The incident happened in 2011, but Jennifer Connell remembers the horror like it was yesterday: She was on her way into her 8-year-old nephew’s birthday party when the child saw her, dropped the new bike he’d just gotten, and jumped into her arms, screaming the most frightening words Connell has ever heard—“Auntie Jen, I love you.” For Connell, nothing has been the same since.

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The New York Daily News reports that Connell, who is seeking a very reasonable $127,000 in damages, didn’t immediately understand how grievously she had been injured by 8-year-old Sean Tarala’s aggressive embrace. She hid her pain and stayed for the party because she didn’t want to ruin Sean’s day, only later learning that her nephew had broken her wrist. And now, after four years of pain and suffering, the HR manager has finally taken her nephew to court to right his wrongs.

From Connell’s testimony:

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“I live in Manhattan in a third-floor walkup so it has been very difficult,” Connell testified Friday at Connecticut Superior Court in Bridgeport. “And we all know how crowded it is in Manhattan.”

Yes, very crowded. What this has to do with Connell’s injuries, I have no idea, but it’s great that she’s letting the jury know that Manhattan isn’t the easiest place to live in general. It’s a good thing for people to consider before moving there. (Also, the last time I needed to use my hands to get to my second floor apartment was when I threw out my back and had to actually slither up the stairs like a snake, so I’m assuming Connell has been inexplicably forced to get up to her apartment in the same way.)

There’s also this:

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

Sean Tarala, now 12, is the only defendant in the case. According to NYDN, the middle-schooler was very confused about why he was in court, but Connell’s lawsuit clearly outlines exactly why the former eight-year-old’s unforgivable behavior can’t go unpunished:

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“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,” the lawsuit claims.

Aside from the fact that “reasonable eight-year-old” is an oxymoron, there’s another layer of awful embedded in this preposterous case: Sean’s mother died just last year, so the kid’s already having a pretty hard time. But you know, at least his aunt didn’t ruin that birthday party.

No official verdict has been handed down yet. The court of public opinion, however, invites Connell to please sit the fuck down.


Contact the author at mark.shrayber@jezebel.com.

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