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A Juasing Hardware vs Mendoza

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A Juasing Hardware vs Mendoza
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  SECOND DIVISION [G.R. No. L-55687. July 30, 1982.]JUASING HARDWAREJUASING HARDWARE,  petitioner  , vs.vs.  THE HONORABLE RAFAEL T.THE HONORABLE RAFAEL T.MENDOZA, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, and PILARMENDOZA, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, and PILARDOLLADOLLA,  respondents  . Luis V. Diones, Paulito Y. Cabrera   and Victor C. Laborte   for petitioner. Amado D. Seno   for respondents.SYNOPSISSYNOPSISIn a complaint for the collection of a sum of money filed against private respondent Dollaby petitioner Juasing Hardware, a single proprietorship, represented by its manager OngBon Yong, respondent Judge Mendoza, after petitioner had rested its case, issued an orderon motion of private respondent, dismissing the case due to petitioner's lack of legalcapacity to sue, petitioner not being either a natural nor a juridical person. The trial courtalso denied petitioner's motion for the admission of an Amended Complaint to correct thedesignation of the party plaintiff for being too late since the amendment is substantial.Hence, this petition.The Supreme Court held that the defect of the complaint is merely formal, not substantial,and no unfairness or surprise to respondent Dolla would result by allowing theamendment, the purpose of which is to conform to procedural rules or to correct atechnical error.Petition granted.SYLLABUSSYLLABUS1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; WHO MAY BE PARTIES IN A CIVIL ACTION;SOLE PROPRIETORSHIPS NOT AUTHORIZED TO BRING SUIT IN COURT. — There is no lawauthorizing sole proprietorships to bring suit in court. The law merely recognizes theexistence of a sole proprietorship as a form of business organization conducted for profitby a single individual and requires the proprietor or owner thereof to secure licenses andpermits, register the business name, and pay taxes to the national government. It does notvest juridical or legal personality upon the sole proprietorship nor empower it to file ordefend an action in court.2. ID.; ID.; COMPLAINT; AMENDMENT THEREOF TO CORRECT DEFECT INDESIGNATION OF PARTIES, AUTHORIZED AS A RULE; CASE AT BAR. — The amendment ofthe complaint in the case instant to correct the designation of the party plaintiff in thelower court is authorized by Rule 10 of the Revised Rules of Court. The defect is merelyformal not substantial. Substitution of the party plaintiff would not constitute a change inthe identity of the parties. No unfairness or surprise to private respondent Dolla wouldresult by allowing the amendment, the purpose of which is merely to conform toprocedural rules or to correct a technical error. The case of Alonzo vs. Villamor, et al. (16 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  Phil. 315) applied Section 110 of the Code of Civil Procedure authorizing the court infurtherance of justice . . . (to) allow a party to amend any pleading or proceeding and at anystage of the action, in either the Court of First Instance or the Supreme Court, by adding orstriking out the name of any party, either plaintiff or defendant, or by correcting a mistakein the name of a party . . . In the more recent case of Shaffer vs. Palma (L-24115, March 1,1968, 22 SCRA 934), the Court had stated that (t)he courts should be liberal in allowingamendments to pleadings to avoid multiplicity of suits and in order that the realcontroversies between the parties are presented and the case decided on the meritswithout unnecessary delay. This rule applies with more reason and with greater forcewhen, as in the case at bar, the amendment sought to be made refers to a mere matter ofform and no substantial rights are prejudiced.D E C I S I O ND E C I S I O NGUERREROGUERRERO, J p :In this special civil action for certiorari, petitioner Juasing Hardware seeks to annul theOrders of respondent Judge dated September 5, 1980 and October 21, 1980 issued inCivil Case No. R-18386.Records show the pertinent factual and procedural antecedents of the instant Petition tobe as follows:  prcd On August 17, 1979, Juasing Hardware, alleging to be a single proprietorship dulyorganized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines and representedby its manager Ong Bon Yong, filed a complaint for the collection of a sum of moneyagainst Pilar Dolla. 11  The complaint charged that defendant Dolla failed and refused to pay,despite repeated demands, the purchase price of items, materials and merchandise whichshe bought from the plaintiff. 22  In her Answer, defendant stated, among others, that she has no knowledge about plaintiff's legal personality and capacity to sue as alleged in . . .the complaint. 33  The case proceeded to pre-trial and trial. After plaintiff had completedthe presentation of its evidence and rested its case, defendant filed a Motion for Dismissalof Action (Demurrer to Evidence) 44  praying that the action be dismissed for plaintiff's lackof legal capacity to sue. Defendant in said Motion contended that plaintiff JuasingHardware is a single proprietorship, not a corporation or a partnership duly registered inaccordance with law, and therefore is not a juridical person with legal capacity to bring anaction in court. Plaintiff filed an Opposition and moved for the admission of an AmendedComplaint. 55 Resolving the foregoing controversy, respondent Judge issued the Order dated September5, 1980 dismissing the case and denying admission of the Amended Complaint. Pertinentportions of said Order follow: The Answer of the defendant to the complaint alleged the lack of legal capacityto sue of the plaintiff as contained in its affirmative defense. Inspite of theallegation that plaintiff has no legal capacity to sue, the plaintiff insisted inproceeding to trial instead of amending the Complaint. During the trial, it wasfound out that the affirmative defense of defendant of plaintiff's lack of legalcapacity to sue is very evident for plaintiff Juasing Hardware is a singleproprietorship which is neither a partnership nor a corporation. The amendment CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  therefore is now too late it being substantial. In view of all the foregoing, this case is hereby DISMISSED with costs de oficio. 66 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the above Order was denied in another Orderissued by respondent Judge on October 21, 1980. 77 The sole issue in this case is whether or not the lower court committed a grave abuse ofdiscretion when it dismissed the case below and refused to admit the Amended Complaintfiled by therein plaintiff, now herein petitioner, Juasing Hardware.Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court provides as follows: Sec. 1. Who may be parties. — Only natural or juridical persons or entitiesauthorized by law may be parties in a civil action. Petitioner is definitely not a natural person; nor is it a juridical person as defined in the NewCivil Code of the Philippines thus: Art. 44. The following are juridical persons:(1) The State and its political subdivisions;(2) Other corporations, institutions and entities for public interest or purpose,created by law; their personality begins as soon as they have been constitutedaccording to law;(3) Corporations, partnerships and associations for private interest or purposeto which the law grants a juridical personality, separate and distinct from that ofeach shareholder, partner or member. Finally, there is no law authorizing sole proprietorships like petitioner to bring suit in court.The law merely recognizes the existence of a sole proprietorship as a form of businessorganization conducted for profit by a single individual, and requires the proprietor orowner thereof to secure licenses and permits, register the business name, and pay taxesto the national government. It does not vest juridical or legal personality upon the soleproprietorship nor empower it to file or defend an action in court. Cdpr Thus, the complaint in the court below should have been filed in the name of the owner ofJuasing Hardware. The allegations in the body of the complaint would show that the suit isbrought by such person AS proprietor or owner of the business conducted under the nameand style Juasing Hardware . The descriptive words doing business as `JuasingHardware' may be added in the title of the case, as is customarily done.Be that as it may, petitioner's contention that respondent Judge erred in not allowing theamendment of the complaint to correct the designation of the party plaintiff in the lowercourt, is impressed with merit. Such an amendment is authorized by Rule 10 of the RevisedRules of Court which provides thus: Sec. 4. Formal Amendments. — A defect in the designation of the partiesmay be summarily corrected at any stage of the action   provided no prejudice iscaused thereby to the adverse party. (Italics supplied.) Contrary to the ruling of respondent Judge, the defect of the complaint in the instant caseis merely formal, not substantial. Substitution of the party plaintiff would not constitute achange in the identity of the parties. No unfairness or surprise to private respondent Dolla, CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com  defendant in the court a quo  , would result by allowing the amendment, the purpose ofwhich is merely to conform to procedural rules or to correct a technical error.In point is the case of Alonzo vs. Villamor, et al  . 88  which applied Sec. 110 of the Code ofCivil Procedure authorizing the court in furtherance of justice . . . (to) allow a party toamend any pleading or proceeding and at any stage of the action, in either the Court ofFirst Instance or the Supreme Court, by adding or striking out the name of any party, eitherplaintiff or defendant, or by correcting a mistake in the name of a party . . . In the Alonzo  case, Fr. Eladio Alonzo, a priest of the Roman Catholic Church, brought an action to recoverfrom therein defendants the value of certain properties taken from the Church. Thedefendants contended that Fr. Alonzo was not the real party in interest. This Court,speaking through Justice Moreland, ordered the substitution of the Roman CatholicApostolic Church in the place and stead of Eladio Alonzo as party plaintiff, and aptly held inthis wise:  . . . Defect in form cannot possibly prejudice so long as the substantial is clearlyevident . . . No one has been misled by the error in the name of the party plaintiff. If weshould by reason of this error send this case back for amendment and new trial,there would be on the retrial the same complaint, the same answer, the samedefense, the same interests, the same witnesses, and the same evidence. Thename of the plaintiff would constitute the only difference between the old trialand the new. In our judgment there is not enough in a name to justify such action. There is nothing sacred about processes or pleadings, their forms or contents.Their sole purpose is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims ofcontending parties. They were created, not to hinder and delay, but to facilitateand promote, the administration of justice. They do not constitute the thing itself,which courts are always striving to secure to litigants. They are designed as themeans best adapted to obtain that thing. In otherwords, they are a means to anend. When they lose the character of the one and become the other theadministration of justice is at fault and courts are correspondingly remiss in theperformance of their obvious duty.  prcd The error in this case is purely technical. To take advantage of it for otherpurposes than to cure it, does not appeal to a fair sense of justice. Its presentationas fatal to the plaintiff's case smacks of skill rather than right. A litigation is not agame of technicalities in which one, more deeply schooled and skilled in thesubtle art of movement and position, entraps and destroys the other. It is, rather, acontest in which each contending party fully and fairly lays before the court thefacts in issue and then, brushing aside as wholly trivial and indecisive allimperfections of form and technicalities of procedure, asks that justice be doneupon the merits. Lawsuits, unlike duels, are not to be won by a rapier's thrust.Technicality, when it deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes itsgreat hindrance and chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from courts.There should be no vested rights in technicalities. No litigant should be permittedto challenge a record of a court . . . for defect of form when his substantial rightshave not been prejudiced thereby. 99 We reiterate what this Court had stated in the more recent case of Shaffer vs. Palma    1010 that (t)he courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoidmultiplicity of suits and in order that the real controversies between the parties are CD Technologies Asia, Inc. © 2016cdasiaonline.com
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