NEW LONDON–F.L. Merritt Inc. won’t be permitted to put an expert witness on the stand in the May Superior Court trial to determine whether GOSA or a developer will acquire the 75-acre Merritt property on Fort Hill.

Superior Court Judge James Devine said in a ruling that reached GOSA Feb. 20, 2005, that University of Connecticut law Professor Lewis Kurlantzick would not be permitted to testify as an expert for F.L. Merritt Inc., which seeks to sell the land to GOSA for $1 million.

¬†The developer, Ravenswood Construction LLC, had filed a motion to bar Prof. Kurlantzick’s testimony on grounds that an expert witness testifying on matters of contract law would usurp the role of the trial judge.

¬†Merritt’s attorney, William Kroll of Noank, said that although Prof. Kurlantzick now won’t testify, his expert advice will be of great value in the trial.

In another matter related to the Merritt property, a settlement hearing Feb. 15 at the Superior Court in New London on a GOSA appeal was continued to early June. The hearing on GOSA’s appeal to the state Appellate Court was put off pending the outcome of the May trial. In the appeal, GOSA seeks a reversal of a Superior Court ruling that upheld the Groton Planning Commission’s approval of 48-house subdivision on the Merritt property.