Jury rules 8-year-old boy not liable for exuberant birthday hello that injured aunt

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, October 13, 2015
File photo

BRIDGEPORT, CT -- A jury has ruled against a New York City woman who sued her 12-year-old nephew in Connecticut for $127,000 over injuries she says she suffered from his exuberant greeting at his birthday party four years ago.

Lawyers for 54-year-old Jennifer Connell argued the Westport boy acted unreasonably when he leaped into her arms at his eighth birthday party, causing her to fall to the ground and break her wrist, according to the Connecticut Post.

She was asking the six-member Superior Court jury to find Sean Tarala liable, testifying that she loves her nephew but thought he should be held accountable.

She says when the child jumped, she tumbled to the ground as she tried to catch him.

"I remember him shouting, 'Auntie Jen I love you,' and there he was flying at me," she testified.

The injury, she said, hurt her social life.

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

Her lawsuit said: "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 jurors, however, decided in under a half hour that the boy was not liable.

Tarala, the only defendant, appeared in court with his father, Michael Tarala. The boy's mother died last year.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)