Jennifer Connell of Manhattan is being dubbed the “worst aunt ever,” “aunt from hell,” and “auntie-Christ” due to her suing her 12 year old nephew for personal injury. Connell’s personal injury occurred when she showed up to her nephew, Sean’s, 8th birthday party. Sean had been excitedly riding his brand new two-wheeled bike when his aunt arrived to celebrate his birthday. According to court documents, Connell sustained personal injury when her nephew ecstatically ran up to her and jumped into her arms to give her a warm hug. Sean was about 50 lbs at the time, and his weight caused them both to tumble to the ground.
As a result of the fall, Connell suffered permanent personal injury to her wrist resulting in large medical bills. She sought $127,000 for damages as a result of the fall. After 25 minutes of deliberation, Connell was denied an award for her injury and the lawsuit resulted in a defense verdict.
Sean Tarala & Jennifer Connell
Image Courtesy of TODAY
Personal Injury and Homeowner’s Insurance
In a statement on the Today show, Connell expressed her feelings about the case and why she filed suit against 12-year-old Sean Tarala. In the State of Connecticut, where her personal injury case was filed, THE PLAINTIFF CANNOT NAME AN INSURANCE COMPANY AS A DEFENDANT.
The law is the same in Missouri – when filing a personal injury lawsuit, you MUST NAME THE NEGLIGENT PARTY WHO CAUSED THE PERSONAL INJURY AS A DEFENDANT. Connell states her lawsuit was never meant to recover money directly from Sean or his father. Her lawsuit was filed simply to recover medical expenses from the Tarala’s homeowner’s insurance policy.
In premises liability cases, generally a personal injury lawsuit must be brought against the property owner, not their insurance company. If the insurance company denies coverage or liability, then suit must be brought against the insured, NOT the insurance company. UNFORTUNATELY, HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVERAGE CANNOT BE BROUGHT UP IN COURT PROCEEDINGS. Connell’s case is an example of how an insurance company can make people look foolish because of how the law works.
Jennifer Connell was not being malicious when filing suit for her injury, she simply was trying to recover her expenses which would be covered by the homeowner’s policy her family paid premiums for. In a statement, her nephew expressed his love for his aunt and reiterated she was not the “aunt from hell,” but a loving, warm and kind person which he still loves deeply.