Cross examination of Mr. Atherton went pretty quickly as it was a backward testimony. That is, Wolfeboro called him to the stand and his own attorney cross examined. Somehow I’ve got the feeling that unless there is a big surprise that needs fixing, we won’t be seeing Mr. Atherton on the stand again.
Next up was Melissa Hamkins, the Wright Pierce manager who coordinated most of the work. They spent the better part of an hour making an org chart which was hardly referred to again. Be curious to see what value, if any, that might have down the road.
Most of the questions, nearly five hours worth, were focused on the overloading issue. First trying to establish that the 600,000 gallon per day permit number had no daily limit component, then that there was no explicit warning given to the town on a regular basis, and finally that Wright-Pierce should have been alerted to the April 2007 overloading because of an email that mentions a month-to-date total. None of the approaches seemed to hit the target, and the responses were considered, reasonable, and credible. It’s hard to believe that all nine jurors would think otherwise.
There was an extended line of questioning where our attorney harped on the idea that there are two one-million gallon per day pumps to feed the force main to the RIB site. Ms. Hamkins, and indeed Mr. Atherton before her, explained that municipal waste water facilities require backup pumps, and the operational capacity is one million gpd. Presumably our attorneys consider the existence of two pumps to be a compelling argument that Wright Pierce intended the RIB site to be operated at very high daily loading rates. After several sustained objections for repetitiveness, the judge finally had to object himself and order Ms. Cull to change the subject.
At least we seem to be off the fraud thing for now and the questioning seems to be focused on making the basic case, or at least trying to disarm the contributory negligence defense. At the end of the day Wolfeboro was reading into the record a deposition by Mr. Clifford Lippett from SW Cole.
Tomorrow finishes the deposition reading and probably gets through one or two NHDES witnesses. Don’t expect too much as the jury has already been told they can go home at noon.