Homeowner Says Blasting

Made Couple "Very Nervous"

By Michael Maynard

June 20, 1991

The owner of a 200-year-old home in South

Wallingford testified Wednesday that blasting from a

nearby quarry twice a week has damaged the home and

made his family nervous when they venture into the


"You feel the vibration of the blast carry

through the ground into the house," said Phillip

Lidstone, who testified in Rutland Superior Court.

"It made us always very anxious, very nervous."

Lidstone and his wife, Elma, own the colonial

home on Route 7 that they say is deteriorating as a

result of the vibrations from blasting. They have

sued White Pigment Corp., the former owners, and South

Wallingford Limestone, the quarry's owner since 1985.

Attorneys for the quarry owners claim the cracked

walls and ceilings at the Lidstone home are the result

of the home's age, its lack of upkeep, and its

proximity to Route 7.

They will be able to cross-examine Lidstone on

Thursday. Following the Lidstones' witnesses, the

quarry's attorneys will present their own witnesses,

including an expert who will testify that the quarry

blasting has had no effect on the area homes.

But Wednesday, Lidstone testified about the

blasts and the damage that he claims has resulted.

Lidstone, a math teacher at Mill River Union High

School, said blasts from the quarry, situated just

behind their home, occur an average of twice a week.

He said the blasting had taken place since he and his

wife bought the home from his wife's parents in 1969.

Under the state's statute of limitations, though,

the Lidstones can only claim damages on property six

years prior to the filing of the lawsuit and damages

on personal injuries three years prior. The lawsuit

was filed in June 1987.

Lidstone said he observed cracks in the walls,

ceilings, chimneys and pieces of slate missing from

his roof following blasts from the quarry. "Usually

cracks would develop, but there are times when chunks

of plaster would come off ceilings and walls,"

Lidstone testified.

The dust, Lidstone testified, "Fills your eyes,

it fills your respiratory tract and lungs."

Lidstone said he has "put a lot of time into

repairs and maintenance." He testified he had

replaced five plaster walls and five plaster ceilings

since June 1981 costing $500. He also testified about

the number of hours per week and days per year he

spent cleaning dust and fixing fences damaged by


But Lidstone was not allowed to testify about the

"lost profits" from boarding horses and renting an

apartment. White Pigment Company attorney Joseph H.

Badgewick asked Superior Judge Silvio T. Valente for a

mistrial or a continuance because he was given no

detailed financial information until Wednesday morning

before the trial.

With the jury out of the room, Badgewick said

Phillip Lidstone testified at three pre-trial

depositions, but never provided an itemization of

damages. Badgewick said it was unfair that he was

expected to cross-examine Lidstone without having a

chance to evaluate the damages without having an

expert witness present. In response, Cortland T.

Corsones said that Lidstone had testified about

damages at depositions. "What he did not do in his

deposition is break it up in a year by year basis," he


After discussions between attorneys and their

clients and a conference with Valente in his chambers,

the itemization of expenses was excluded from trial.