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,"
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.