US judge rules inmate ‘bitten on penis by rodent’ may sue

Friday, January 14, 2011

LONDON - A prisoner in a jail in New York has been given the green light by a judge to sue county officials after a rat bit him on his penis, for which he says he had to endure a course of rabies jabs.

Peter Solomon said jailers knew the ward in which they placed him was infested with rodents, and that the jail was negligent and mistreated him because he is black.

Solomon, a Vietnam veteran who says he has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder, was jailed in the Nassau County Correctional Center near New York City pending trial on charges he had menaced his wife.

He was transferred to a medical observation unit amid worries he was mentally ill. He claims at night a rat “or similar rodent” emerged from a hole in his mattress and bit him on the penis and hand, drawing blood.

Solomon, who is in his 50s, sued for damages and claimed the county was indifferent to his treatment and failed to protect him from the vermin.

Lawyers for Nassau County have sought to have the suit dismissed, as experts say the wound did not require stitching and that his injuries were merely psychological.

County officials said they were shielded from lawsuits because they had acted in an official capacity, they were unaware of substantial risks, and they disputed the notion that a rodent problem existed in the jail.

“The parties dispute whether the rodent was a mouse or a rat, whether Solomon was bitten or scratched, and the nature and extent of his injuries,” the BBC quoted Judge Arthur Spatt as writing.

He ruled the suit may proceed. (ANI)

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