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Lim v. Kou Co Ping
679 SCRA 114
The FR Cement Corporation (FRCC), a cement manufacturing plant, issued several withdrawal authorities which state the number of bags paid for which can be withdrawn from the plant. Co bought some withdrawal authorities and sold it to Lim. Lim withdrew on a staggered basis. Sometime, FRCC did not allow Lim to withdraw the remaining 37,200 bags covered by the withdrawal authorities. Lim sought legal recourse after her demands for Co to resolve the problem with the plant or for the return of her money had failed. An Information for Estafa was filed against Co in Pasig RTC. The trial court acquitted Co both for criminal and civil liability of the case. Lim filed a notice of appeal on the civil aspect of the criminal case. During the pendency of the appeal, Lim filed a civil complaint for specific performance and damages in Manila RTC against Co on the ground of breach of contract. Co argues that Lim is guilty of forum shopping because she is asserting only one cause of action in the appeal from the civil aspect of the criminal case of estafa and the civil action on specific performance and damages.
Whetehr or not Lim committed forum shopping in filing the civil case for specific performance and damages during the pendency of her appeal on the civil aspect of the criminal case for estafa
No. The first action is clearly a civil action ex delicto, it having been instituted together with the criminal action. On the other hand, the second action is a civil action arising from a contractual obligation and for tortious conduct (abuse of rights).
According to the Supreme Court, a single act or omission that causes damage to an offended party may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender: (1) civil liability ex delicto, that is, civil liability arising from the criminal; and (2) independent civil liability, that is, civil liability that may be pursued independently of the criminal proceedings. The independent civil liability may be based on "an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony as provided in Article 31 of the Civil Code (such as for breach of contract or for tort. Because of the distinct and independent nature of the two kinds of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the offended party may pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or cumulatively, without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis pendentia, or res judicata.