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Teter v. Old Colony Company

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia
441 S.E.2d 728 (1994)


Donald and Charlotte Teter (plaintiffs) planned to buy a home listed by broker Old Colony Company (defendant). After the inspection uncovered a crack in the backyard retaining wall, at the request of the Teters, Old Colony hired the civil-engineering firm Kelley, Gidley (defendant) to inspect the wall and home to ensure that they were structurally sound. Kelly, Gidley concluded that the wall was in good condition. The Teters purchased the property. Several years later, a landslide caused the retaining wall to collapse, resulting in significant damage to the property. After inspection by another engineer, it was determined that fill dirt that had been placed in the slope of the yard had compromised the retaining wall at some point prior to Kelley, Gidley’s inspection. The Teters filed suit against Old Colony and Kelley, Gidley, contending that Old Colony failed to fulfill its duty to reasonably inspect the property, which would have uncovered the faults in the wall. The jury found in the Teters’ favor, awarding damages and further concluding that Kelley, Gidley acted negligently in its inspection. Old Colony and Kelley, Gidley appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (McHugh, J.)

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