Apeter Solomon, who said he later had to endure a course of rabies jabs, says jailers knew the ward in which they placed him was infested with rodents.
man who says a rat bit his penis during a jail stay may sue county officials, a judge has ruled. New York
He says the jail was negligent and mistreated him because he is black.
Rodent problem disputedIn February 2007, Mr Solomon, a
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.
Mr Solomon, who is in his 50s, claimed the county was indifferent to his treatment and failed to protect him from the vermin, and sued for damages.
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.
They also noted the wound did not require stitching and that his injuries were merely psychological.
"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," Judge Arthur Spatt wrote.
He ruled on Thursday the suit may proceed.