Apartment residents sue over snake invasion

NORCROSS, Ga. — A couple who lives in the Bradford Gwinnett apartment complex in Norcross has filed a lawsuit after their apartment was invaded by snakes.

Shawn Davis told Channel 2's Tom Regan she spotted one slithering down her hallway and another in a fruit bowl.

"The first was a baby copperhead; the second was a rat snake. My husband said since the last two snakes, he found two more. But he didn't want to tell me about it, cause I'm a nervous wreck," Davis said.

Residents first contacted Channel 2 Action News about the problem in September. They reported sightings of a half-dozen snakes, including a six-foot-long copperhead that was trapped in an apartment breezeway and killed.

Davis and her husband, Paul Patterson, said they repeatedly reported their concerns to management and requested moving into another building but were told that was not possible.

Earlier this week, they filed a lawsuit accusing apartment management of negligence in failing to control the population of venomous snakes. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

The couple said they are most concerned about their 4-month-old granddaughter who lives most of the time in the apartment.

"My greatest fear is them snakes getting in the bed with her. You know biting her," Patterson said.

Another resident said a small snake nearly bit her 6-year-old son outside their apartment on Thursday.

"He came into the house and was like crying and he said, 'Mommy, it was a snake, it was a snake,'" Latrice Griffin said.

Apartment management sent notices to tenants this week informing them of minimal reports of wildlife around buildings. It advised not to allow children and pets unattended outside.

Regan visited the management office seeking a comment on the lawsuit but was told the complex manager was out.

A message also was left with the corporate office asking for a response, but has yet to be returned.

Davis and her husband said they withheld paying their rent in protest over the snake invasion and have been evicted.

They are moving to another apartment complex, but will continue to seeking damages in their lawsuit for what they described as a traumatic experience.

"No one should have to tolerate this. This is something, I think, nobody should have to go through," Patterson said.