Civil Procedure: Rule 17 Dismissal of Actions
Meliton v. CA, supra
Facts: When the complaint vs. Meliton was dismissed, her counterclaims were also dismissed, w/ the trial ct. ruling that it acquired no jurisdiction over such counterclaims due to non-payment of docket fees. Later, Meliton sued on these counterclaims. The defendants therein raised the defense of res judicata.
Held: Where a counterclaim is made the subject of a separate suit, it may be abated upon a plea of auter action pendentia or litis pendentia, &/or dismissal on the ground of res judicata. Res judicata, however, is not applicable since counterclaim was dismissed w/o prejudice since the ct. held that it did not acquire jurisdiction due to non-payment of docket fees. Neither is there litis pendentia. Dismissal on the ground of lack of jurisdiction does not constitute res judicata, there having been no consideration & adjudication of the case on the merits.
DBP v. Pondugar, supra
Facts: IISMI instituted an injunction suit to stop foreclosure on its property. PI was issued. While case was pending in 1972, Martial Law was declared. 1972 LC dissolved the writ & held there was mismanagement b IISMI. LC said applicant for preliminary injunction should establish a clear case & must come to ct. w/ clean hands. PI being an equitable remedy. LC dismissed the case. 14 years later, complaint was filed to set aside the foreclosure.
Held: Complaint should be dismissed. There is res judicata as the former judgment was final, ct. had jurisdiction over subject matter & parties, there was judgment on the merits, & there was identity of parties, subject matter & COA’s. Martial Law doesn’t qualify as a force majeure w/c would suspend the running of the period. That the Jacintos were abroad & couldn’t come home as Marcos canceled their passports is not a bar to the filing of the injunction case. When they lost, they should have filed an appeal or separate action to annul the same through their consuls based here.
Rule 9, Sec. 3 Default
Lim Tan Hu v. Ramolete, supra
Held: Parties declared in default waive their right to be heard & present evidence & are not entitled to receive notice of other proceedings & to service of papers except when the latter consist of substantially amended pleadings & final orders. If the parties in default file a Motion to Lift Order of Default, they shall not lose their right to the notices.
Malanyaon v. Sunga, 208 SCRA
Facts: Petitioner got sick & asked the judge to defer the schedule of his appearance at the pre-trial hearings. As P did not appear at the hearings, the judge declared P in default & ordered his arrest.
Held: Where the failure to appear at the pre-trial hearing was uncontrovertedly due to illness, the default order may be set aside on the ground of accident over w/c petitioner had no control. Also, the order of arrest was illegal as there is nothing in the Rules of Court w/c authorizes such as a consequence of a default order.
Lesaca v. CA, 215 SCRA
Facts: Defendant failed to appear at the scheduled preliminary conference for a complaint for ejectment & as such was declared in default. The ct. then considered the case submitted for decision.
Held: The Rules on Summary Procedure was applied in this case. Sec. 6 thereof states that in case of failure of parties to appear at the pre-trial conf., the ct. should have issued a “preliminary conference order” defining the issues of the case. Thereafter the parties should have submitted their affidavits & other evidence. Sec. 5 states that it is only when defendants fail to file a responsive pleading w/in the reglementary period may the ct. proceed to render judgment. In the CAB, resp. did not file an answer. TC may not declare him in default bec. a motion to declare defendant in default is a prohibited pleading under Sec. 15 (h) of the Rules on SumPro.
Datu v. CA, 215 SCRA
Facts: Defendant Habaluyas was declared in default. Decision was rendered in favor of Mangelen awarding him exemplary damages w/c was not included in his prayer for specific performance.
Held: In a judgment based on evidence presented ex-parte, judgment should not exceed the amount or be different in kind fr. that prayed for Thus, Mangelen is not entitled to exemplary damages. On the other hand, in a judgment where an answer was filed but def. did not appear at the hearing, the award may exceed the amount or be different in kind fr. that prayed for.
Dulos v. CA, 188 SCRA
Facts: Dulos spouses were declared as in default for failure to appear at the pre-trial conference. In their action for certiorari w/ the SC, they contend that they were not able to move to set aside the order of default since they were not furnished w/ copies of the order declaring them in default.
Held: Party in default is not entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings under the Rules of Court.
Ramnami v. CA, 221 SCRA
Facts: A complaint for collection of a sum of money was filed vs. the Ramnanis, who failed to appear at pre-trial. They were declared in default. A motion to lift the order of default was filed w/c was denied. TC decision rendered vs. them. They filed w/ the CA a petition for certiorari w/c was dismissed since it was not the proper remedy. Hence this petition.
Held: Motion to set aside default order could not be issued since there was inexcusable non-appearance (remember FAME?). The appropriate remedy was an ordinary appeal under Sec. 2, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Certiorari is proper only if party was illegally declared in default. In CAB, no irregularities in the pre-trial have been alleged. It is w/in the sound discretion of the ct. to set aside an order of default but it is not error, or abuse of discretion to refuse to set aside order of default & to refuse to accept the answer where it finds no justiciable reason for the delay of the filing of an answer.
Gerales v. CA, 218 SCRA 68
Held: Pleadings, as well as remedial laws, should be liberally construed in order that litigants may have ample opportunity to prove their respective claims, & possible denial of substantial justice, due to technicalities may be avoided. Default judgment is frowned upon, & unless it clearly appears that reopening of the case is intended for delay, it is best to give parties a chance to fight their case.
Judgment on the Pleadings
Source: University of the Philippines