Attorney amends complaint against Rodriguez

By Chris Dickerson | Jan 10, 2011


MORGANTOWN – A Weirton attorney who sued former West Virginia University and newly fired Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez over problems with the purchase of the coach's Morgantown home has amended his original complaint.

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

In their Jan. 7 amended complaint, the Hinermans say the purchase of the house was completed on Dec. 30, but that it wasn't finalized until Jan. 3 because the Monongalia County Courthouse was closed on Dec. 31.

In the original 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."

In the amended complaint, the Hinermans provide more details. They say that in September, the door was locked.

"Buyers now believe that the door was locked so they could not inspect the room before making a final offer," they wrote, also adding that on the Dec. 22 inspection there was a sign on the door that said "Do Not Open."

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.

In the amended complaint, the Hinermans go into more detail about the boat, too. They say there was a verbal agreement that the boat would be included in the sale of the home

But, according to Realtor Kathy Martin, Rita Rodriguez said, "They did not pay enough ... tell them if they want the boat they have to purchase it separately."

On Dec. 30, the Rodriguezes asked the court to dismiss the Hinerman's original 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.

In their amended complaint, the Hinermans seek the boat or the fair market value of the boat, costs to correct the damage to the home and contents damaged by the water leak, inconvenience and compensatory damages for damages caused by the leak, punitive damages for concealment and fraud, attorney fees, loss of income for Mr. Hinerman's time spent on the case, court costs and other relief.

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 last week 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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