Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Nakpil & Sons vs CA

Facts: The Philippine Bar Association wanted to erect a building in its lot in Intramuros. They were able to obtain a contract with the United Construction Company Inc for the construction of the building and the design was obtained from Juan M. Nakpil & Sons and Juan F. Nakpil. The Building was completed in June 1966. On August 2, 1968 a massive earthquake hit Manila with an intensity of about 7.3. This earthquake caused damage to the building and caused it to lean forward dangerously which led to the vacation of the building. United Construction Company in turn shored up the building and incurred 13,661.28 php as costs. The PBA then instituted a case against UCC for damages due to its negligence regarding the construction of the said building thru its failure to follow the designs coming from the architects. UCC then filed a complint against the archetechts (Nakpil & Sons) alleging that it was the designs that are flawed and that caused the building’s inability to withstand an earthquake. UCC also included the president of PBA for including them in their petition. Nakpil & Sons answer that the petitioners need not to change the defendants in their petition as UCC deviated from the plans which caused the damages to the building. In the course of the trial a commissioner was appointed by both parties to give a report regarding the technical aspects of the case. His report concluded that indeed there were faults arising from the negligence of both defendants. The report stated that the design was flawed and that UCC deviated from the designs which aggravated the problem. The defendants then put up the Act of God defense. 

Issue: Whether or not the defendants could escape liability from the building due to a fortuitous event which is unforeseeable and inevitable even if their negligence is established

Held: The defendants cannot validly invoke the Act of God defense. This is because of the report submitted by the appointed Commissioner which established their negligence. Acceptance of the building, after completion, does not imply waiver of any of the causes of action by reason of any defect. To exempt the obligor from its liability these requisites should first concur: (a) the cause of the breach of the obligation must be independent of the will of the debtor; (b) the event must be either unforseeable or unavoidable; (c) the event must be such as to render it impossible for the debtor to fulfill his obligation in a normal manner; and (d) the debtor must be free from any participation in, or aggravation of the injury to the creditor. The report of the Commissioner established that the defects that occurred to the building could be attributed to the act of man specifically that of the architects and the engineers as well as the builders. This was because of the fact that UCC deviated from the plans submitted by the architects and their failure to observe the required marksmanship in constructing the building as well as the required degree of supervision. Nakpil & Sons are also liable for the inadequacies and defect in their submitted plan and specifications. These circumstances are the proximate causes of the damages that the PBA building incurred. The costs are to be paid by the defendants amounting to 5M which includes all appreciable damages as well as indemnity plus 100,000php for the atty fee. 

One who negligently creates a dangerous condition cannot escape liability for the natural and probable consequences thereof, although the act of a third person, or an act of God for which he is not responsible, intervenes to precipitate the loss.

Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Nakpil & Sons vs CA"

Post a Comment