The Orange Leader
CLARENCE, N.Y. —
Paul Marinaccio Sr. traces his fear of frogs to a childhood incident in Italy when a man holding bullfrogs chased him away after he'd wandered from the vineyard where his parents worked.
Decades later, he found himself describing his phobia to a jury, calling himself "a prisoner in my own home" after runoff water from a nearby development turned his 40-acre property into wetlands and inundated it with frogs.
"I am petrified. I go home at night and I can't get in my garage because of the frogs," Marinaccio testified in 2009. "They're right in front of the damn door, OK?"
It was part of a seven-year legal fight involving Marinaccio, the town of Clarence and a developer that, according to The Buffalo News, finally ended last month when the state's highest court ruled that Marinaccio, who was awarded $1.6 million in compensation after the 2009 trial, is not entitled to an additional $250,000 in punitive damages.
Marinaccio sued Clarence, a Buffalo suburb, and Kieffer Enterprises Inc. after runoff diverted onto Marinaccio's property from a new Kieffer subdivision turned it into wetlands. A town engineer initially said the water would flow into a ditch elsewhere on Kieffer property. The town later discovered the ditch was actually on Marinaccio's property, and that it was too small to handle the flow of water.