After questions about whether Con Ed would be able to maintain objectivity when testing equipment from the area of July 18's Midtown steam pipe explosion, a State Supreme Court judge ruled that the utility could test a steam trap. Earlier, a state regulator suggested there could have been build-up in the trap, caused it to malfunction and causing the explosion.
A lawyer representing the person most critically injured from the explosion, 21-year-old Gregory McCullough who suffered third-degree burns over 80% of his body and may face the amputation of an arm and a leg, had suggested that Con Ed, or any firm hired by Con Ed or the Public Service Commission, were too involved to test the trap. Justice Bruce Balter disagreed and ordered that Con Ed could test the trap, but only as long as experts from McCullough's legal team were allowed to witness and document the testing.
Con Ed's lawyer, Henry Miller, was pleased with the ruling and said, "The last thing Con Ed wants is to do anything in secret, so we could be accused of being secretive. We are being as open as we can." Still, Kenneth Thompson, who represents McCullough, still wondered why Con Ed didn't want an independent monitor, "At the end of the day, what is Con Ed afraid of? They're afraid because they have something to hide."
The NY Times also has some interesting interplay between Miller and Thompson - Miller implied that Thompson was less "seasoned" than other lawyers in court and Thompson mentioned wanting to have fun trying the case, while Miller was nearby.