A Connecticut jury sided against 54-year-old New Yorker, Jennifer Connell, after she sued her now 12-year old nephew for an incident several years ago in which he hugged her a little too hard, knocked her to the floor — and broke her wrist.
The then-8-year-old was pretty excited to see his aunt at his birthday party on March 18, 2011, according to the Connecticut Post. He had just gotten a two-wheel bike that day and was riding it around the home, the newspaper reported. He was so excited that he ran up to his aunt as soon as he saw her.
“Auntie Jen, Auntie Jen,” he exclaimed.
That’s when things got a little dangerous.
“All of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him, and we tumbled onto the ground,” Connell testified, according to the Connecticut Post. “I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen, I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.”
All 50 pounds of him.
The jury, according to the Connecticut Post, didn’t take more than 25 minutes to make their decision on Tuesday.
Her attorney William Beckert told the New York Daily News that his client’s nephew Sean Tarala “should have known better.”
“We do not take great pleasure in bringing a minor to court,” Beckert said. “She is not here enjoying a moment of this.”
“We have rules for children,” the lawyer continued. “He was not careful. He was unsafe.”
Connell said she didn’t say much to the child at the party — opting to avoid upsetting him on his big day.
But since then, life has been hard, she testified in a Bridgeport court on Friday. Manhattan, where Connell lives, is crowded, she testified. And her third-floor walk-up on the Upper East Side poses challenges for her now.
It gets worse.
“I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” Connell said, according to the news account.
Her nephew, 12-year-old Sean Tarala, sat in court looking a little confused, the paper reported. He was accompanied by his father, Michael Tarala; his mother, Lisa Tarala, died last year.
Connell sought $127,000 from Sean for the harm she said she has suffered since he greeted her a little too enthusiastically.
“The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable [8-year-old] under those circumstances would know or should have known that a forceful greeting such as the one delivered by the defendant to the plaintiff could cause the harms and losses suffered by the plaintiff,” the lawsuit states, according to the Connecticut Post.
Attorneys for Connell and Tarala did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
According to the Connecticut Post, Connell was escorted to her car through a throng of media outside of the Superior Court by judicial marshals, but she did not take any questions.
This post has been updated.