Valenzuela Hardwood and Industial Supply, Inc. vs Court of Appeals

November 5, 2010
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274 SCRA 642 – Civil Law – Preliminary Title – Waiver of Patrimonial Rights

On January 16, 1984 plaintiff Valenzuela Hardwood and Industrial Supply Inc. entered into an agreement with the defendant Seven Brothers whereby the latter undertook to load on board its vessel the formers lavan round logs. On January 20, 1984 plaintiff insured the loss and/or damages with defendant South Sea Surety and insured company for 2 million pesos on January 24, 1984, plaintiff gave the check in payment of the premium on the insurance policy. In the meantime, the said vessel sank on January 25, 1984 resulting in the loss of the plaintiff’s insured logs. Plaintiff demanded payment of the proceeds and lost claim for the value of the lost logs to insurance company and Seven Brothers Shipping Corporation respectively to which both of them denied liability.

After due hearing, the RTC rendered judgment in favor of plaintiff. Both defendants appealed. The CA affirmed in part the RTC judgment by sustaining liability of South Sea Surety but modified it by holding that the Seven Brothers was not liable for the lost of the cargo. The CA held that the stipulation in the character party that the ship owner would be exempted from liability in case of loss or even for negligence of its agent is valid.

ISSUE: Whether or not patrimonial rights may be waived.

HELD: As a general rule, patrimonial rights may be waived. In the case at bar, the waiver of petitioner per contractual stipulation  and that it is solely responsible for any damage to the cargo, thereby exempting the private carrier from any responsibility for loss or damage thereto. The Supreme Court cited Article 6 of the Civil Code which states that rights may be waived unless the waiver is contrary to law, public order, public policy, morals or good customs or prejudicial to a person of a right recognized by law.

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