Snake in a purse. You be the judge.

Aug 10, 2018 | Allen A. Ritchie

Artist interpretation. An advertising photo by London based fashion photographer Joshua Caudwell.
Joshua Caudwell ©2018

We get questions here at LawCall. Here is a real email. What would you advise? I have done a little editing on the email but not much.


I spotted a purse that matched the outfit I was purchasing and upon inspecting the purse on the inside — Low and behold, there was a snake! A live snake inside the purse. I threw the purse and contents and ran through the store screaming and hollering. A staff member retrieved the purse.  Management told him to put the snake to freedom in the grassy area outside the store. The manager asked me if was I deathly afraid of snakes and I told her no.


This is obviously frightening, but concerning any legal action, there is not much to do. The reason is under Alabama law — if there is no damage, there is no lawsuit. It appears you were not physically injured, and that you are not suffering any treatable physiological problem. You almost always need a doctor’s intervention to have a successful personal injury lawsuit.


It seems to many people that obviously someone did something wrong and should be made to pay.

Now if this case went to trial and by some miracle the judge did not throw it out, what would you decide? What do you think is fair?

Remember though, you must decide quickly. In Alabama you only have 2 years to file a lawsuit. If you do not take action in that time, you are generally barred forever from collecting.

We like your questions. We take them live every Sunday night at 10:30 on NBC 15 LawCall here in Mobile. We hope you will join us.

Also, if you are hurt in a traffic accident or suffer a personal injury, you can talk to us at the Law Firm of Eiland and Ritchie for free. We want to help you get back on your feet.

Allen Ritchie

Alabama personal injury lawyer