The Philadelphia Personal Injury Law Blog

Live Alligator Mail to Trenton Outdoes Dead Rat Mail in Boston

You may have heard about the transit officer in Boston who was working a side gig pimping and thought that a dead rat in the mail might be a good way to collect on unpaid tricks. It certainly seems like the person who put a small alligator in an express mail package was trying to do the transit officer one better, reports NBC10.

The 12-inch gator was found in a sorting bin and captured without harm to the gator or any postal workers. Postal inspectors say that it's not illegal to ship a gator that is less than 18 inches long, according to NBC10. The question remains, what was the intent of the gator-sender?

Intent is the first element of an assault or battery personal injury claim. For a battery claim, there must be an intentional touching that is offensive to the person touched. For an assault claim, there must be the intention to put someone in reasonable fear of their safety without touching them.

For both battery and assault, it does not matter if your actual hand touches the other person. Instead, it matters that you directed an object that was an extension of yourself like a thrown brick, or touched an extension of the other person, like a purse over a shoulder.

Here, if the argument is made that this alligator was sent to bite someone on the receiving end of the package then this would be a battery because there is rather clear intention to touch another person when an express mail package (that costs a lot) is addressed to that specific person from the specific sender.

This could also be an assault, because there is plenty of reason to be scared of alligators after the recent story about the teen in Florida who lost his arm to an alligator (granted it was well over 12-inches long).

Finally, there is law that states that any owner of a wild animal is strictly liable for any bites or other injuries it causes. It would seem logical that an alligator is classified as a wild animal, and this would be another way that the sender could be liable for any damage caused by the loose gator who harmed the recipient, or an unsuspecting postal worker.

So beware the next time you get a package in the mail. Instead of those gator shoes you ordered, it might actually be an alligator in the mail. This time, Trenton's got it under control. Who knows about next.

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