Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-12001 February 28, 1917
ISIDORO SANTOS, ET AL., petitioners,
PERCY M. MOIR, ET AL., respondents.
Gilbert, Cohn and Fisher for petitioners.
Ramon Diokno for respondents.
An action to require the defendant to permit the redemption of certain parcels of land sold under execution was begun in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga by one of the defendants here, Luisa Liwanang, as administratrix, etc., against one of the present plaintiffs, Isidoro Santos. A cross-complaint was filed by the defendant Santos who, upon formal application and the filing of the proper undertaking with the other plaintiffs, Eusebio and Angeles as sureties, obtained a preliminary injunction restraining the plaintiff in that action from exercising acts of ownership over the lands described in the cross-complaint during the pendency of the action. After due trial the injunction was dissolved by the final judgment of the court in the action. There was an appeal to the Supreme Court, the judgment was affirmed and returned for execution. After the affirmance and return of the judgment the plaintiff therein filed an application with the court rendering the judgment for an allowance of the damages alleged to have been caused by the improper issuance and execution of the injunction order aforesaid. Objections were duly made to the procedure adopted and to the consideration of the application and the allowance of the damages prayed for on the ground that, under section 1790 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the application should have been made during the trial of the action and that the "judgment for the same" should have been "included in the final judgment" in that action; and that the Court of First Instance had no authority to take cognizance of or hear an application for such damages at this time.
Section 170 reads:
Damages Pending a Preliminary Injunction. — Upon final trial the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff or to the defendant upon the obligations provided in sections one hundred and sixty-six, one hundred and sixty-seven, one hundred and sixty-eight, and one hundred and six-nine shall be ascertained by the court trying he action, and judgment for the same shall be included in the final judgment and the judgment shall be both against the plaintiff and against the sureties upon any obligation given under the provisions of any of the last four sections.
The purpose of this section was to prevent more than one action or proceeding between the parties arising out of the facts stated in the complaint how many so ever may have been the incidents resulting from its course through the courts. This purpose is apparent not only wherever the injunctions is dealt with; but similar provisions are found in the same Code with regard to the appointment of receivers (sec. 177); to mandate (sec. 223); to replevin (sec. 272); and to attachments (sec. 439). Every phase which the dispute between the parties may assume during the progress of the action through the courts must, if it is justiciable, be passed upon and adjudicated in the one action. Not only this, but this must be done by the same court; and further still, it must be done in one judgment.
The purpose of these provisions is not difficult to ascertain. It does away with the necessity of calling the same witnesses in a second action to give the same testimony they gave in the first; the presentation of the same evidence a second time; and the litigation of the same questions which had been litigated before. It is clear that when the cause is finally adjudicated and the injunction continued or dissolved the right to the injunction is definitely and finally determined; and with it the right to damages. The liability of the sureties is also determined in large part by such adjudication. Thereafter the evidence as to their liability, if any, is largely formal. This being so, why not settle the whole matter at the time the cause is decided on the merits?
It not only saves an extra action in the trial court but it avoids an extra appeal. If there are two separate judgments in two separate actions there may be two appeals; one from the judgment on the merits, the other from the judgment for damages for the wrongful issuance of the injunction. Why have two appeals when there need be one only?
The case before us is a good illustration of what the law-makers tried to prevent. The case was finally decided on the merits and the injunction dissolved. An appeal was taken and the judgment affirmed and sent back for execution. The successful party now proposes another proceeding for the recovery of damages alleged to have been suffered by reason of the execution of the injunction order. Whatever this proceeding may be called, wether one incident to the principal cause or an independent action, it is, by reason of the fact that the judgment in the principal cause is final and not susceptible of being opened or altered under the facts as they stand, a separate action requiring the same general procedure as any other action and resulting in a judgment subject to motions, exceptions, and appeal the same as any other judgment.
The failure of the successful party to comply with the provisions of section 170 waived all right to damages, if any, resulting from the execution of the injunction order; and he cannot now exercise the very rights which he then renounced. Before final judgment in the main action the party suffering from the execution of the injunction order should file with the court trying that action his application for damages resulting from the execution of the injunction order, with due notice to the other party and his sureties. The application, like a complaint, should set forth facts showing that the applicant is entitled to recover. To this the other party, or parties, may interpose his pleading as in an ordinary action; and issue being finally joined, if the case reaches that stage, the matter will be tried and determined before judgment is entered in the principal cause. Thereupon, if the applicant is successful, one judgment will be entered, the main part of which will be in the principal cause, and the other in the incidental proceeding based on the execution of the injunction order. To this latter proceeding the sureties will be parties. The successful party cannot wait until the principal cause is terminated, and an appeal taken, and an affirmance decreed, and the judgment returned for execution, and then present his claim for damages resulting from the execution of the injunction order.
One of the contentions of the defendant in this action is that the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga was not final for the reason that it reserved to the successful party "the right to present in this court an application for damages" alleged to have been caused by the execution of the injunction order.
We do not believe that this contention is sound. The judgment was final and appealable. That quality was not affected by the reservation.
In the first lace, the reservation did not refer to the merits of the case. In that regard the judgment was complete and nothing remained to be done to render it so. The reservation referred only to an incident to the principal cause which had no vital influence on it and was not necessarily a part of it, and which could have been wholly disregarded without affected the merits or right of one party to the other to a complete and final judgment.
In the second place, the incident for damages caused by the execution of the injunction order was something which the party injured could take advantage of or not as he pleased. It rested with him whether he pursued the course marked out by the law to obtain damages or left matters as they stood at the time his judgment in the principal cause was obtained. If he allowed that judgment to be entered without including in it the damages incident to the injunction, and that judgment passed beyond the control of the court and could not, therefore, be thereafter vacated or modified, his right to such damages was lost as he had failed to comply with the provisions of the law necessary to be followed to make that right effective.
In the third place, while it is true that, even though a judgment in the principal cause has been duly entered, the court still has power to open that judgment for the purpose of including in it the damages caused by the execution of the injunction order, nevertheless, the court can do so only while the judgment remains within its control. We believe that the reservation referred to had the effect simply of giving the successful party the right to have the judgment opened for the purpose of permitting him to exercise the right to include therein the damages resulting from the injunction, but did not have the effect of suspending the judgment or of holding it open. It did not operate to prevent the running of that period required for the judgment to pass beyond the control of the court. If the successful party permitted that time to pass without moving for his damages the reservation became innocuous, and the judgment as entered became final in the sense that the court had no power to open, vacate, or alter it; and the opportunity to secure damages was thereby lost. We cannot agree to the proposition formulated by the defendant here that the reservation served to suspend the effect of the judgment until such time as he was pleased to take advantage of it and that it survived the period after which Courts of First Instance lose all control over their judgments and that it was in force after the appeal to the Supreme Court, the affirmance of the judgment, and its return to the lower court for execution. A suspended judgment is not appealable. It has no force or effect and cannot be made the subject to any proceeding until after one to terminate the suspension has been taken. This is necessarily so. The suspension must be terminated before the judgment can be appealed from, or even before it can be altered in any way. The parties did not consider the judgment suspended. The successful party himself regarded it as a final judgment and permitted an appeal to be taken therefrom without objection, and even sought a favorable judgment from the appellate court on that appeal. If the judgment was not final it was not appealable and the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction of the appeal; and its judgment was, accordingly, without force or effect against the objection of either party opportunely taken. Accordingly, the Supreme Court, before it took cognizance of the appeal, must have held, impliedly at least, that the judgment was final and appealable. It could not have so held if it had considered that the reservation acted as an indefinite suspension of the judgment or operated to hold it open for an indeterminate period. The Supreme Court considered, as it now considers, that the reservation did no more than give the successful party the opportunity to make use of his right to damages at any time before the judgment passed beyond the control of the court. The trial court, at any time before the termination of that period, could, on his motion, have given him the very same opportunity even though there had been no reservation in the judgment. The defendant here, not having exercised the privilege within the time, waived it.
We do not believe that the authorities cited by the defendant are applicable. In Somes vs. Crossfield (9 Phil. Rep., 13) and Macatingay vs. Municipality of San Juan de Bocboc (9 Phil. Rep., 19) there was no question as to the time when the application for damages sustained by the execution of the injunction order should be made. The application in both cases was admittedly presented before the judgment had passed beyond the control of the court. In the second case it was made before the judgment was rendered in the action. In the first it was offered immediately after the judgment had been entered; and, in pursuance thereof, the judgment was opened to permit the inclusion of the damages prayed for, as provided by section 170. In the case at bar the successful party did not follow the procedure laid down in the two cases cited as the proper procedure; and that is precisely the vital difference between those cases and this. Here he waited until the judgment had passed beyond the control of the court before he made his application. At that time it was impossible for either him or the court to comply with the requirements of section 170.
Nor is the case of Pascua vs. Sideco (24 Phil. Rep., 26) well cited by the defendant. That was an action of replevin of cattle which the plaintiff took from defendant under an undertaking given for that purpose. There was no claim by defendant either in his answer or elsewhere for damages caused by plaintiff taking possession of the cattle pendente lite. The answer was simply ownership and right to possession. Plaintiff recovered and the defendant appealed. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment and awarded the cattle to defendant. There was, of course, no award of damages as none was asked in the proceedings or elsewhere. The cause was returned to the Court of First Instance where the judgment of the Supreme Court was duly executed. Long thereafter the defendant began an action against the plaintiff to recover the damages sustained by him while plaintiff had the cattle in his possession. The trial court held that the action could not be maintained as the provisions of section 272 of the Code of Civil Procedure had not been followed and, as a consequence, plaintiff had lost his right to damages. That judgment was appealed and affirmed by the Supreme Court on the ground that section 272, referred to required that all damages suffered by either p[arty to a replevin action by virtue of the wrongful possession of the subject-matter by the other must be claimed and established in the replevin action and entered as a part of the judgment in that action, and that an action could not be subsequently brought to recover such damages.
From one aspect, then, the Pascua decision is against defendant's contention in this case. There is one remark of the court in that case, however, which defendant especially assigns as the basis of his claim. It is this:
Had the plaintiff as defendant in the former suit claimed such damages, proof of the amount of the same up to the time of the rendition of the judgment in the lower court should have been presented, and if this evidence could not have formed the basis for fixing the amount of the damages subsequent thereto, the defendant in that action, immediately after the return of the animals in accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court, could have applied to the Court of First Instance to fix these damages as an incident to that suit. By so doing he would have been within the provisions of the above-quoted section and would thereby have complied with the principle therein set forth, the object of which is to avoid a multiplicity of suits.
We are unable to see how this remark can help defendant in this case. Note that the court says, "Had the defendant" done so and so in the replevin action, he "could have" done something else after the judgment was reversed and the cause returned. In other words, if the defendant in the replevin action had seasonably presented his claim for damages arising from the plaintiff's wrongful possession of the cattle and, under that presentation, proved his damages up to the time of the trial, he might have been permitted to augment the amount of the damages already prayed for and proved, by showing the damages which he sustained between the date of the trial and the time when the cattle were returned under the judgment of the Supreme Court. It is apparent that it would have been impossible for defendant in that action to have proved damages beyond the date of the trial; and, accordingly, if he was to obtain damages for the period of plaintiff's wrongful possession lying between that date and the time when the cattle were returned under the judgment of the Supreme Court, he must do so by a supplemental complaint in the same cause or by another and separate action or proceeding. A supplemental complaint in the same cause would not have been permissible as, under the law here, the judgment in that action was a judgment of the Supreme Court and was final and could not be changed. His only recourse, then, was a proceeding which, while, as this Court correctly said in that part of the opinion quoted, would have been an incident to the replevin action, would have been, nevertheless, in one sense at least a separate judgment subject to exception and appeal. The discussion and remarks of the court in the Pascua case, among which are those quoted above, were simply directed to the point that, by one method or another a party who had laid timely and proper basis for his damages could obtain all the damages to which he was entitled whether they accrued before or after trial; and that those accruing after trial were incident to the action in the sense that they arose out of the facts established in that action and finally found to exist by a competent court, and to which the final judgment of that court declared his irrevocable right. The court did not intend to hold that, if the defendant in the replevin action had neglected to demand damages in his pleading and had let the cause go to trial upon the single issue of possession, he, nevertheless, after the judgment had passed beyond the control of the court, could have recovered such damages. That was the very thing which the Court held he could not do. The same result would have been reached by the court by disregarding section 272 and applying the general principles of law pertinent to the case. No claim for damages was made in the answer. No issue was tendered or framed on that subject. The question was not litigated. It is well recognized that a party cannot split a single cause of action into parts and sue on each part separately. A complaint for the recovery of personal property with damages for detention states a single cause of action which cannot be divided into an action for possession and one for damages; and if suit is brought for possession only a subsequent action cannot be maintained to recover the damages resulting from the unlawful detention.
These last remarks foreshadow another difference between the case at bar and the Pascua case which rendered the decision in the latter inapplicable. That case dealt with a single cause of action — a case where the damages were a part of the principal cause of action and the right to them came into existence at the same time as the principal cause of action. This is not so with the present case. Here the damages were no part of the main cause of action. The right to damages sprung from acts which were performed after the action had been commenced. Moreover, in the Pascua case the court, in the remark quoted, was speaking of the method of obtaining damages which accrued between the trial and the return of the property under the judgment ordering the return, to which damages the discussion assumed the party had a right; while in the present case the court dealt with an entirely different matter, namely, damages resulting from the execution of an injunction ordered issued after the action had been commenced concerning which no foundation had been laid and as to the right to which nothing appeared in the main action. Different principles govern the two cases.
The Court of First Instance of the Province of Pampanga is hereby permanently prohibited from proceedings with the action or proceeding pending therein and referred to and described in the complaint in this action and entitled Luisa Liwanag, as administratrix of the estate of Patricio Liwanag, deceased, against Isidoro Santos, with costs against the said Luisa Liwanag, as administratrix. So ordered.
Torres, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur.
The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation