Estrada v Consolacion
Judgment on the Pleadings and Summary Judgment – What can the trial court consider in determining the propriety of rendering summary judgment G.R. No. L-40948 – Estrada vs. Consolacion (1976) Antonio, J. There was a vehicular accident resulting in the death of one of the passenger’s of the jeep. The husband of the passenger who died filed a complaint for damages against the jeep’s owner and driver alleging breach of contract of carriage. Defendants filed an answer and moved for summary judgment. The trial court issued an order worded as if it were a summary judgment. The S ruled that such order was a mere interlocutory order directing that a hearing be conducted for the purpose of ascertaining the amount or the assessment of damages which may be adjudged in favor of the prevailing party. !t is a determination of the court of a preliminary point or directing some steps in the proceedings, but not a disposition of the merits.
DC!R"NE The test of a motion for summary judgment is whether the pleadings, affidavits and e"hibits in support of the motions are sufficient to overcome the opposing papers and to justify a finding as a matter of law that there is no defense defense to the action or the claim is clearly meritorious.
#$C!% #. Sime Simeon ona a $str $strad ada, a, was was a pass passen enge gerr of the the A Jeep Jeep owne owned d and and oper operat ated ed by defendant ora%on &amire% 'y and driven by defendant (ucio )alaura. The jeep bumped a *ord pic+up truc+ along laro -. &ecto Ave., and as a result, Simeona sustained a fractured left humerus, fat pulmonary/ embolism and shoc+ due to respiratory failure. She was brought to the San 0edro 1ospital where she died. 2. )rego )regorio rio $st $stra rada da fil filed ed a co&'laint or da&a*s against da&a*s against 'y and )alaura, owner and driver, respectively, of the jeep, for breach of their obligations as a common carrier, in view of the death of his wife. a. Alleged that that the owner failed failed to safely conduct conduct the the plaintiff3s plaintiff3s wife wife to her place of destination by reason on her 4failure to e"ercise even the diligence of a good father of a family4 and her 4gross and evident bad faith, malevolence and wantonness4 in discharging her obligation as a common carrier 5. Defendants Defendants 'y and )alaura )alaura filed their $ns+*r 6 a. Admitted Admitted that plaintiff plaintiff3s 3s wife was was a passenger and that that she died as a result result of the accident, b. Alleged that that the pro"imate pro"imate and only cause cause of the accident accident was was the negligence negligence of third persons, the drivers of the truc+s which the jeep collided with,/ over whom 'y had no supervision and control, and who were then driving their #
respective vehicles at a fast rate of speed and from different directions causing the collision. c. Set up a co,nt*rclai& or da&a*s by reason of plaintiff3s institution of the clearly unfounded suit against them. 'y and )alaura filed a &otion or s,&&ar ,d&*nt against $strada on the ground that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact in the case e"cept as to the amount of damages they are see+ing from him by way of counterclaim. They anne"ed the ff. to the motion6 a. The s/*tc o t* accid*nt made by the Traffic !nvestigator b. Said inv*stiators aidavit detailing his findings upon investigation c. The respective s+orn stat*&*nts o t* driv*rs o t* t+o 'ic/-,'s wherein each driver respectively claimed that he e"ercised due care but attributed to the other negligence as the cause of the collision8 and d. The s+orn stat*&*nt o d**ndant driv*r (Gala,ra) o said 2**' detailing what he did in order to prevent or minimi%e damages to his vehicle and his passengers, mar+ed as Anne" 494 of defendants3 answer. ;y the foregoing anne"es, 'y and )alaura sought to prove that they were relieved of any liability to $strada inasmuch as the accident which caused the death of his wife 4resulted from the negligence of third persons over whom defendants had no supervision or control.< $strada opposed the motion for summary judgment relying on the presumption that in case of death of the passenger, the common carrier is presumed 4to have been at fault or to have acted negligently,4 unless the carrier proves that he has observed e"traordinary diligence with due regard to all the circumstances, which movants failed to do. >otwithstanding the opposition filed by the plaintiffs, respondent Judge issued summary judgment6 “The Court has considered at length and thoroughly the pleadings in the action, the affidavits and other pertinent annexes (Annexes 1 to 6), of the ovants, and has found that there is no genuine issue as to aterial fact and no controversial !uestion of fact to "e su"itted to the trial court, and has concluded that defendants are entitled to a #udgent as a atter of la$ except as to the aount of daages recovera"le. %t is therefore ordered and decreed that defendants have #udgent suarily against the plaintiff for such aount as ay "e found due the for daages, to "e ascertained "y trial upon that issue alone on &une ', 1'7 at *+ a..-
?. $strada filed an -& on the ground that said @rder failed to state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, thus violating the onstitution and the &ules of ourt. a. This was denied, hence this present petition for certiorari with prohibiton. 2
"%%3E +it LD"NG 1. 5N trial ,d* *rr*d in rantin t* otion or %,&&ar 2,d&*nt – N a. 'nder the &ules, A party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or crossclaim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may, at any time, move with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof . !f the moving party the defendant, the pleadings, depositions, and affidavits must be sufficient to defeat the claim of the plaintiff. The affidavit submitted by the party moving for summary judgment shall be by persons having personal +nowledge of the facts8 it shall recite all material facts and show that there is no defense to the cause of action or that the cause of action has no merits c. After being served the -otion and supporting documents at least # days before the hearing, the plaintiff may serve opposing affidavits, sufficient to defeat the -otion for Summary Judgment. d. After hearing, the -otion will be granted if on the basis of all the papers and proofs submitted, the cause of action or defense shall be established sufficiently to warrant the court as a matter of law in directing judgment in favor of any party. The motion shall be denied if any party shall show facts sufficient to reBuire a trial of any issue of fact other than an issue as to the amount or e"tent of the damages. *. Summary judgment or accelerated judgment is a procedure resorted to in order to weed out sham defenses or claims, avoiding unnecessary litigation during trial, it is meant to ensure that only what is substantial and not merely formal or pretended is litigated. . !n hearing a -otion for Summary Judgment, the judge is as+ed not to try the issue but to determine whether the issue is meritorious. Summary Judgment should not be granted if there is a triable issue. The court is not called to pass upon the evidence, and conduct a fullblown trial on the merits. . The test, therefore, of a motion for summary judgment is whether the pleadings, affidavits and e"hibits in support of the motions are sufficient to overcome the opposing papers and to justify a finding as a matter of law that there is no defense to the action or the claim is clearly meritorious. . !n -otions for Summary Judgment, the plaintiff must prove that there is a cause of action, and that the defense is interposed merely to delay the proceedings. @nce this burden is discharged, it is up to the defendant to show facts entitling him to a defense on the merits. i. "n tis cas* i. Chen injury arises during the course of being transported under a ontract of arriage, there is a presumption of fault on the part of the common carrier, which can only be overcome if the ommon arrier proves that it e"ercised e"traordinary diligence or if is able to show that the injury was caused by a fortuitous event. 5
ii. !n order to constitute a fortuitous event that would e"empt a person from responsibility, it is necessary that 1. the event must be independent of the human will8 :. the occurrence must render it impossible for the obligor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner8 and ;. the obligor must be free of a concurrent or contributory fault or negligence. iii. 1ere, the defendants were able to show through the supporting documents attached to its -otion for Summary Judgment, that the injury was caused by a fortuitous event, namely the collision of the two pic+up truc+s which caused one of the truc+s to hit the jeep. iv. !t was thus incumbent on $strada, the plaintiff, to rebut the proof presented by the defendants in order to sustain his claim. $strada failed to controvert the evidence which shows that incident was caused by factors outside the defendants’ control and that they were free of contributory negligence. . The present petition is premature, since the order of the Judge was interlocutory as it set a date for hearing with regard to damages due/, the remedy available to plaintiff is to move for the setting aside of the order by the presentation of opposing affidavits showing that, other than the issue as to the amount or e"tent of damages, there is a genuine issue of fact on the carrier3s liability. D"%