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Ryland, homeowner settle lawsuits


Columbia-based homebuilder Ryland Group Inc. and a dissatisfied homeowner who had been picketing the company's headquarters have settled the lawsuits they had brought against each another, the attorney for the homeowner said Friday.

The lawyer, Robert DiCicco of Towson, said the out-of-court agreement barred him from disclosing details of the settlement, reached Thursday, between Ryland and Baltimore County resident Mark Kukucka.

Mr. Kukucka said he, too, could not comment on the agreement.

David Lesser, Ryland's general counsel, was not available for comment, his office said Friday.

"Obviously, we would not have settled if it had not been advantageous to my client," Mr. DiCicco said.

Mr. Kukucka sued Ryland in November 1994, contending that there were 88 things wrong with his home, from poorly installed carpeting to basement leaks. He claimed a breach of his contract with the homebuilder.

The 34-year-old scientist became an occasional lunch-hour figure in Columbia, picketing the builder's corporate headquarters on Little Patuxent Parkway. On some weekends, Mr. Kukucka picketed some of Ryland's new-home developments in Baltimore and Howard counties.

In March, Ryland filed a $750,000 suit against Mr. Kukucka alleging that he had harassed sales employees, causing some to fear for their safety by following them home and calling them and preventing business at some sales centers.

Mr. DiCicco said both suits were addressed in the agreement.

The parties had sought to settle the case two weeks ago. Mr. Kukucka said then that Ryland had offered to buy back his home. He said he rejected the offer because he wanted Ryland to pay him for the closing costs he paid when he bought the home and that he didn't want to agree to a gag order about the settlement.

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