Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Ryland settles second lead suit

Another family may add to spate of lawsuits over contamination

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LIBERTY TWP. - Ryland Homes settled a lawsuit on Tuesday with a second Lexington Manor family over lead and arsenic contamination in their yard.

The settlement, which was not disclosed, came one day before a Butler County Common Pleas Court judge was expected to rule on whether Drew and Tara Dilley had to continue making monthly payments on their $234,400 home.

Lexington Manor has been declared a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. A cleanup should start this summer.

The Dilleys plan to move as soon as possible. They were joyous Tuesday over the settlement, saying that their daughter, Elyse, 3, soon can play in a clean, safe yard.

"It's great, a great relief," Drew Dilley, 34, said. "It's just been really rough and even though Elyse probably doesn't realize what's going on, it hasn't been fair for her. No child should have to live in a Superfund site."

Ryland has offered most residents the original purchase price of their home, $15,000 in additional expenses and $10,000 off their next Ryland house, should they choose to purchase one.

Drew Dilley could not discuss the terms of his settlement Tuesday. But he recently told the Enquirer he wasn't happy with Ryland's first buyback offer and wanted more money so they could purchase a comparable home nearby and to cover attorneys' fees.

Twelve other lots are contaminated and more might be discovered, according to the EPA.

A Ryland spokeswoman did not return calls Tuesday for comment.

Meanwhile, more Lexington Manor families might sue Ryland. On Tuesday, the Dilleys' attorney, Rob Croskery of Mason, was retained by AnneMarie and Colin Hester. Croskery said he expects to file a lawsuit on their behalf soon against Ryland and others involved.

Earlier this month, the Dilleys' neighbors, Ed and Robin Lumbert, also settled with Ryland one day before they were due in court to ask a judge rule that they didn't have to keep making their house payment.

Eighteen families remain who have sued Ryland over the contamination. Lexington Manor was built on 26 acres off Millikin Road that used to hold a skeet shooting range.


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