Court Filings

Remedial Law Cases 2012

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  Planters Development Bank vs. Chandumal, 680 SCRA 269(2012) If a defendant has not been properly summoned, the court acquires no jurisdiction over its  person, and a judgment rendered against it is null and void . Personal service of summons should and always be the first option, and it is only when the said summons cannot be served within a reasonable time can the process server resort to substituted service . The requisites for a valid substituted service of summons, summed up as follows: (1) impossibility of prompt personal service — the party relying on substituted service or the sheriff must show that the defendant cannot be served promptly or there is impossibility of prompt service; (2) specific details in the return — the sheriff must describe in the Return of Summons the  facts and circumstances surrounding the attempted personal service; (3) a person of suitable age and discretion — the sheriff must determine if the person found in the alleged dwelling or residence of defendant is of legal age, what the recipient’s relationship with the defendant is, and whether said person comprehends the significance of the receipt of the summons and his duty to immediately deliver it to the defendant or at least notify the defendant of said receipt of summons, which matters must be clearly and specifically described in the Return of Summons; and (4) a competent person in charge, who must have sufficient knowledge to understand the obligation of the defendant in the summons, its importance, and the prejudicial effects arising from inaction on the summons. The filing of motions to admit answer, for additional time to file answer, for reconsideration of a default judgment, and to lift order of default with motion for reconsideration is considered voluntary submission to t he trial court’s jurisdiction . Magdiwang Realty Corporation vs. The Manila Banking Corporation, 680 SCRA 251(2012) Section 1, Rule 45 then categorically states that a petition for review on certiorari shall raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth. A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while there is a question of fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts. For a question to be one of law, the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. The resolution of the issue must rest solely on what the law provides on the given set of circumstances. Once it is clear that the issue invites a review of the evidence presented, the question posed is one of fact. The issue of the alleged novation involves a question of fact, as it necessarily requires a  factual determination on the existence of the following requisites of novation: (1) there must be a  previous valid obligation; (2) the parties concerned must agree to a new contract; (3) the old contract must be extinguished; and (4) there must be a valid new contract. Findings of fact of the trial court are entitled to great weight on appeal and should not be disturbed unless for strong and cogent reasons because the trial court is in a better position to examine real evidence, as well as observe the demeanor of the witnesses while testifying in the case.  Where defendants before a trial court are declared in default, they thereby lose their right to object to the reception of the plaintiff’s evidence establishing his cause of action . Preponderance of evidence is the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either side and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term “greater weight of evidence” or “greater weight of the credible evidence.”   Government Service Insurance System vs. Cancino-Erum, 680 SCRA 44(2012) Section 2 of Rule 20, as follows: Section   2. Assignment of Cases. — The assignment of cases to the different branches of a court shall be done exclusively by raffle. The assignment shall be done in open session of which adequate notice shall be given so as to afford interested parties the opportunity to be present. The avowed purpose of instituting raffle as the exclusive method of assigning cases among several branches of a court in the same station is two-fold: one  , to equalize the distribution of the cases among the several branches, and thereby foster the Court’s policy of promoting speedy and efficient disposition of cases; and, two  , to ensure the impartial adjudication of cases and thereby obviate any suspicion regarding assignment of cases to predetermined judges. The urgent nature of an injunction or Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO) case demands  prompt action and immediate attention, thereby compelling the filing of the case in the proper court without delay. Palmiano-Salvador vs. Angeles, 679 SCRA 561(2012)   If a complaint is filed for and in behalf of the plaintiff [by one] who is not authorized to do so, the complaint is not deemed filed; hence, the court should dismiss the complaint on the ground that it has no jurisdiction over the complaint and the plaintiff  . Lim vs. Kou Co Ping, 679 SCRA 114(2012)  A single act or omission that causes damage to an offended party may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender  — (1) civil liability ex delicto, that is, civil liability arising from the criminal offense under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and (2) independent civil liability, that is, civil liability that may be pursued independently of the criminal proceedings.   If the action for the civil liability ex delicto is instituted prior to or subsequent to the filing of the criminal action, its proceedings are suspended until the final outcome of the criminal action.   The independent civil liabilities are separate from the criminal action and may be pursued independently, as provided in Articles 31 and 33 of the Civil Code, which state that: ART. 31. When the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings and regardless of the result of the latter. (Emphasis supplied.) ART. 33. In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries a civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. Because of the distinct  and independent nature of the two kinds of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the offended  party may pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or cumulatively, without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis pendentia, or res judicata. Del Monte Fresh Product N.A. vs. Dow Chemical Company, 679 SCRA 152(2012) When a pleader fails to set up a counterclaim or a cross-claim through oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires, he may, by leave of court, set up the counterclaim or cross-claim by amendment before judgment. Based on the above-quoted  provision, there are two requisites for a court to allow an omitted counterclaim or cross-claim by amendment: (1) there was oversight, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, or when justice requires; and (2) the amendment is made before judgment. Even with the compromise agreements entered into by the Dow/Occidental, Del Monte and Chiquita defendants with majority of the plaintiffs below, the civil case was not dismissed nor the amount of damages sought by plaintiffs therein reduced; the remaining defendants can still  proceed with their cross-claims against the compromising defendants, including the Dow/Occidental defendants, for their respective shares. University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54(2012)   It is true that a decision that has attained finality becomes immutable and unalterable, and cannot be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact and law, and whether the modification is made by the court that rendered it or by this Court as the highest court of the land. Public policy dictates that once a judgment becomes  final, executory and unappealable, the prevailing party should not be deprived of the fruits of victory by some subterfuge devised by the losing party. Unjustified delay in the enforcement of such judgment sets at naught the role and purpose of the courts to resolve justiciable controversies with finality. Indeed, all litigations must at some time end, even at the risk of occasional errors. The doctrine of immutability of a final judgment has not been absolute, and has admitted several exceptions, among them: (a) the correction of clerical errors; (b) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries that cause no prejudice to any party; (c) void judgments; and (d) whenever circumstances transpire after the finality of the decision that render its execution unjust and inequitable. Moreover, the Court is not precluded from brushing aside procedural norms if only to serve the higher interests of justice and equity. In Gumaru v. Quirino State College, 525 SCRA 412 (2007), the Court nullified the proceedings and the writ of execution issued by the RTC for the reason that respondent state college had not been represented in the litigation by the Office of the Solicitor General. Where a party has appeared by counsel, service must be made upon such counsel. The retroactive application of the fresh-period rule  , a procedural law that aims “to regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution,” is impervious to any serious challenge. This is because there are no vested rights in rules of  procedure. A law or regulation is procedural when it prescribes rules and forms of procedure in order that courts may be able to administer justice. It does not come within the legal conception of  a retroactive law, or is not subject of the general rule prohibiting the retroactive operation of statues, but is given retroactive effect in actions pending and undetermined at the time of its  passage without violating any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected. Mindanao Terminal and Brokerage Service, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 678 SCRA 622(2012) There is no dispute that as dictated by the Rules on Civil Procedure, Rule 13, Section 10 thereof, service by registered mail is complete upon actual receipt by the addressee, or five (5) days from the date he received the first notice of the postmaster, whichever date is earlier. The  purpose of the afore-quoted rule on service is to make sure that the party being served with the  pleading, order or judgment is duly informed of the same so that such party can take steps to  protect the interests, i.e., enable to file an appeal or apply for other appropriate reliefs before the decision becomes final. Losing a case on account of a counsel’s negligence is a bitter pill to swallow for the litigant. But then, the Court is duty-bound to observe its rules and procedures. And, in the observance thereof, for the orderly administration of justice, it cannot countenance the negligence and ineptitude of lawyers who wantonly jeopardize the interests of their clients. On his part, a lawyer shall observe the rules of procedure and shall not misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.  As a matter of law, once a judgment becomes final, the prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to a Writ of Execution as mandated by Section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which states that: Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. ― Execution shall issue as a matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or  proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly  perfected. (Emphasis supplied) The rule is clear that it becomes mandatory or ministerial duty of the court to issue a writ of execution to enforce the judgment which has become executory. Ang vs. Ang, 678 SCRA 699(2012) It is a legal truism that the rules on the venue of personal actions are fixed for the convenience of the plaintiffs and their witnesses. Equally settled, however, is the principle that choosing the venue of an action is not left to a plaintiff’s caprice; the matter is regulated by the Rules of Court. The petitioners’ complai nt for collection of sum of money against the respondents is a personal action as it primarily seeks the enforcement of a contract. The Rules give the plaintiff the option of choosing where to file his complaint. He can file it in the place (1) where he himself or any of them resides, or (2) where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be  found. The plaintiff or the defendant must be residents of the place where the action has been instituted at the time the action is commenced. If the plaintiff does not reside in the Philippines, the complaint in such case may only be filed in the court of the place where the defendant resides. There can be no election as to the venue of the filing of a complaint when the plaintiff has no residence in the Philippines. In such case, the complaint may only be filed in the court of the place where the defendant resides.  A real party in interest is the party who, by the substantive law, has the right sought to be enforced.

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Jul 23, 2017

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Jul 23, 2017
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