By Calvin Palmer
A Connecticut judge today approved an agreement that freezes $10 million in assets belonging to the owner of a 200-pouond chimpanzee that savagely attacked a woman in February.
Judge Edward Karazin in the state Superior Court in Stamford also set aside the issue of publicly releasing photos of the victim, Charla Nash since they did not have to be submitted to the court at this time.
Nash’s family is suing the chimpanzee’s owner, Sandra Herold, for $50 millionto cover medical costs and the care of her 17-year-old daughter.
Nash, 55, lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids in the February 16 attack in Stamford. Doctors at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic say she is blind and faces two years of surgical procedures. Her medical bills last month were estimated at $700,000.
The family also sought to prevent photos of Nash from being publicly released.
Sandra Herold, 70, agreed to the freeze, placing $4 million in real estate holdings, including her Rock Rimmon Road home, and Stamford-based towing business.
Karazin’s ruling indicates there is probable cause for the case to proceed in civil court and damages will likely be awarded to Nash.
“I think it was in the best interest of our client at this time to reach an agreement,” said Matthew Newman, an attorney for the Nash family. “It is just the first step in the process.”
Herold’s attorney, Robert Golger said the agreement should not be viewed as a victory for the Nash family since the ruling is based on preliminary evidence in the case.
“We are vigorously defending this action,” Golger said.