Stemple v. Dobson

In Stemple v. Dobson, 184 W.Va. 317, 400 S.E.2d 561 (1990), the purchasers asserted that the vendor concealed the extent of termite damage to their new home. Conversely, the vendor asserted that the "as is" clause in the contract of sale precluded the plaintiffs from pursuing their claims. While the circuit court granted summary judgment, the Court disagreed and held that the "as is" clause in the contract of sale did not relieve the vendor of the obligation to disclose the extent of the termite damage. Thus, the Court held, that the purchasers question of fraud was appropriate for the jury. The Court stated: "The existence of an "as is" clause in a contract of sale for real estate will not relieve the vendor of his obligation to disclose a condition which substantially affects the value or habitability of the property and which condition is known to the vendor, but not to the purchaser, and would not be disclosed by a reasonable and diligent inspection. Such failure to disclose constitutes fraud."