When news broke about a pet monkey reportedly belonging to the girlfriend of Texas assistant coach Jeff Banks, the story immediately became one of the most viral college football moments of the season. Five weeks later, Banks and his girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, have had legal action taken against them.
The pair are reportedly being sued by Amy and Casey Clinkenbeard in Travis County District Court in Austin, according to ESPN's Mark Schlabach. The suit was brought forth on Thursday and seeks damages for gross negligence and defamation.
The lawsuit alleges that the Clinkenbeard's child, identified as C.C., was invited to attend a haunted house with his two friends. After completing the haunted house, the three were taken to the backyard where the monkey was being kept, and told that it had been trained to give high fives. When C.C. attempted to get a high five, he was bitten.
"Instead of giving a high five, Danielle Thomas's monkey aggressively bit down on C.C.'s hand and refused to let go," says the lawsuit, per ESPN. "C.C. was forced to manually pry the monkey's jaw open. There was so much blood that C.C. was unable to see the full extent of the injury."
C.C. was treated by a doctor, and afterward the doctor and a neighbor confronted Thomas about the incident. The suit says Thomas expressed concern about being able to keep her monkey, and provided the animal's vaccination records.
"Instead of showing any semblance of care for an injured child, Danielle Thomas was instead worried about the risk of her monkey being taken away. ... Danielle Thomas stated to the physician that the monkey had bitten her before and that she was fine, implying that the monkey therefore did not have rabies."
The suit also says that Thomas made false claims about C.C. not having permission to be in the area where the monkey was kept. She claimed via Twitter to have "no idea" that the child was in the backyard, or that he had been bitten. Thomas has since deleted the tweets, and deactivated her account.
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