Lawsuit Against 12-Year-Old Nephew Blamed on Insurance System

The story of the woman who sued her twelve-year-old nephew for an exuberant hug spread across the internet like wildfire last week. It seemed simple enough with clear details; the nephew who was eight years old at the time had excitedly hugged his aunt whilst telling her he loved her, and she had personally sued him for damages to her wrist.

Twitter users were universally infuriated by the seemingly harsh action, with many finding a quote from the Aunt, Jennifer Connell, on the witness stand in the Connecticut court where she spoke about her difficulty in “holding a tray of hors d’oeuvres” at a Manhattan party recently. The New York Daily News even referred to her as “the Auntie Christ”.

More Than Meets the Eye

cnnHowever, is there more to this case than meets the eye? In a recent interview with CNN, Connell explained that the case was meant to be a simple homeowner’s insurance case, and that her attorney had provided her with advice and guidance regarding how the lawsuit was to be worded.

Tom Baker, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in insurance law, says that this scenario is “perfectly plausible”. He told the Guardian that this kind of suit is often a common occurrence if an individual finds themselves with medical bills that are not covered by their medical insurance and may be covered under homeowners’ insurance providing that liability can be proved.


Baker agrees how this story might become an internet sensation, however he stated that to him it doesn’t sound like anything other than somebody following the rules. “One must question why those are the rules”, Baker said, “but it’s hard to blame her”.

In the interview with CNN, Connell said that she adored her nephew and they would never want to hurt each other. She went on to say how the internet has an amazing amount of power to make something go viral and completely out of context. She argued that she is simply trying to pay her medical bills, not retire to some villa in the south of France.

Connell-Insurance_AgentsIf Connell’s insurance didn’t cover her medical bills and there was a chance that they could be covered under the homeowners insurance taken out by her nephew’s family, legal experts say that there may be more to the story than an act of material vindictiveness. Director of the insurance law center at the University of Connecticut, Professor Brendan Mather, said that it is absolutely possible to file this type of suit with no malice involved, simply to trigger coverage from homeowners insurance.

Insurance Requirements

InsuranceOnlineAccording to Maher, it’s possible to sue another person without being angry at them if they have been negligent, with the idea that they have insurance which will cover the negligent acts. The amount of $127,000 that at first seemed so punitive is more than likely to just have been an amount set by the homeowner’s insurance coverage.

According to CNN, the family remains tight knit and no bad feelings have arisen as a result of the suit. In fact, Connell reports having gone on a shopping trip recently with her nephew, to find him a Halloween costume.