Frog Phobic New York Man Awarded $1.6 Million

Clarence, NY – A homeowner suffering from ranidaphobia in the town of Clarence, northeast of Buffalo, was awarded $1.6 million in damages after water runoff caused his property to be besieged in frogs, inadvertently turning it into a wetland habitat.

Paul Marinaccio Sr., 65, expressed feeling like a prisoner in his home, petrified, while inundated with the slimy amphibians after storm water was diverted onto his 40-acre property, creating a breeding ground for mosquitos. The abundant food source and soggy earth triggered the massive frog population.

In court, Marinaccio described having his adult daughter come by a few nights a week to “shoo” away frogs as they blocked his garage, driveway, and doors.

The Clarence man’s paralyzing fear of the amphibians stems from a childhood incident when, in Italy, a man chased him with bullfrogs in a vineyard where his parents worked, according to CBS New York.

Marinaccio sued both the town of Clarence and a subdivision developer, Kieffer Enterprises Inc., after rerouted storm runoff from a new Kieffer subdivision flooded Marinaccio ‘s land and drew in the frogs.

Developers initially said the water would flow into a ditch elsewhere on Kieffer property but later discovered the ditch was actually on Marinaccio’s property. It was inadequate, too small to handle the flow of water.

A lower court jury returned a verdict of $1.3 million against the town and $328,400 against Kieffer for compensatory damages as well as $250,000 in punitive damages.

A court of appeals found that the developer had not acted maliciously and vacated the sum for punitive damages.

Although Marinaccio was not granted additional punitive damages totaling $250,000, he will still receive a little over $1.6 million, and the town has agreed to dig a drainage channel that should dry up the land – ultimately eliminating the issue by encouraging the frogs to go elsewhere.

[Image via Shutterestock]