Court seeking $50million in damages from chimp owner Sandra Herold, who died in 2010.

Nash was blinded, lost both hands and underwent a face transplant after being mauled outside Herold’s home in Stamford in February 2009.

RecoveryRecovery: Charla Nash has settled an undisclosed lawsuit against the animal’s now-dead owner after her face was ripped off



Attack: On Feb. 16, 2009, the 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis, left, mauled Charla Nash, right, causing her to lose her eyesight, lips, nose, and hands in the attack

The settlement agreement filed in Stamford Probate Court calls for Herold’s estate to provide Nash with $3.4million in real estate, $331,000 in cash, $140,000 in machinery and equipment and $44,000 in vehicles.

Lawyers for Nash’s twin brother, Michael Nash, accused executors of Herold’s estate earlier this week of withholding information needed to complete the settlement, according to a court document.


An attorney for Herold’s estate said today that his office has since provided the information and the settlement is nearly finalized.

‘The case is resolved,’ said Brenden Leydon, a Stamford lawyer representing Herold’s estate. ‘I think it was a fair compromise on all sides.’

Leydon had argued that Herold’s estate couldn’t be sued because Charla Nash was an employee of Herold and any claims were a worker’s compensation matter.

VacationVacation: Sandra Herold, the deceased owner of Travis, spoke openly and honestly about the bizarre world she and her animal lived in before the horrific attack


HappyHappy: Miss Nash, pictured here with Travis, worked for Mrs Herold performing odd jobs and caring for the animal

Messages were left today for Michael Nash and his lawyer. Charla Nash’s other brother, Stephen Nash, declined to comment.

Charla Nash, 57, now lives in a nursing home outside of Boston. She had gone to Herold’s home on the day of the attack to help lure Herold’s 200-pound chimpanzee, Travis, back into her home.

But the animal went berserk and ripped off Nash’s nose, lips, eyelids and hands before being shot to death by a police officer.

Travis had starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola when he was younger and made an appearance on the The Maury Povich Show.

The chimpanzee was the constant companion of the widowed Herold and was fed steak, lobster and ice cream. The chimp could eat at the table, drink wine from a stemmed glass, use the toilet and dress and bathe himself.

A month after the mauling, Nash’s family sued Herold for alleged negligence and recklessness.

Reconstruction: In the attack, her eyes, nose, and lips were mauled offReconstruction: In the attack, her eyes, nose, and lips were mauled off

Courageous: The survivor first revealed her mauled face on the Oprah Winfrey show; before the surgery, she kept a veil over her faceCourageous: The survivor first revealed her mauled face on the Oprah Winfrey show; before the surgery, she kept a veil over her face

The lawsuit alleged Herold knew Travis was dangerous but failed to confine him to a secure area and allowed him to roam her property.

It also claimed Herold gave the chimp medication that exacerbated his ‘violent propensities’.

Travis had previously bitten another woman’s hand and tried to drag her into a car in 1996, bit a man’s thumb two years later and escaped from her home and roamed downtown Stamford for hours before being captured in 2003, according to the lawsuit.

Nash’ family is also trying to sue the state for $150million but is awaiting permission from the state claims commissioner. The state is immune from lawsuits unless they’re allowed by the claims commissioner.

Nash wants to sue the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, which she holds responsible for not seizing the animal before the attack despite a state biologist’s warning it was dangerous.

‘I hope and pray that the commissioner will give me my day in court,’ Charla Nash told reporters following a hearing in August before Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. ‘And I also pray that I hope this never happens to anyone else again. It is not nice.’

Court documents obtained by the AP on Thursday show the settlement between Nash’s family and Herold’s estate was approved on September 25 by the Stamford Probate Court and the two sides met on November 13 to finalize it.

A lawyer for Michael Nash, Matthew Newman, said in a court document filed on Tuesday that since November 13, ‘executors have failed and refused to provide information necessary to complete the settlement’.

Leydon said Thursday that Newman now has the needed information.

CourtCourt: Charla Nash, right, talks with attorney Bill Monaco before a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut


InjuryInjury: Charla Nash arrives for a hearing at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, Connecticut


Q: ‘So, is it your testimony that from the time you first purchased Travis [in 1995, when he was born] and brought him home to Stamford until your husband died [in 2004] you would bring Travis to Desire Me Motors daily?’

A: ‘Every single day.’

Q: ‘…You mean Monday through Sunday every week?’

A: ‘…If I was down there Monday through Friday, he was with me Monday through Friday. If we went down on Saturday, he was down on Saturday. When I was there, he was there. And everybody in town knew it.’

Q: ‘And when you first brought Travis home to Stamford did he have a bedroom?’

A: ‘Ours.’

Q: ‘Okay. So he stayed in the same room with you and your husband?’

A: ‘Slept in the same bed from the day he was brought home until the day he died.’ 

Q: ‘So, he would sleep in that bed every night with you — ‘

A: ‘Every single night.’

Q: ‘ — and your husband?’

A: ‘Yes.’

Q: ‘And after your husband died he would sleep with just you?’

A: ‘Yes.’

Mrs Herold also spoke of her employment of Miss Nash, saying she paid her $300 a week in cash.

Q: ‘Okay. And what was her job?’

A: ‘Answer the phones, release the [towed] cars, clean out the cars when they were going to junk after they had been totaled. Just general. Shop for Travis, mow the lawn up at the house, clean his pen, get newspapers for him. … There was a [newspaper distribution] place right around the corner from us. You know, papers they didn’t sell. And you had to be there by 6 in the morning, between 5:30 and 6. And twice a month — once for sure, but most of the time it was twice a month.’

Q: ‘And the newspapers were for what purpose?’

A: ‘Travis’s room. Because originally it had a tile floor, and then I put rubber matting over it. And then I put the papers over that.’

Mrs Herold was also asked how Miss Nash would shop for Travis.

A: ‘ … I would take her to the store … and I’d say, ‘Okay. He likes sweet potatoes. They have to be this size.’ You know, he liked not great big ones, not little tiny ones. They had to be a certain size. So, I showed her. And then fruit, he liked a certain kind of bananas and stuff. So, if I couldn’t go, she had to go.’

Q: ‘Okay.’

A: ‘And she’d make him rice pudding. And you know, she was bottle picking, so she found toys that people put out that were good. She’d get it for him. Stuff like that.’

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