CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Supreme Court reversed a lower court's ruling and unanimously agreed with a Weirton couple who sued former West Virginia University football coach Rich Rodriguez and his wife over a house sale on Cheat Lake.
The high court unanimously agreed with Weirton attorney Raymond Hinerman and his wife, Barbara, who sued Rodriguez and his wife, Rita, for fraud and wrote that the case shouldn't have been thrown out without a sufficient opportunity for discovery in the case.
The case will be sent back to Monongalia County Circuit Court.
The dispute began in 2010, when the Hinermans agreed to purchase the Rodriguez's house on Cheat Lake for about $1.3 million.
Shortly before the sale, Rita Rodriguez discovered a water leak in one of the basement rooms. After the purchase was made, the Hinermans filed suit, claiming the leak and the damage it caused had not been fully disclosed and had been fraudulently concealed from them.
Monongalia Circuit Judge Phillip Gaujot ruled in favor of the Rodriguez family. He determined that the leak and damage were disclosed, that the Hinermans purchased the property anyway, and that they were not entitled to relief.
Hinerman, representing himself, argued that the purchase agreement's "as is" language applied at the time the contract was signed, but that the damage occurred later.
Hinerman contended that he and his wife had inspected the property themselves, but the room with the leak was filled with toys and not able to be inspected.
Gary Wigal, the lawyer for the Rodriguez family, argued that the Hinermans had full knowledge of the problem before they purchased the house and that they had the option to obtain professional inspection of the home, and since they declined to do so, they gave up any right they might have had to have repairs completed at the Rodriguez family's expense.