This Aunt Is Suing Her 12-Year-Old Nephew for an “Unreasonable” Hug

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?country_code=US&page_number=1&position=86&safesearch=1&search_language=en&search_source=search_form&search_type=keyword_search&searchterm=child%20hugging%20woman&sort_method=popular&source=search&timestamp=1444757464&tracking_id=5frHY3wRTsbgHKXOD1SHWw&use_local_boost=1&version=llv1&page=1&inline=135571130">atikinka</a>/Shutterstock

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Update, October 13, 3:51 p.m. EST: Jennifer Connell lost her lawsuit. It took the jury just 20 minutes to decide to decline awarding her the $127,000 she sought in damages against her 12-year-old nephew. Here she is leaving the courthouse:

Today’s spotlight for some internet outrage can be directed toward Jennifer Connell, a human resources manager who hails from New York.

According to the Connecticut Post, 54-year-old Connell has filed a lawsuit against her 12-year-old nephew claiming he acted “unreasonably” after giving her a hug that caused her to fall and break her wrist.

The unabashed display of affection happened four years ago at her nephew Sean Tarala’s eighth birthday. He is the only defendant identified in the lawsuit, which claims his “negligent” hug caused her serious harm.

“All of a sudden he was there in the air, I had to catch him and we tumbled onto the ground,” Connell testified before a jury last Friday. “I remember him shouting, ‘Auntie Jen, I love you,’ and there he was flying at me.”

She says she did not complain to her nephew at the time because she didn’t want to hurt his feelings, she told jurors. But four years later, Connell is now seeking $127,000 in damages, which include compromising her ability to eat gracefully at social occasions.

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

On Friday, local media reported Tarala sitting next to his father in court looking “confused.” His mother died last year.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest