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Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Chimp victim seeks to sue state

Travis pictured  in 2003
Police shot and killed the animal after the attack

The family of a US woman attacked by a chimpanzee has sought permission to sue Connecticut state for $150m (£90m) for failing to prevent the attack.

Lawyers for the family of Charla Nash, who is still in hospital, say the state failed to address a "serious public safety issue".

Ms Nash, 55, lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids in the attack in February.

The state's claims commissioner office will now have to decide whether the lawsuit can go ahead.

In March, Ms Nash's family filed a $50m lawsuit against the chimp's owner, Sandra Herold, accusing her of negligence and recklessness.

The 12-minute attack happened after Ms Herold invited Ms Nash, a friend, to her house to help her entice the 14-stone chimpanzee, known as Travis, back into the house.

Police shot and killed the animal when they arrived on the scene.

The Associated Press news agency said it had seen court records that showed a biologist from Connecticut's Department of Environmental Protection had warned state officials before the attack that the animal could seriously hurt someone if it felt threatened.

The state's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, said he was sympathetic to Ms Nash and her family for what he called a "horrific tragedy" but that the planned lawsuit seemed "unprecedented in size".

Reports quoting police shortly after the attack suggested the animal had been ill with Lyme disease and had been on medication.

The animal had been trained to ride in the family's vehicles, had appeared in commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy and had also appeared in a television pilot.



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