HARTFORD, Conn. — Appealing to lawmakers who will determine whether she has the right to sue the state of Connecticut for $150 million, the victim of a brutal 2009 chimpanzee attack told a legislative committee Friday that state regulators knew “Travis the Chimp” was dangerous but failed to protect her from him.

Charla Nash, whose face and hands were ripped off by the vicious animal, made her case before the General Assembly’s judiciary committee at a public hearing on whether her lawsuit should proceed. She is seeking $150 million in damages from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, claiming the agency failed in its regulatory duty to protect the public from dangerous animals.

The state enjoys sovereign immunity against most lawsuits for damages, and permission from the claims commissioner is required to bring an action in state court. State Claims Commissioner J. Paul Vance Jr. last June dismissed Nash’s multimillion-dollar claim, but the General Assembly has the power to pass legislation that would reverse Vance’s decision and give Nash her day in Superior Court.

Permanently blind and disfigured from the mauling, Nash was led into Friday’s hearing at the state Capitol complex by her daughter, 22-year-old Briana Nash. She made her appeal to lawmakers in a brief, one-minute statement.

“I’m hoping I can have a lawsuit that will allow me the means to pay my medical bills and allow me the chance to live a comfortable life,” said Nash, speaking slowly during her testimony. “Just as importantly, I want to make sure that what happens to myself never happens to anyone else again.”

While Nash and her legal team argued that the state’s environmental agency was negligent and ignored repeated warnings about Travis in the years leading up to the attack, Attorney General George Jepsen urged lawmakers to dismiss the claim. Jepsen said that while the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s actions were not flawless, “the law does not support this claim, nor is it in the public interest to grant it.”

The office’s lawyers cited a body of law called the public duty doctrine. Under that doctrine, they said, the state has a duty to protect the general public in regulatory matters but not any specific individual who might be injured by a person who is not complying with state regulations.

Jepsen said granting Nash the right to sue the state would open the floodgates to future regulatory claims and set dangerous precedent that would subject taxpayers to “costly litigation.” He also said it would be unfair to numerous others whose claims previously have been denied.

Jepsen called Nash’s suffering “horrific,” but said the state did “not possess the instrument of harm, nor did the state own property on which harm occurred.”

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