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Don't Worry, Your Rat's in the Mail

Finally, the mail has arrived. You're hoping it's that new pair of fuzzy slippers you got on sale from Amazon. You reach in the box and feel something fuzzy, but it's not a slipper, it's a rat!

This may sound insane, but it's based on the recent resignation of MBTA Transit Police officer Gregg Thorpe, who is linked to an incident where a Boston man was mailed dead rats, according to the Boston Herald. Apparently, Thorpe resigned after being on suspension for his link to the dead rats and then being found with a known lady of the night in a Logan Airport parking lot.

There seems to be a lawsuit here, let's see what the options are.

There are two ways that this "Boston man" who got the rats in the mail could likely recover damages. Presuming he was damaged, like by getting sick or having a nervous breakdown.

Battery

A battery claim arises when you intend to offensively touch another person and that causes harm. Touching does not have to be direct person to person contact. Instead, if you direct an object towards someone with the intent that it touches them, you have still battered them.

Here, the rats were intentionally shipped to the victim. How do you know? Because it's hard to say that you accidentally addressed a package, paid for postage, and put the package in the mail.

There was probably contact because the victim had to open the package to find out what was inside. Once the contact occurred, the battery was complete because it is not possible to touch dead rats and not be offended.

To be clear, sending the rats is like throwing a rock. If you throw the rock with the intent to hit the other person, then you are battering them. Shipping something is like a slow throw, because you have directed the object at the other person.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

IIED happens when you act in an extreme or outrageous manner that causes severe emotional distress. You can intend to cause the distress, or it can be caused by your recklessness.

It would be pretty difficult to convince you that getting rats in the mail is not extreme or outrageous. The only time it would probably not be so is if you happen to be a scientist that studies rats and were expecting the shipment.

However, that does not seem to be the case here. Since Thorpe was suspended for "certain off-duty conduct," it is likely that if he was the sender, he was not sending the rats off for testing.

There you have it. If T cop Gregg Thorpe mailed dead rats, then he may lose more than just his job, depending on the victim's reaction to a box of rats. Unlike a box of chocolates, a sender knows exactly what you're going to get with a box of rats.

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