The homeowners who are suing the town, the school department and construction companies over damage they say was caused by construction of the new Cole Middle School, were delivered a blow Thursday, when Superior Court Judge Bennett Gallo refused to allow testimony on potential repair estimates.
Gallo made the ruling during a trial on the case that began nearly three weeks ago.
“I’ve read the case law you’ve offered,” Gallo said to David Maglio, lawyer for the homeowners (or plaintiffs). “There’s no evidence for the cost of repair. There’s nothing that would indicate on the record that there’s any permanent damage at these properties.”
Gallo was referring to the properties owned by three couples: Chris and Susan Lamendola at 50 Sarah’s Trace, Paul Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi at 40 Sarah’s Trace, and Wendy and Keith Amelotte at 35 Sarah’s Trace.
Earlier Thursday, Gallo ruled against allowing certain testimony from Michael Cassavoy, an architect hired by the plaintiffs to assess what repairs were needed as a result of the construction of Cole Middle School.
“Objection sustained on Cassavoy’s testimony based on an absence of evidence tying specific damage to the construction activity,” said Gallo. “Recommendations are one thing; the law requires necessity.”
These ruling were made when the jury was not present.
In other courtroom action Thursday, one of the alternate members of the jury was dismissed due to pre-existing travel plans. That brings the jury to six sitting and two alternate jurors. The trial had been slated to run for three weeks. With the plaintiffs due to rest their case Friday morning, the defense will then present its case, followed by closing statements and jury deliberation, making a fourth trial week all but certain.
Testimony continues Friday. You can find an archive of EG News stories about the homeowner lawsuit here.
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