Governments' Lighter Side

Man sues town over plague of frogs

By Derek Prall

Clarence, N.Y. – Paul Marinaccio was distraught as he watched the 40 acres of real estate he owned slowly transform into a swamp, filled by waste water from a nearby subdivision development, but it was what the water brought with it that truly terrified him.

Frogs.

Marinaccio, 65, is utterly terrified of them. His lifelong fear of the animals, The Buffalo News reports, stems from one of Marinaccio's earliest childhood memories. When he was a youngster in his native Italy, Marinaccio wandered into a vineyard only to be chased out by an angry man wielding two giant bullfrogs. Marinaccio has taken issue with the amphibians ever since.

“I'm petrified of the little creatures,” he told the paper.

However Marinaccio's ranidaphobia may soon be quieted, as Clarence, N.Y., recently awarded him a $1.6 million settlement after he sued both the town and development firm Kieffer Enterprises for diverting the water runoff from a nearby development onto his land.

In court, Marinaccio argued that not only were his plans to develop the 40 acres ruined, but the plague of frogs caused him to become a prisoner in his own home. During the warmer months, when his slimy green foes were out in force, he even resorted to calling his adult daughter to come shoo the ribbiting nightmares away.

Although the courts decided Marinaccio was not entitled to the $250,000 he sought in punitive damages, he will still come out ahead. In addition to the damages he received, the town agreed to dig channels along the perimeter of Marinaccio's property to solve the drainage issue.

No word on plans to evict the frogs, though.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008 graduate of Furman University...
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