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‘Ceiling Full Of Rats’ Fell On Manhattan Handyman, Lawsuit Alleges


We’ve seen giant rats on shovels. We’ve seen rats crawl over sleeping subway riders’ faces. We’ve seen desperate rats clamoring to get inside a rat nightclub. But that’s nothing compared to what one Robert Petersen, 45, has seen and endured: according to a horrifying new lawsuit filed against his former employer, Petersen was tasked with replacing a wall in an apartment when “a ceiling full of rats collapsed on him, raining down rodents and feces.”

The NY Post obtained the lawsuit and spoke with Petersen, a handyman who was working in an apartment on West 147th Street in August that was filthy and unsafe. “I was cleaning up rat feces and rat urine on soaked pieces of insulation,” Petersen tells the Post. “There were dead rats and there were [live rats] running all around me. They were trying to come out when I was trying to plaster it.”

Petersen alleges that when he requested proper gloves, safety goggles, and a mask, his boss, Crystal Fernandez of Exact Builders, told him not to “be a baby” and “get it done.” But after two days of gettin’ it done there, Petersen says he was dispatched to another job to repair a ceiling that was damaged from a leak, and that’s where “the whole thing came down on me — rats, feces, you name it.”

Petersen developed itchy welts following the incident and got so sick he says he checked himself into a hospital. He claims Fernandez threatened to fire him for missing work, and when he filed an OSHA complaint about all this, he says he was terminated in an act of retaliation. Hence the lawsuit.

An attorney for Exact Builders did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

You can read more grisly rat details about Petersen’s lawsuit here. Or if you’re now hankering for more uplifting rat content, step right this way.

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