Attorney sues Rodriguez over sale of home

By Chris Dickerson | Jan 5, 2011


MORGANTOWN – A Weirton attorney is suing former West Virginia University and newly fired Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez over problems with the purchase of the coach's Morgantown home.

Raymond A. Hinerman Sr. and his wife Barbara B. Hinerman filed the lawsuit Dec. 27 in Monongalia Circuit Court against Richard and Rita Rodriguez. Hinerman is representing himself.

In the complaint, the Hinermans say they signed a purchase agreement for the home located in Greystone Estates for $1.3 million and was ready to close on the property on Dec. 20. The sellers asked for that closing to be moved to Dec. 22, and the buyers agreed.

On Dec. 21, the Realtor for the Rodriguezes advised the Hinermans that a room they previously hadn't been able to inspect -- because it was full of children's toys and, on one occasion, the door wouldn't open -- had suffered a water leak. On the final inspection on Dec. 22, there were ongoing attempts to dry out the "strong musty smell and obvious water leak."

The Hinermans say that all sales documents including the deed were at the Realtor's office and ready for the closing when the Rodriguezes' attorney called "stating that there would be no sale until the buyers signed a document accepting full responsibility for the leak and its consequences."

The Hinermans refused to sign the document and "demanded the sale proceed and tendered the full purchase price to the Realtor." Later, in a phone conversation with the Rodriguezes' counsel, Hinerman says he was told the sellers "were unilaterally continuing the closing until sometime before Dec. 31, 2010."

The Hinermans argue that the leak and damages are not their responsibility and that the Rodriguezes should fix it. The Rodriguezes refuse, and the closing had not been reset at the time of the filing on Dec. 27. The Hinermans say they have been harmed financially by the postponement.

The Hinermans say the Rodriguezes are creating an anticipatory breach of contract. They also say the Rodriguezes "are aware of another buyer willing to pay more than the contracted sale price."

Also, the Hinermans also claim that a Four Winds boat would be given to them with the purchase of the home. But after signing the purchase agreement, they say the Rodriguezes then said the boat would cost roughly an extra $40,000.

The Hinermans say their current Morgantown home has a pending closing date, and that means they might have to store furniture, clothing and other household goods until this closing is completed.

The Hinermans seek to enjoin the Rodriguezes from selling the property to any other persons and to convey it to them for the agreed sale price without any pre-conditions. They also want to resolve the issue of who has responsibility for the repair of the leak and its damages. They also want a special commissioner appointed to do what sellers are ordered to do should they not immediately do so. And they want compensatory and punitive damages as well as other relief including attorney fees, court costs, inconvenience, mental stress and loss of productive time.

On Dec. 30, the Rodriguezes asked the court to dismiss the Hinerman complaint and to deny the motion for injunctive relief. The dismissal motion is based on the Hinerman's "failure to state a breach of contract claim upon which relief can be granted," according to the motion filed by Morgantown attorney Gary S. Wigal. "Likewise, the plaintiffs' motion for injunctive relief must fail because the plaintiffs have not met their evidentiary burden of proof."

They say the purchase agreement states that, "It is understood that this property is being sold 'as is' and seller will make no repairs." It goes on to note that Hinerman is an attorney "who would real the agreement, and who understood the above language."

The Rodriguezes say they compromised the sale price to allow a cushion with which the buyers could make repairs If necessary.

"Now, the Hinermans demand the benefit of the price reduction and that the sellers pay for repairs," Wigal wrote in the motion.

The Rodriguezes also dismiss the argument about the boat being included in the sale of the home.

"The boat is not listed ... because there was not a meeting of the minds on the purchase of the boat," Wigal wrote.

Hinerman declined comment on the case or the sale of the home Wednesday, and Wigal didn't return calls seeking comment.

Rodriguez was WVU's football coach from 2001 to 2007. He led the Mountaineers to the cusp of the national championship game in the 2007 season. A loss to unranked rival Pittsburgh knocked WVU from a chance at the title.

Days after he left WVU, the university took Rodriguez to court over his $4 million buyout clause with the school. In July 2008, the parties settled that suit. Michigan paid $2.5 million of the buyout, and Rodriguez paid the other $1.5 million.

Rodriguez, who was fired Wednesday after coaching at Michigan for three years, led the Wolverines to the school's worst record in history in 2008 with a 3-9 record. His record at Michigan was 15-22, including the Jan. 1 loss to Mississippi State 52-14 in the Gator Bowl.

Monongalia Circuit Court case number: 10-C-896

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