A man in upstate New York with a very particular phobia was recently awarded $1.6 million in damages after a developer inadvertently caused his land to be inundated by frogs.
Paul Marinaccio, 65, of Clarence, N.Y. was deluged with frogs on his property after construction at a nearby real estate project sent the little critters hopping onto his land.
In 2000, a developer began diverting water runoff towards Marinaccio’s home, essentially turning much of his property into a wetland. As a result, the frogs soon came flocking. Marinaccio’s phobia seems to stem from his childhood, as the Buffalo News reports:
[Marinaccio] traces his deep-seated fear of frogs to when he was a child in an Italian vineyard, where his parents worked. He remembers wandering to a nearby property for figs and being chased away by a man holding bullfrogs.
Apparently, that was enough to make an indelible impression. He claims he’s resorted to desperate measures in an attempt to avoid the amphibians that congregate on his land. He once even accompanied a town official to show him his home – by bulldozer.
In 2006, Marinaccio decided to sue the city for his ordeal. He told the court that at times, he cannot enter his own home because there are frogs in front of the door. In times of desperate need, he calls his daughter to come over so she can shoo the creatures away. Marinaccio, who runs a construction company, reportedly once paid a worker $65 to catch the frogs so that he could get out of his house.
“In the winter, it’s OK, because I know there’s no frogs,” Marinaccio said. “But in the summertime, I mean, I’m a damn prisoner in my own home.”