Sewell v. Gregory

In Sewell v. Gregory, 179 W. Va. 585, 371 S.E.2d 82 (1988), the Court concluded that a contractor's implied warranty of habitability of fitness extended to a used home purchased from a seller other than the contractor him or herself. By way of explaining our rationale for this conclusion, the Court observed that: "the purpose of a warranty is to protect innocent purchasers and hold builders accountable for their work. With that object in mind, any reasoning which would arbitrarily interpose a first buyer as an obstruction to someone equally as deserving of recovery is incomprehensible . . . . No reason has been presented to us whereby the original owner should have the benefits of an implied warranty or a recovery on a negligence theory and the next owner should not simply because there has been a transfer. Such intervening sales, standing by themselves, should not, by any standard of reasonableness, effect an end to an implied warranty or, in that matter, a right of recovery on any other ground, upon manifestation of a defect. The builder always has available the defense that the defects are not attributable to him." (Sewell, 179 W. Va. at 589, 371 S.E.2d at 86.)