The #AuntFromHell lawsuit against her twelve year old nephew has come to a close early this week.
Jennifer Connell (54) sued her nephew, Sean Tarala (12), in a civil claim for $127, 000. The Connecticut Post newspaper reported on the testimony explaining the cause of the suit. According to the article, Jennifer showed up at Sean’s 8th birthday party on March 18, 2011. She had flown in for the occasion and upon her arrival Sean dropped what he was doing and ran, open armed, towards his aunt. Connell stated:
“All of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground. I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.”
She said that she was pretty severely injured, but “didn’t want to upset him” so she kept quiet about her pain until after the party. She told CNN that all the drama surrounding the lawsuit is unwarranted. She says it was supposed to be “a simple homeowner’s insurance case” and the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. She stated:
“It’s amazing the power that the Internet has that something can go viral, completely out of context. I’m certainly not trying to retire to some villa in the south of France. I’m simply trying to pay off my medical bills.”
In hopes of gaining sympathy, Connell told the court:
“I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate.”
Despite her testimony, the jury decided not to grant her the funds she sought from the 12 year old. It was a two day trial with Judge Edward Stodolink but the decision of the jury took less than half an hour to reach.
Jainchill and Beckert was the law firm representing Connell. Their official statement was released Wednesday morning and read:
“From the start, this was a case was about one thing: getting medical bills paid by homeowner’s insurance. Our client was never looking for money from her nephew or his family. It was about the insurance industry and being forced to sue to get medical bills paid. She suffered a horrific injury. Prior to the trial, the insurance company offered her one dollar. Unfortunately, due to Connecticut law, the homeowner’s insurance company could not be identified as the defendant. Our client was very reluctant to pursue this case, but in the end she had no choice but to sue the minor defendant directly to get her bills paid. She didn’t want to do this anymore than anyone else would. But her hand was forced by the insurance company. We are disappointed in the outcome, but we understand the verdict. Our client is being attacked on social media. Our client has been through enough.”
Sean sat through the two days of torture with his father, Michael Tarala, by his side. His mother, Lisa Tarala, passed away last year but I’m sure she would have been horrified to learn of her “very loving” son being taught that affection is punishable…by his own aunt!
I hope that the viral hashtag on Twitter (#AuntFromHell) gives Jennifer Connell something to think about. Family is far more important than insurance claims and medical bills.