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Designer Baskets Inc v Airsea Transport Digest

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  Designer Baskets, Inc v. Air Sea Transport Facts:   DBI is a domestic corporation engaged in the production of housewares and handicraft items for export.   In October 1995, Ambiente, a foreign-based company, ordered from DBI 223 cartons of assorted wooden items.   Ambiente designated ACCLI as the forwarding agent that will ship out its order from the Philippines to the United States. ACCLI is a domestic corporation acting as agent of ASTI, a US based corporation engaged in carrier transport business, in the Philippines.   On January 7, 1996, DBI delivered the shipment to  ACCLI for sea transport from Manila and delivery to Ambiente. To acknowledge receipt and to serve as the contract of sea carriage, ACCLI issued to DBI triplicate copies of ASTI Bill of Lading. DBI retained possession of the srcinals of the bills of lading pending the payment of the goods by  Ambiente.   On January 23, 1996, Ambiente and ASTI entered into an Indemnity Agreement. Under the  Agreement, Ambiente obligated ASTI to deliver the shipment to it or to its order “without the surrender of the relevant bill(s) of lading due to the non- arrival or loss thereof.”  In exchange, Ambiente undertook to indemnify and hold ASTI and its agent free from any liability as a result of the release of the shipment. Thereafter, ASTI released the shipment to Ambiente without the knowledge of DBI, and without it receiving payment for the total cost of the shipment.   DBI then made several demands to Ambiente for the payment of the shipment, but to no avail. Thus, on October 7, 1996, DBI filed the Original Complaint against ASTI, ACCLI and ACCLI’s incorporators-stockholders   DBI claimed that under Bill of Lading is “to release and deliver the cargo/shipment to the consignee, x x x, only after the srcinal copy or copies of [the] Bill of Lading is or are surrendered to them; otherwise, they become liable to the shipper for the value of the shipment.”  DBI also averred that  ACCLI should be jointly and severally liable with its codefendants because ACCLI failed to register  ASTI as a foreign corporation doing business in the Philippines. In addition, ACCLI failed to secure a license to act as agent of ASTI. Issue : WON ASTI, ACCLI, and Ambiente are solidarily liable to DBI for the value of the shipment. Held: Petition Denied. 1) A common carrier may release the goods to the consignee even without the surrender of the bill of lading. The general rule is that upon receipt of the goods, the consignee surrenders the bill of lading to the carrier and their respective obligations are considered canceled. The law, however, provides two exceptions where the goods may be released without the surrender of the bill of lading because the consignee can no longer return it. These exceptions are when the bill of lading gets lost or for other cause. In either case, the consignee must issue a receipt to the carrier upon the release of the goods. Such receipt shall produce the same effect as the surrender of the bill of lading. We have already ruled that the non-surrender of the srcinal bill of lad ing does not violate the carrier’s duty of extraordinary diligence over the goods (Republic v. Lorenzo Shipping Corporation). Thus, we held that the surrender of the srcinal bill of lading is not a condition precedent for a common carrier to be discharged of its contractual obligation. Clearly, law and jurisprudence is settled that the surrender of the srcinal bill of lading is not absolute; that in case of loss or any other cause, a common carrier may release the goods to the consignee even without it. 2) Articles 1733, 1734, and 1735 of the Civil Code are not applicable.  Articles 1733, 1734, and 1735 speak of the common carrier's responsibility over the goods. They refer to the general liability of common carriers in case of loss, destruction or deterioration of goods and the presumption of negligence against them. The applicable provision instead is Article 353 of the Code of Commerce, the Article allows the release of the goods to the consignee even without his surrender of the srcinal bill of lading. In such case, the duty of the carrier to exercise extraordinary diligence is not violated. Nothing, therefore, prevented the consignee and the carrier to enter into an indemnity agreement of the same nature as the one they entered here. No law or public policy is contravened upon its execution. 3) Article 1503 of the Civil Code does not apply to contracts for carriage of goods.  Articles 1523 and 1503, refer to a contract of sale between a seller and a buyer. In particular, they refer to who between the seller and the buyer has the right of possession or ownership over the goods subject of the sale. Articles 1523 and 1503 do not apply to a contract of carriage between the shipper and the common carrier.    Transportation Case Digest: Sweet Lines, Inc. V. Teves (1978) G.R. No. L-37750 May 19, 1978 Lessons Applicable: Contract of Adhesion (Transportation) Laws Applicable: FACTS:    Atty. Leovigildo Tandog and Rogelio Tiro bought tickets for Tagbilaran City via the port of Cebu    Since many passengers were bound for Surigao, M/S Sweet Hope would not be proceeding to Bohol    They went to the proper branch office and was relocated to M/S Sweet Town where they were forced to agree to hide at the cargo section to avoid inspection of the officers of the Philippine Coastguard. and they were exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the dust coming from the ship's cargo of corn grits and their tickets were not honored so they had to purchase a new one    They sued Sweet Lines for damages and for breach of contract of carriage before the Court of First Instance of Misamis Oriental who dismissed the complaint for improper venue    A motion was premised on the condition printed at the back of the tickets -dismissed    instant petition for prohibition for preliminary injunction ISSUE: W/N a common carrier engaged in inter-island shipping stipulate thru condition printed at the back of passage tickets to its vessels that any and all actions arising out of the contract of carriage should be filed only in a particular province or city HELD: NO. petition for prohibition is DISMISSED. Restraining order LIFTED and SET ASIDE    contract of adhesion    not that kind of a contract where the parties sit down to deliberate, discuss and agree specifically on all its terms, but rather, one which respondents took no part at all in preparing     just imposed upon them when they paid for the fare for the freight they wanted to ship    We find and hold that Condition No. 14 printed at the back of the passage tickets should be held as void and unenforceable for the following reasons    circumstances obligation in the inter-island ship    will prejudice rights and interests of innumerable passengers in different s of the country who, under Condition No. 14, will have to file suits against petitioner only in the City of Cebu    subversive of public policy on transfers of venue of actions    philosophy underlying the provisions on transfer of venue of actions is the convenience of the plaintiffs as well as his witnesses and to promote 21 the ends of  justice DOLE PHILIPPINES, INC. v MARITIME COMPANY OF THE PHILIPPINES Facts: The cargo subject of the instant case was discharged in Dadiangas unto the custody of the consignee, Dole Philippines. The corresponding claim for the damages sustained by the cargo was filed by the plaintiff with the defendant, Maritime Company on May 4, 1972. On June 11, 1973 the plaintiff filed a complaint in the CFI Manila embodying 3 causes of action involving 3 separate and different shipments. The third cause of action therein involved the cargo now subject of this present litigation. On December 11, 1974, Judge Serafin Cuevas issued an Order dismissing the first two causes of action. The third cause of action which covered the cargo subject of this case now was likewise dismissed but without prejudice as it was not covered by the settlement. Because of the dismissal of the complaint with respect to the third cause of action, DOLE instituted this present complaint on January 6, 1975. Maritime filed an answer pleading inter alia the affirmative defense of prescription under the provisions of the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. The Trial Court granted the motion, scheduling the preliminary hearing on April 27, 1977. The record before the Court does not show whether or not that hearing was held, but under date of May 6, 1977, Maritime filed a formal motion to dismiss invoking once more the ground of prescription. The Trial Court, after due consideration, resolved the matter in favor of Maritime and dismissed the complaint. Issue: Whether or not Article 1155 of the Civil Code applies in lieu of the COGSA. Held: No. Article 1155 of the Civil Code provides that the prescription of actions is interrupted by the making of an extrajudicial written demand by the creditor Section 3, paragraph 6 of the COGSA provides that: the carrier and the ship shall be discharged from all liability in respect of loss or damage unless suit is brought within one year after delivery of the goods or the date when the goods should have been delivered; Provided, That, if a notice of loss or damage,  either apparent or conceded, is not given as provided for in this section, that fact shall not affect or prejudice the right of the shipper to bring suit within one year after the delivery of the goods or the date when.the goods should have been delivered. 1. Dole argues that since the provisions of the Civil Code are, by express mandate of said Code, suppletory of deficiencies in the Code of Commerce and special laws in matters governed by the latter and there being a patent deficiency with respect to the tolling of the prescriptive period provided for in the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, prescription under said Act is subject to the provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code on tolling. Since Dole's claim for loss or damage was filed on May 4, 1972 amounted to a written extrajudicial demand which would toll or interrupt prescription under Article 1155, it operated to toll prescription also in actions under the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act. These arguments might merit weightier consideration were it not for the fact that the question has already received a definitive answer, adverse to the position taken by Dole, in The Yek Tong Lin Fire & Marine Insurance Co., Ltd. vs. American President Lines, Inc. 2. Dole argues that it was error for the court not to have considered the action of plaintiff-appellant suspended by the extrajudicial demand which took place, according to defendant's own motion to dismiss on August 22, 1952. Court noticed that while plaintiff avoids stating any date when the goods arrived in Manila, it relies upon the allegation made in the motion to dismiss that a protest was filed on August 22, 1952 —  which goes to show that plaintiff-appellant's counsel has not been laying the facts squarely before the court for the consideration of the merits of the case. We have already decided that in a case governed by the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act, the general provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure on prescription should not be made to apply. (Chua Kuy vs. Everett Steamship Corp., G.R. No. L-5554, May 27, 1953.) We hold that in such a case the general provisions of the new Civil Code (Art. 1155) cannot be made to apply, as such application would have the effect of extending the one-year period of prescription fixed in the law. It is desirable that matters affecting transportation of goods by sea be decided in as short a time as possible; the application of the provisions of Article 1155 of the new Civil Code would unnecessarily extend the period and permit delays in the settlement of questions affecting transportation, contrary to the clear intent and purpose of the law. Under Dole's theory, when its claim was received by Maritime, the one-year prescriptive period was interrupted and began to run anew from May 4, 1972, affording Dole another period of one year counted from that date within which to institute action on its claim for damage. Unfortunately, Dole let the new period lapse without filing action. It instituted Civil Case No. 91043 only on June 11, 1973, more than one month after that period has expired and its right of action had prescribed.
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