Couple, Companies Settle Out of Court

By Michael Maynard

June 27, 1991

A South Wallingford couple ended their legal

battle with two quarry companies Tuesday in a

settlement reached out of court.

The settlement between Phillip and Elma Lidstone

and the two companies that blasted in a quarry behind

their home came as the parties were scheduled to begin

the sixth day of trial in Rutland Superior Court. The

Lidstones sued the two companies claiming the blasting

damaged their home.

The type of settlement was kept confidential

under the terms of the agreement, according to the

handwritten stipulation filed with the court. The

stipulation further stated that the claims were

withdrawn "with prejudice" meaning the Lidstones

cannot refile claims against the quarry companies.

The defendants, South Wallingford Limestone and

White Pigment Corp. had begun their defense Monday in

court. A former professor of civil engineering, Earle

Littleton, testified the vibrations felt by the

Lidstones did not cause the cracks in the couple's

200-year-old home on Route 7. He blamed it on a lack

of maintenance.

But the jury would have had to rule in favor of

the Lidstones if they found that any of the damage to

the home was due to the blasting. Under the rule of

absolute liability, the Lidstones had to only prove

that blasting resulted in damage regardless of how

careful the blasters had been.

Employees of South Wallingford Limestone,

including the company president, were prepared to

testify that the blasting activities were not

responsible for the damage, according to Joseph H.

Badgewick, attorney for White Pigment Corp.

Both sides said they were happy with the

settlement. The Lidstones "were pleased with the

final result. They thought it was fair" said the

Lidstones' attorney, Cortland T Corsones. "Both sides

felt good at the end."

The Lidstones claimed that the cracks in the

walls and ceilings of their home were due to blasting

from the quarry currently owned by South Wallingford

Limestone. White Pigment Corp. blasted out of the

quarry until 1985.

An expert witness for the Lidstones testified

last week that shocks from blasting were the only way

the cracks would have formed.

The jurors had been scheduled to visit the quarry

and the grounds of the Lidstone home as part of the

evidence. The quarry companies wanted to allow jurors

to witness a blast from the quarry but that request

was opposed by the Lidstones.

In his testimony last week, Phillip Lidstone

testified that the blasts had caused cracks as well as

dust in the home.