NEW YORK -- The New York City woman vilified for suing her 12-year-old nephew over a broken wrist she suffered when he jumped in her arms to greet her four years ago said Thursday she was "never comfortable" with the lawsuit.
Jennifer Connell, branded as the "aunt from hell" on social media, appeared on NBC's "Today" show along with her nephew, Sean Tarala. She said she wanted her nephew's parents' homeowners insurance to pay her medical bills, but under Connecticut law she could only sue an individual.
"An individual has to be named, and in this case, because Sean and I had this fall together, I was informed that Sean had to be named. I was never comfortable with that," Connell said.
A jury this week rejected Connell's $127,000 suit.
Connell said she broke her wrist when the boy jumped into her arms at his 8th-birthday party at his family's home in Westport, Connecticut, causing her to fall. Her attorneys say she filed suit after her nephew's parents' insurance company offered her $1 over the accident.
Connell and Sean sat side by side and said they loved each other.
"She would never do anything to hurt the family or myself," Sean said.
Connell said she was shocked by the backlash, which included her vilification on social media as a terrible aunt, the most hated woman in America and an awful human being.
"It was amazing how I walked into court that morning and walked out all over social media. It just spun and spun, and suddenly I was getting calls, 'Don't look at the Internet. Don't turn on the television,'" she said.
Sean defended his aunt, saying: "Everybody was saying stuff that they didn't know."