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135.

TWIN ACE vs RUFINA AND COMPANY


FACTS: Twin Ace is a private domestic corporation engaged in the manufacture of rhum, wines and liquor
under the name and style Tanduay Distillers. It has registered its mark of ownership of its bottles with the
Bureau of Patent, Trademarks and Technology Transfer under Republic Act No. 623. In the conduct of its
business, it sells its products to the public excluding the bottles. It makes substantial investments in brand
new bottles which it buys from glass factories and which they use for about five times in order to recover
the cost of acquisition. Twin Ace thus retrieves its used empty bottles, washes and uses them over and
over again as containers for its products.

On the other hand, Rufina is engaged in the production, extraction, fermentation and manufacture
of patis and other food seasonings and is engaged in the buying and selling of all kinds of foods,
merchandise and products for domestic use or for export to other countries. In producing patis and other
food seasonings, Rufina uses as containers bottles owned by Twin Ace without any authority or
permission from the latter. In the process, Rufina is unduly benefited from the use of the bottles.

Trial court ruled in favor of Rufina.

Appellate court modified the decision by deleting all damages except nominal damages which was
reduced to 50,000 pesos.

ISSUE: WON Rufina is entitled to damages

RULING: Yes. On the issue of nominal damages, Article 2222 of the Civil Code states that the court may
award nominal damages in every obligation arising from any source enumerated in Article 1157, or in
every other case where any property right has been invaded. Nominal damages are given in order that a
right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or
recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him. In another
case, this Court held that when plaintiff suffers some species of injury not enough to warrant an award of
actual damages, the court may award nominal damages. Considering the foregoing, the Court found that
the award of nominal damages to Rufina in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) is reasonable,
warranted and justified.

136. PEDROSA vs CA
FACTS: Spouses Miguel and Rosalina de Rodriguez adopted Maria Elena Rodriguez Pedrosa. Years later,
Miguel died intestate. Private respondents filed an action to annul the adoption of Maria Elena. The RTC
upheld the validity of the adoption. While the case is pending on appeal in the Court of Appeals, the
Rodriguezes entered into a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement and Partition with respondent Rosalina for
the partition of the estate of Miguel and of another sister, Pilar. Rosalina acted as the representative of
the heirs of Miguel Rodriguez. New TCTs under the name of the respondents were subsequently issued.
Maria Elena then sent her daughter to claim their share of the properties from the Rodriguezes. The latter
refused saying that Maria Elena and Loreto were not heirs since they were not their blood relatives. Maria
Elena filed a complaint to annul the partition.

ISSUE: WON the award of damages to plaintiff is proper


RULING: No. No receipts, agreements or any other documentary evidence was presented to justify such
claim for damages. Actual damages, to be recoverable, must be proved with a reasonable degree of
certainty. Courts cannot simply rely on speculation, conjecture or guesswork in determining the fact and
amount of damages. The same is true for moral damages. These cannot be awarded in the absence of any
factual basis. The unsubstantiated testimony of Loreto Jocelyn Pedrosa is hearsay and has no probative
value. It is settled in jurisprudence that damages may not be awarded on the basis of hearsay evidence.
Nonetheless, the failure of the petitioner to substantiate her claims for damages does not mean that she
will be totally deprived of any damages. Under the law, nominal damages are awarded, so that a plaintiffs
right, which has been invaded or violated by defendants may be vindicated and recognized.

Considering that (1) technically, petitioner sustained injury but which, unfortunately, was not adequately
and properly proved, (2) petitioner was unlawfully deprived of her legal participation in the partition of
the estate of Miguel, her adoptive father, (3) respondents had transferred portions of the properties
involved to third parties, and (4) this case has dragged on for more than a decade, we find it reasonable
to grant in petitioners favor nominal damages in recognition of the existence of a technical injury.[31] The
amount to be awarded as such damages should at least commensurate to the injury sustained by the
petitioner considering the concept and purpose of said damages.[32] Such award is given in view of the
peculiar circumstances cited and the special reasons extant in this case.[33] Thus, the grant of ONE
HUNDRED THOUSAND (P100,000.00) PESOS to petitioner as damages is proper in view of the technical
injury she has suffered.

137. GONZALES vs. PEOPLE


FACTS: Petitioner Joel P. Gonzales, Jr. was charged in an Information3 dated July 24, 1997, which read as
follows:

That on or about the 26th day of June, 1997, in Quezon City, Philippines, the said accused, did then and
there wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and deliberately set fire to an inhabited place, to wit: a two-storey
residential building which [was] partitioned into dwellings rented out to tenants, owned and occupied
likewise by CARLOS C. CANLAS, located at No. 120 corner Halcon and Simon Streets, Brgy. San Isidro
Labrador, La Loma, Quezon City, thereby setting said residential building into flames and razing it including
other properties; and that the properties that were burned with their corresponding owners.

ISSUE: WON PETITIONER IS LIABLE FOR DAMAGES

RULING: Yes. On the damages, the Court has consistently held that proof is required to determine the
reasonable amount of damages that may be awarded to the victims of conflagration. As a rule, therefore,
actual or compensatory damages must be proved and not merely alleged. The records do not show
concrete proof of the amount of actual damages suffered by each complaining witness. Thus, the Court
cannot grant actual damages. However, nominal and temperate damages were awarded.

The assessment of nominal damages is left to the discretion of the trial court according to the
circumstances of the case. Generally, nominal damages by their nature are small sums fixed by the court
without regard to the extent of the harm done to the injured party. However, it is generally held that a
nominal damage is a substantial claim, if based upon the violation of a legal right; in such a case, the law
presumes damage although actual or compensatory damages are not proven. In truth, nominal damages
are damages in name only and not in fact, and are allowed, not as an equivalent of wrong inflicted, but
simply in recognition of the existence of a technical injury.

Now, temperate damages may be recovered when the court finds that some pecuniary loss has been
suffered but its amount cannot from the nature of the case be proved with certainty. Under the
circumstances, we find it reasonable to award Canlas with 500,000 temperate damages, and to the other
complaining witnesses, Simpao and Villaflor, the amount of 100,000 as temperate damages each. In
addition, exemplary or corrective damages should be awarded as a way to emphasize that any future
conduct of this nature is condemned so as to correct the anti-social behavior that is deleterious in its
consequences. Thus, Canlas and the other complaining witnesses, Simpao and Villaflor, should be
awarded 50,000 each as exemplary damages.

138. Robes-Francisco Realty & Devt Corp v. CFI-Rizal and Lolita Millan (1978)
FACTS: Robes Realty agreed to sell to Millan a parcel of land in Caloocan City. Millan complied with her
obligation and paid the installments. She made a total payment, including interests and expenses for
registration of title. After which, she made repeated demands for the execution of the final deed of sale
and the issuance of the TCT over the lot. The parties executed a deed of absolute sale. The deed had the
provision:

The seller warrants that the TCT shall be transferred in the name of the
buyer within 6 months from full payment. In case the seller fails to issue
the TCT, the seller bears the obligation to refund the total amount
already paid, plus 4% per annum interest.

After 6 months, seller corporation failed to cause the issuance of the TCT. So, buyer Millan filed a
complaint for specific performance and damages against the seller corporation.

ISSUE: Was award of nominal damages proper?

RULING: Yes. Seller corporation was in delay, amounting to non-performance of obligation to buyer Millan
who had fully paid up her instalments. NCC170 provides that those who in the performance of their
obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor
thereof, are liable for damages.

Unfortunately, the buyer Millan submitted her case without presenting evidence on the actual damages
suffered. STILL, the facts show that the right of the buyer MIillan to acquire title was violated by seller
corp and this entitles her at the very least to nominal damages. Art. 2221 states that nominal damages
are adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant,
may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered
by him. Art. 2222 states that: The court may award nominal damages in every obligation arising from any
source enumerated in article 1157, or in every case where any property right has been invaded.

- NATURE OF NOMINAL DAMAGES:


Under American jurisprudence, nominal damages by their very nature are small sums fixed by the
court without regard to the extent of the harm done to the injured party.

- PURPOSE OF NOMINAL DAMAGES:


Based on the preceding articles, nominal damages are not intended for indemnification of loss
suffered, but for the vindication or recognition of a right violated or invaded.

- WHEN NOMINAL DAMAGES RECOVERABLE:


They are recoverable where some injury has been done the amount of which the evidence fails
to show, the assessment of damages being left to the discretion of the court according to the
circumstances of the case. The circumstances of a particular case will determine whether the
amount assessed as nominal damages is within the scope or intent of the law (NCC 2221)

- In this case:
P20k is excessive.
Seller corps failure to convey a TCT to buyer Millan because the property was mortgaged to GSIS
does not in itself show bad faith or fraud.
Bad faith is not to be presumed.
Also, there was the expectation of the seller that arrangements were possible for the GSIS to make
partial releases of the subdivision lots from the overall mortgage.
It was just unfortunate that seller did not succeed in that.
For that reason the Court cannot agree with respondent Millan Chat the P20,000.00 award may
be considered in the nature of exemplary damages. Because of that, P20k is excessive. P10k is
fair. Decision modified. Nominal damages decreased from P20k to P10k.