Claimant appeared in person.
Robert D. Pollitt, Assistant Attorney General, for the respondent.


On November 2, 1985, claimant attended a public auction of the West
Virginia Department of
Finance and Administration, Surplus Property Division. He bid on a 1976
GMC pickup truck.
His bid was accepted, and he paid $725.00 for the vehicle. He drove the
truck to his home in
Ravenswood on November 13, 1985. subsequently, he determined that the
truck had a cracked
motor block which he alleges was a defect in the vehicle at the time of
purchase. He seeks

Claimant testified that he is an automobile mechanic. He did not have
the opportunity to
inspect this vehicle before he bought it. He alleges that respondent
attempted to cover the crack
in the motor block with epoxy. He used the interstate on the trip back
to Ravenswood, and did
not experience any problems with the truck. On that day. he changed the
oil. In March of 1986
he drove the truck to and from a motor service garage. Other than these
two instances, he has
moved the truck only to cut the grass. He stated that he did not put the
epoxy on the manifold of
the truck.

Mr. Roy Headley, Shop Foreman for Motor Service Garage in Ravenswood,
testified that he
has been a mechanic for twenty-three years. He inspected claimant's
vehicle on March 24, 1986
and observed that someone had use epoxy to seal a crack in the motor
block. It appeared to
Mr. Headley that the epoxy had been placed there to cover up a crack in
the block. He
estimated that the cost of putting a rebuilt motor in the GMC truck is
$976.80. He was unable to
state whether the epoxy substance could have been placed on the motor
block for a period of
more than four months or five months.

George Afflerbach, Director of the Department of Finance and
Administration's Surplus
Property Division, testified that during the week prior to an auction,
the public is given the
opportunity to inspect everything that is for sale. He stated that his
staff does not repair vehicles
unless somebody demonstrates an interest in a particular vehicle and it
would help to sell the
vehicle. His agency did not make any repairs to the vehicle in question,
such as placing epoxy
upon the block.

Anthony Nichols, mechanic with the Surplus Property Agency, testified
that it is rare for him to
do an inspection or repair of the vehicles for the auctions. He
estimates that approximately 800
vehicles a year come through Surplus Property for sale. To his
knowledge, he has not repaired
any cracked blocks in engines on vehicles placed for sale by Surplus

The Court, in good conscience, cannot deny this claim. although there
has been no evidence
showing that respondent was aware of the crack in the manifold of the
vehicle which it sold, a
crack was present at the time of sale. To deny this claim, the Court
would permit unjust
enrichment. The Court is of the opinion to, and hereby, awards the
claimant the amount paid for
the vehicle, $725.00.

Award of $725.00.