Michael tarala westport ct

UPDATE: Jury Returns Verdict in Aunt’s Lawsuit Against Her Nephew’s Bear Hug

Update 3:30 p.m. A six-member jury ruled Tuesday afternoon that the now 12-year-old boy was not liable for his actions and Jennifer Connell, of Manhattan, who is his aunt, will receive not one penny from her nephew, the Connecticut Post reports.

Connell had no comment on the verdict, which generated national media attention, but on her way out of the courthouse she did ask judicial marshals to walk her to her car and through the assembled media, the Post reports.

Update 3 p.m.

Written by Simone Wilson, Patch Editor

Meet 54-year-old human resources manager Jennifer Connell, giving a bad name to aunts all over Manhattan. Connell says her city life has been so gravely impacted by a bear hug her country nephew of Westport, CT gave her at his eighth birthday party that she’s decided to sue him for $127,000.

The boy, Sean Tarala, who is now 12 years old, “appeared confused as he sat with his father, Michael Tarala, in the Main Street courtroom” in Bridgeport, Conn., last Friday, according to the CTPost.

The young boy’s mother, Lisa Tarala, died in June of last year. Her obituary said she would be “sadly missed by her beloved husband Michael, sons Sean and Owen, parents Charlie and Sylvia, and sister Karen.”

Connell’s argument, the CTPost reports, is that her nephew acted unreasonably when he gave her a running bear hug on that day four years ago, shouting “Auntie Jen, Auntie Jen… Auntie Jen I love you!” as he leaped into her arms and tumbled with her to the ground.

According to the Post, Connell described the boy as always being “very loving, sensitive” toward her.

Still, she wants justice. Ever since the offending bear hug, Connell argues, her childless life as a human resources manager in Manhattan has not been the same.

Some wild moments from the Main Street witness stand, via the CTPost:

Although hurt, Connell said, she didn’t complain to the boy at the time.

“It was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him,” she told the jury.

But, Connell continued, her life was turned upside down as a result of the injury.

“I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walk-up so it has been very difficult,” she said. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”

And then there is the damage the injury has done to Connell’s social life.

“I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she said.

A reasonable 8 year old, the lawsuit reportedly claims, “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.”

Read the full story at the CTPost.

Original post: A young boy from Westport is being sued for causing injuries to his aunt while running toward her to give her a hug four years ago, according to the Connecticut Post.

The aunt, Jennifer Connell of New York, claims in her lawsuit that her nephew, now 12, excitedly ran toward her and leaped at her when she arrived at his 8th birthday party.

She and the boy tumbled to the ground, with Connell sustaining a broken wrist which plagues her to this day, she told a jury in Bridgeport Superior Court.

Her lawsuit states, “The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight 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.”

She is seeking $127,000 in damages, the Post said.

Read more at www.ctpost.com.

BRIDGEPORT — A New York woman who sued her nephew after the excited 8-year-old’s hug allegedly caused her to fall and break her wrist has lost her case.

A jury found in favor of Sean Tarala, who is now 12 years old, in court on Tuesday.

Jennifer Connell testified against Tarala on Friday. Tarala, accompanied by his father, Michael Tarala, appeared confused during a hearing Friday. The boy’s mother, Lisa Tarala, died last year.

Connell, a 54-year-old human resources manager, said she loves her nephew, but told the court he should be held responsible for her injury. Connell claims Tarala, of Westport, was negligent and careless, and is suing him for $127,000.

The hug happened March 18, 2011 when Connell showed up at the Taralas’ Westport home for the boy’s birthday. Sean was riding his brand-new red bike when he noticed his aunt, and came running, shouting, “Auntie Jen, I love you,” according to court records.

Connell’s 50-pound nephew jumped into her arms, sending the two tumbling to the ground, she testified. At the time, Connell said, she was injured but “it was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him,” according to the CT Post.

The court documents state that Connell fractured her left arm and needed surgery. She claimed the injuries were permanently disabling.

Connell, who doesn’t have children of her own, said her life in a third-floor Manhattan walk-up has been “very difficult” since that day.

Her social life has taken a serious hit as well, she said. “I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate.”

Connell’s attorney claimed that “a reasonable eight 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.”

41.186548 -73.195177

Jennifer Connell. (Facebook)

A Connecticut jury has ruled against a New York City woman who sued her nephew over injuries she says he caused her at his 8th birthday party, court records show.

Jennifer Connell, 54, claims she her wrist was accidentally broken by her nephew, Sean Tarala, in March 2011 when he exuberantly jumped into her arms at his house in Westport, the Connecticut Post reports.

She was seeking $127,000 in damages in a jury trial that began Monday. The lawsuit was filed in March 2013, according to state judicial records.

The boy is the son of Connell’s cousin, but he refers to her as his aunt, she told CNN.

Connell claims in the lawsuit that she required surgery to her arm, and has permanent.

1. ‘I Remember Him Shouting, ‘Auntie Jen I Love You,’ & There He Was Flying at Me’

The home in Westport, Connecticut, where Jennifer Connell says she was injured by her then-8-year-old nephew, Sean Tarala, at his own birthday party. (Google Maps)

Connell testified in state Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Monday that she was injured at her nephew’s 8th birthday party at his family’s home in Westport. She said she arrived at the party to see her nephew riding around on his new red bicycle. He then saw his aunt and ran to her.

“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.”

The boy weighed 50 pounds, the newspaper reports. Connell testified that she was injured, but did not tell the boy the extent of her injuries.

— Kevin Galliford (@KallMeKG) October 13, 2015

“It was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him,” she said.

Connell told the jury that she loves her nephew, and he has always been “very loving” and “sensitive” to her, but she believes he should be held responsible for her injuries.

“We do not take great pleasure in bringing a minor to court,” Connell’s lawyer, William Beckert, told the New York Daily News. “She is not here enjoying a moment of this.”

Beckert said Sean, “should have known better,” adding, “We have rules for children. He was not careful. He was unsafe.”

2. She Says the Injuries Made It ‘Difficult to Hold My Hors D’oeuvre Plate’ at a Party Last Year

You can read the full complaint filed by Connell above.

Connell told the jury on Monday that the injuries have turned her life upside down.

“I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she testified.

Connell writes in the lawsuit, “The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight years 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.”

3. She Says the Outrage Against Her Is Misguided

The six-person jury unanimously ruled against Connell, according to court records.

Sean Tarala, now 12, is the only defendant named in the lawsuit. He was in court on Monday, along with his father, Michael, and “appeared confused,” according to the Connecticut Post.

According to the Connecticut Post, she pleaded with judicial marshals to escort her through her carry through a “throng” of media. She ignored requests for comment.

Sean was not in court on Tuesday.

“He’s a great kid, he’s got nothing to do with this,” his attorney, Thomas Noniewicz, told the New York Daily News. “Kids will be kids. He was an 8-year-old boy being an 8-year-old boy…Sean was not negligent.”

Jurors told reporters outside court that they could not find Sean liable.

While Connell did not speak to the media outside of court, but later told her side of the story to CNN. She said that the outrage against her on the internet, with some calling her the worst aunt in the world, is misguided. She said Connecticut law requires an individual, not an insurance company, be named as a defendant in a law suit.

“This was meant to be a simple homeowners insurance case,” she told CNN. “Connecticut law is such that I was advised by counsel that this is the way a suit is meant to be worded.”

Connell said, “I adore this child. I would never want to hurt him. He would never want to hurt me,” adding that she took him shopping for his Halloween costume a few weeks ago.

“It’s amazing the power that the internet has that something can go viral, completely out of context,” she told CNN. “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.”

Her attorney released a statement to FOX CT:

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. She had two surgeries and is potentially facing a third. 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.

4. She Works as a Human Resources Manager in Manhattan

Connell lives in the Upper East Side and works as a human resources manager in Manhattan, according to the New York Daily News.

“I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walk-up so it has been very difficult,” she testified on Monday, the Connecticut Post reports. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”

Connell wore a black wrist guard in court, reporters said.

5. The Boy’s Mother Passed Away Last Year

Sean Tarala’s mother, Lisa, passed away last year. (Obituary)

Sean Tarala’s mother, Lisa Tarala, died last year. He lives with his father, Michael, in Westport.

The lawsuit was filed in 2013, a year before Lisa Tarala’s death.

Jennifer Connell is not married and does not have any children of her own, according to the Connecticut Post.

A Manhattan human resources manager is suing her 12-year-old nephew for leaping into her arms when he welcomed her to his eighth birthday party.

The aunt, Jennifer Connell, claims her nephew acted unreasonably when his exuberant greeting caused her to fall and break her wrist in 2011, the Westport News reported from the courthouse on Monday.

•Woman who sued nephew over wrist-breaking hug receives zero damages

She is seeking $127,000 in damages from the boy, whose mother died last year. Westport News also reported that the 12-year-old appeared confused as he sat in the courtroom with his father. Connell reportedly testified that she loves her nephew, whom she described as always being “very loving, sensitive” toward her.

He had been riding his first two-wheeled bicycle – which was bright red, according to testimony – around his home. When Connell arrived, he dropped it. “I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen, I love you!’ and there he was flying at me,” Connell reportedly testified.

Of the damage done, Connell testified that she did not complain at the time, but she said her life had been “very difficult” since the injury because of “how crowded it is in Manhattan”. “I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she reportedly said.

  • This article was amended on 13 October 2015 to correct the age of the boy from 11 to 12.

Woman Who Sued Nephew for $127K Over Birthday Hug Gets Nothing

A Connecticut jury has rejected a woman’s bid to sue her 12-year-old nephew for injuries she said she suffered when he jumped into her arms at his birthday party four years ago.

New York City resident Jennifer Connell, 54, claimed her nephew acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms during his eighth birthday party in Westport in March 2011. Connell said the exuberant greeting caused her to fall and break her wrist as she tried to catch him.

“I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen, I love you,’ and there he was flying at me,” she testified in court on Tuesday.

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She also testified that it was difficult for her to hold a plate of hors d’oeuvres, according to the Connecticut Post.

Connell filed a lawsuit in Bridgeport Superior Court for $127,000 and a six-member jury unanimously rejected the suit Tuesday.

The case, which made headlines around the globe, left many outraged and puzzled, but her attorneys said Connell “had no choice.”

“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. She had two surgeries and is potentially facing a third. 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,” the law firm representing Connell, Jainchill and Beckert, told NBC Connecticut in a statement Tuesday.

“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,” the statement continues. “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.”

Connell, a human resources manager, testified that she loves her nephew but thought he should be held accountable.

The lawsuit states Connell “incurred expenses for hospitalization, medical care and attention, x-rays, pharmaceuticals, etc.” It says Connell “suffered and will continue to suffer pain and mental anguish.”

“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 says.

Neighbors, who were shocked to hear the news, said the boy and his family are nice people.

“The general feeling off the bat was it was a joke,” said Meredith Lorig, who lives near the boy and his family. “I think it’s really unfortunate that a family member would put a little kid through something like that.”

The boy, the only defendant, appeared in court with his father, Michael Tarala. A listed phone number couldn’t be found for Tarala. The boy’s mother died last year.

NEW YORK — The New York City woman vilified for suing her 12-year-old nephew over a broken wrist she suffered when he jumped in her arms to greet her four years ago said Thursday she was “never comfortable” with the lawsuit.

Jennifer Connell, branded as the “aunt from hell” on social media, appeared on NBC’s “Today” show along with her nephew, Sean Tarala. She said she wanted her nephew’s parents’ homeowners insurance to pay her medical bills, but under Connecticut law she could only sue an individual.

#WorstAuntEver & nephew say lawsuit story came out all wrong http://t.co/agsTAcaxQX pic.twitter.com/cH75z35TYY

— KGW News (@KGWNews) October 15, 2015

“An individual has to be named, and in this case, because Sean and I had this fall together, I was informed that Sean had to be named. I was never comfortable with that,” Connell said.

A jury this week rejected Connell’s $127,000 suit.

Connell said she broke her wrist when the boy jumped into her arms at his 8th-birthday party at his family’s home in Westport, Connecticut, causing her to fall. Her attorneys say she filed suit after her nephew’s parents’ insurance company offered her $1 over the accident.

Connell and Sean sat side by side and said they loved each other.

“She would never do anything to hurt the family or myself,” Sean said.

Connell said she was shocked by the backlash, which included her vilification on social media as a terrible aunt, the most hated woman in America and an awful human being.

“It was amazing how I walked into court that morning and walked out all over social media. It just spun and spun, and suddenly I was getting calls, ‘Don’t look at the Internet. Don’t turn on the television,'” she said.

Sean defended his aunt, saying: “Everybody was saying stuff that they didn’t know.”

8-year-old Westport boy on trial for exuberance

  • facebook photo Jennifer Connell. Connell claims her 8-year-old nephew of Westport, acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms, causing her to fall on the ground and break her wrist four years ago. The case is in court in Bridgeport, Conn. less facebook photo Jennifer Connell. Connell claims her 8-year-old nephew of Westport, acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms, causing her to fall on the ground and break her wrist four years ago. The … more Photo: Contributed / Contributed Photo

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Image 1 of 1 facebook photo Jennifer Connell. Connell claims her 8-year-old nephew of Westport, acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms, causing her to fall on the ground and break her wrist four years ago. The case is in court in Bridgeport, Conn. less facebook photo Jennifer Connell. Connell claims her 8-year-old nephew of Westport, acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms, causing her to fall on the ground and break her wrist four years ago. The … more Photo: Contributed / Contributed Photo 8-year-old Westport boy on trial for exuberance 1 / 1 Back to Gallery

BRIDGEPORT — New York woman wants a jury to hold her 8-year-old nephew accountable for his youthful exuberance during his birthday party.

Jennifer Connell claims the boy, Sean Tarala of Westport, acted unreasonable when he leaped into her arms, causing her to fall on the ground and break her wrist four years ago. This week Connell is asking a six-member Superior Court jury to find the boy liable for his actions.

She is seeking $127,000 from the boy, who she described as always being “very loving, sensitive,” toward her. The boy is the only defendant in the case.

In court Friday, the boy, now 12 years old, appeared confused as he sat with his father, Michael Tarala, in the Main Street courtroom. The boy’s mother, Lisa Tarala, died last year.

On the witness stand before Judge Edward Stodolink, the 54-year-old Connell, a human resources manager in Manhattan, testified she loves Sean but believes he should be held accountable for her injury.

On March 18, 2011, Connell, who has no children of her own, arrived at the Tarala home at 25 Woods Grove Road to attend Sean’s birthday party.

The boy had gotten his first two-wheeler for his birthday, and was joyfully riding the bright-red bike around and around the home, according to testimony.

But when he spotted Connell, he dropped the new bicycle on the ground, exclaiming, “Auntie Jen, Auntie Jen.”

“All of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground,” Connell testified of her encounter with the 50-pound boy. “I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.”

Although hurt, Connell said, she didn’t complain to the boy at the time.

“It was his birthday party and I didn’t want to upset him,” she told the jury.

But, Connell continued, her life was turned upside down as a result of the injury.

“I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walk-up so it has been very difficult,” she said. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”

And then there is the damage the injury has done to Connell’s social life.

“I was at a party recently, and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvre plate,” she said.

“The injuries, losses and harms to the plaintiff were caused by the negligence and carelessness of the minor defendant in that a reasonable eight years 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 claims.