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withdrawn "with prejudice" meaning the Lidstones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
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.