Archie_R_Cole_Middle_School_2012_1024After two days of deliberation, the eight-person jury in the Cole construction trial found the Town of East Greenwich liable for nuisance and awarded the plaintiffs $240,000 – $80,000 per household.

The verdict Wednesday brought to a close a trial that began three weeks ago, on March 4. Plaintiffs Chris and Susan Lamendola; Tom Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi; and Keith and Wendy Amelotte all live on Sarah’s Trace, a cul-de-sac near to Cole Middle School. In 2011, they filed suit against the town, the school department, Gilbane Construction, architect/engineer SMMA, Strategic Building Solutions, Fleet Construction, Manafort Brothers, and Aldinger & Associates, claiming negligence, damage and nuisance resulted from construction of the new Cole school building between 2009 and 2011.

Superior Court Judge Gallo dismissed all damage and negligence claims against defendants in the Cole construction trial Friday, March 20, leaving a single claim of nuisance against the town.

“It’s been a long road for them. I’m very pleased with the verdict. Given what the jury had to work with on the nuisance claim, I think that it’s a strong amount of money,” said plaintiffs’ attorney David Maglio after the judge dismissed the jury. “I’m just very, very happy for them.”

Maglio said it was too early to tell, but that an appeal was “definitely a possibility.”

Michael DeSisto, attorney for the town, had no comment. Both sides have 10 days to file post-trial motions.

Construction on the new Cole Middle School began in November 2009 and Chris Lamendola at 50 Sarah’s Trace, which abuts the school, contacted town officials soon after to complain of vibrations he and his wife were experiencing as a result of the construction. They then began reporting that the vibrations were causing cracks in their house, on their basketball court and in their pool. Neighbors Tom Hogan and Cynthia Pelosi also registered complaints, starting in December 2009.

Seismic monitors were placed at the residents’ property line from Dec. 28 to May 7, 2010. The results indicated the vibrations from the construction did not rise to the level that would cause damage. Two engineering companies surveyed the Sarah’s Trace properties as well as others in the vicinity where residents had reported vibrations and damage.

In August 2010, a third couple, Wendy and Keith Amelotte, of 35 Sarah’s Trace, noticed damage they believed was caused by the construction.

You can find all the EG News stories on the Cole construction lawsuit here.

Sign up for the EG News newsletter  here. You can like us on Facebook  here, or follow us on Twitter (@egreenwichnews)  here.

And, if you like what you’re reading, consider supporting East Greenwich News by clicking here.