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Prisoner Sues Over Rodent Bite to Penis

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By Jason Beahm on January 14, 2011 11:45 AM

U.S. prisons are not known for their cleanliness. However, incarcerated people are entitled to certain reasonable minimum requirements. For example, there shouldn't be rats running around biting peoples genitalia. But according to Peter Soloman, that's just what happened while he was incarcerated in a Long Island jail, the BBC reports.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Spatt is allowing his federal civil rights lawsuit to go forward. Solomon filed the civil suit arguing "deliberate indifference to his health and safety in failing to adequately protect him from rodents." Solomon's attorney claims that the jail had a known, recurring rodent problem.

Nassau County filed a motion, which was denied, arguing for dismissal of the claim by summary judgment. Solomon contends that jail officials didn't take reasonable steps to ensure his health and safety during his time at the East Meadow jail, the Associated Press reports. The judge agreed that Solomon's case satisfied the minimal threshold to survive a motion for summary judgment.

Summary judgment, which you about a lot in legal cases, is appropriate if the material facts of a case are not in dispute and the only questions are matters of law. In such situations, upon motion, a judge may apply the law to the uncontroverted material facts, without a trial. Summary judgment motions are frequently filed in attempts to dismiss a claim at an early stage when the opposing party believes the alleged facts do not support a claim.

In Solomon's case, he argued that a rat or similar rodent came out of a hole in his mattress and bit his penis. He says the injury has caused him emotional distress and well as sexual dysfunction. His case will continue to proceed though the mind-bendingly slow civil litigation system.

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