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PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 7352. March 15, 1914. ]

CATALINO HILLARO, representing Andres Garcia, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. LA CONGREGACION DE SAN VICENTE DE PAUL, ROBERT M. LOPER, and HENRY M. JONES, Defendants-Appellees.

Recaredo Ma. Calvo for Appellant.

Eduardo Gutierrez Repide for appellee La Congregacion de San Vicente de Paul.

James J. Peterson for appellees Loper and Jones.

SYLLABUS


1. PARTIES; REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST. — An action begun in the name of Catalino Hilario, representing Andres Garcia, is defective as to the party plaintiff, as it is not brought in the name of the real party in interest, it appearing that Catalino Hilario had no interest in the subject matter of the action.

2. APPEAL; OPINION GIVEN UPON THE MERITS, ALTHOUGH CASE IS DISMISSED. — Although an action must be dismissed for the reason that it is not brought by the real party in interest, the court will, when the circumstances seem to require it, given its opinion on the merits of the case where it has been submitted and argued. The purpose of the opinion is to void unnecessary litigation. (19 Phil. Rep., 12.)

3. EXECUTION; DAMAGES; CREDITOR NOT LIABLE FOR EXECUTING A JUDGMENT IN LEGAL MANNER. — A judgment creditor incurs no liability by the execution of his judgment in a legal manner; and where it appears that a judgment for the possession of lands was obtained in court of competent jurisdiction after due process of law against specified persons duly served with process, the dispossession of said persons under said judgment, carried out in a legal manner, cannot be made the basis of an action for damages resulting from such dispossession.

4. LANDLORD AND TENANT; LESSOR BOUND BY LAWFUL AUTHORIZED ACT OF LESSEE IN EJECTING THIRTY PARTY. — Where a person leases a tract of land from another, a part of which is in the possession of a third person, and the lessee is expressly authorized by the lessor to expel by due process of law such third person and the lessor agrees to respond in damages in case there is a legal impediment to such expulsion, a judgment in an action begun by the lessee for possession against such third person under the interest and authority thus obtained is binding upon the lessor.

5. ID.; ID.; JUDGMENT DISPOSSESSION IN SUCH CASE BARS ACTION FOR DAMAGES AGAINST LESSOR. — In such case the judgment of dispossession is also a bar an action begun against the lessor by the person dispossessed to recover damages resulting from such dispossession.

6. JUDGMENT; CONCLUSIVENESS OF ADJUDICATION; PERSONS REPRESENTED BUT NOT FORMALLY MADE PARTIES. — It is the general rule that, although one is not nominally or formally a party to an action, he will be estopped by the judgment therein if he was represented as to his rights or interests in the subject matter by a party legally entitled to represent him or who actually conducted the prosecution or defense on the behalf or for the benefit of said person.


D E C I S I O N


MORELAND, J.:


This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila sustaining a demurrer to and dismissing the complaint upon the ground that it did not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.

The plaintiff alleges in substance that prior to the beginning of the action he had entered into an agreement with the defendant La Congregacion de San Vicente de Paul, called the principal defendant, whereby it leased to said plaintiff certain lands in the city of Manila for an indefinite period; that thereafter said principal defendant repudiated said agreement and leased said premises to the other two defendants, Robert M. Loper and Henry M. Jones guaranteeing in said lease that the plaintiff in this case had no interest in said premises as lessee or otherwise and authorizing and directing them to remove him by proper proceedings; that thereafter the said Robert M. Loper and Henry M. Jones begun before the justice of the peace a proceeding of dispossession against the present plaintiff wherein a judgment was rendered ordering him to vacate said premises, which, acting under the obligation of said judgment, he did; that by reason of his lease with the main defendant and his reliance thereon plaintiff had erected a house of strong materials upon said premises, and that by reason of his dispossession he was obliged to tear down and remove said house to his great damage and expense. The prayer of the complaint is for damages and costs.

This action cannot be maintained even though no account be taken of whether or not the complaint states facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action in the sense presented by the demurrer. The action is brought, as will be observed from the title, by Catalino Hilario in representation of Andres Garcia. The complaint alleges: "That Catalino Hilario, by virtue of a power of attorney executed in the city of Manila on the 31st day of January, 1911, has authority from Andres Garcia to represent him in the present action, and that he resides at No. 239 Calle Magdalena, Trozo, Manila, Philippine Islands."cralaw virtua1aw library

It is not contended that the real party in interest, Andres Garcia, is a party to this action, or that he has appeared or taken any part therein or that he has in any manner submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. A judgment rendered against the plaintiff might have no force or effect against Andre Garcia. We have several times held that an action brought in this manner cannot be maintained, and this court will, of its own motion, refuse to proceed with its consideration. (Lichauco v. Limjuco, 19 Phil. Rep., 12.) The question of the power of plaintiff to bring the action is raised, at least indirectly, by the demurrer based upon the ground that the compliant does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. On its face the complaint shows that there is no cause of action, in favor the plaintiff, but, rather, that the cause of action, if any, exists solely in favor of Andres Garcia. Hilario has no interest in the controversy and stands as a naked representative of the person who does have the interest. The complaint, therefore, does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action in favor of the present plaintiff.

Although this action cannot be maintained by plaintiff, we do not hesitate under the authority of said decision to dispose of the questions raised and argued on the appeal, in order to avoid, possibly, future litigation on the same subject.

The demurrer presented by the defendants Loper and Jones, was properly sustained. Certainly no legal liability existed in favor of the plaintiff as against them. All that they did was to bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction against the plaintiff and, after due trial, secure a judgment against him. The right to bring an action is one which is accorded to every person as against every other and no legal liability can be predicted upon the use of that right unless it has been exercised maliciously and without probable cause. There is no attempt in this case to establish a cause of action for malicious prosecution. The judgment obtained, therefore, protects the defendants, Loper and Jones, in any action brought by the plaintiff in this case founded upon the legal effects of the judgment obtained in that action. Nothing in the complaint intimates that the dispossession of the plaintiff was not the direct, immediate, and necessary result of an execution of the judgment obtained against him.

The second question is whether or not the judgment obtained by Loper and Jones against the plaintiff in this case is res judicata as to an action of damages by the plaintiff against La Congregacion de San Vicente de Paul for the breach of lease whereby the plaintiff was evicted.

We are of the opinion that the action cannot be maintained against the principal defendant for two reasons: In the first place, Loper and Jones were authorized and directed in the contract which they had with the principal defendant to represent the latter and to exercise every right which it could exercise in the dispossession of all persons upon the said premises, including the plaintiff in this action. In fact, so fully were Loper and Jones representing the principal defendant in the dispossession of the plaintiff in this action that it stood responsible in damages to them in case they, in the exercise of the rights conferred upon them, should fail in the dispossession of all persons occupying the said premises or any part thereof. It is the general rule that, although one is not nominally or formally a party to an action he will be estopped by the judgment therein if he was represented, as to his rights or interests in the subject matter, by a party legally entitled to represent him, or who actually conducted the prosecution or defense on the behalf or of the benefit of said person. (Stout v. Lye, 103 U. S., 66; Cromwell v. County of Sac, 94 U. S., 351; Pace v. Maxwell, 62 Ga., 97; McNamee v. Moreland, 26 Iowa, 96; Carpenter v. Carpenter, 126 Mich., 217.)

This question having once been litigated by Loper and Jones could not be again litigated by the corporation whom they represented, namely, the principal defendant herein. If the action begun by Loper and Jones against the plaintiff in this case had resulted disfavory to the plaintiffs in that action, a judgment against them would have been binding upon the corporation which they represented, namely, the principal defendant, touching the validity of the lease which the defendant in that action alleged he had with said corporation at the time when it attempted to lease the lands to Loper and Jones. The question whether or not the plaintiff in this action had a valid and subsisting lease of the premises in question from the principal defendant in this case was completely litigated and disposed of in the action which Loper and Jones began against him for the possession of said lands under authority and power received from the corporation. Every point and every question necessarily involved in that kind of an action was there determined and finally disposed of. No action could thereafter be maintained by either of the parties to that action or their privies for the redetermination of any of those questions. If the defendant in that action had demonstrated and the court had found he had a valid and subsisting lease with La Congregacion de San Vicente de Paul that judgment would have been binding and conclusive upon said corporation. It could not have again maintained another action against the same defendant to determined the same question. The estoppel was mutual. The defendant therein was estopped from litigating the same question with the corporation that it had litigated with Loper and Jones, its representatives, and the corporation was estopped from litigating with the defendant the same question which its representatives, Loper and Jones, had already litigated with him.

If the defendant was not entitled to the possession of the premises, then he had no action for damages against the corporation for his dispossession. But the right to possession was the very question litigated in that action and it was there found and determined finally that the defendant had no such right. In that action the plaintiffs were fighting not only with their own rights but with the additional express authority of representation with which the congregation had clothed them; they represented the congregation and the congregation was under legal obligation by express provision of the contract to stand responsible for an unfavorable outcome of the litigation. There existed, therefore, between the congregation and Loper and Jones not only a privity in the ordinary acceptation of the word but, in addition, Loper and Jones were the representatives, having interests, of the congregation and were in effect litigating for and on behalf of that corporation as well as themselves. As Loper and Jones were bound by the judgment actually obtained, so was the congregation; and as Loper and Jones would have been bound had the judgment gone against them, so the congregation would likewise have been bound. Therefore, it is but a conclusion to say that the plaintiff in this action is bound by the judgment rendered in the action in which he was defendant, and he is estopped from litigating the same question whether his action be against Loper and Jones or against the congregation.

It appearing upon the face of the complaint that the plaintiff was ousted by the execution of a judgment obtained against him in a court of competent jurisdiction, it is apparent, as a necessary legal conclusion, that an action for the recovery of damages resulting from the execution of that judgment cannot be maintained against any party to that judgment or any person with whom they were in privity or whom they were representing.

The judgment sustaining the demurrer is hereby affirmed, with costs.

Arellano, C.J., Torres and Trent, JJ., concur.

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