a collections of case digests and laws that can help aspiring law students to become a lawyer.
Milagros Morada was hired as a flight attendant of Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) and was based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During a lay-over in Indonesia, Morada, together with other crew members - Thamer and Allah went disco dancing. The three of them returned to their hotels when it was almost morning and agreed to have breakfast in the room of Thamer. However, Thamer attempted to rape Morada. Hotel personnels rescued Morada while Thamer and Allah were both arrested by the Indonesian police.
Upon Morada's return to Jeddah, she was interrogated by SAUDIA officials regarding the incident. They even requested for her to help arrange the release of the two in Indonesia - to which she refused to do so. Later, she learned that after two weeks of imprisonment, Thamer and Allah were allowed to deported through the help of the Saudi Arabian government. Eventually, the two were again in service at SAUDI while Morada was transferred to the Philippines. When Morada was requested by her superiors, her passport was taken from her and was pressured to drop the case or her passport will not be returned. She eventually agreed to such request just to get her passport back.
Years later, Morada was once again summoned by SAUDIA to Jeddah for further investigation. Morada agreed when she received assurance from SAUDIA's Manila Manager, Aslam Saleemi, that the investigation was routinary and that it posed no danger to her. She was once again interrogated by the judge about the incident.
When she was about to board her flight back to the Philippines, she was forbidden by the authorities, was escorted back to court, interrogated and was sentenced to 5 months imprisonment and 286 lashes due to violation of Islamic laws on dancing and socializing with men.
She sought help from the Philippine Embassy in Jeddah. To earn her upkeep, she worked on domestic flights of SAUDIA while Thamer and Allah continued to serve in international flights.
Since Morada was wrongfully convicted, the Prince of Makkah dismissed the case and allowed her to leave Saudi Arabia. However, shortly before her return to Manila, her services were terminated by SAUDIA, without being informed of the cause.
Thus, Morada filed a case for damages against SAUDIA and its country manager.
SAUDIA field a motion to dismiss contending that:
(1) that the Complaint states no cause of action against Saudia;
(2) that the claim or demand set forth in the Complaint has been waived, abandoned or otherwise extinguished; and
(3) that the trial court has no jurisdiction to try the case.
1. Whether the case involves conflict of laws
2. Whether the trial court has jurisdiction over the case
Conflict of Laws
There is a foreign element in this case, hence, it involves a conflict of laws question.
Foreign elements may appear in different forms. It may simply consist of the fact that one of the parties to the contract is an alien or has a foreign domicile or that a contract between nationals of one State involves properties situated in another State. In other cases, the foreign element may assume a complex form.
Here, the foreign element comes from the fact that the plaintiff, Morada was a resident Philippine National while SAUDIA is a resident foreign corporation. Moreover, through Morada's employment as a flight stewardess of SAUDIA, the occurrences surrounding the case transpired while she was on her travels which was across national borders. This caused a "conflicts" situation to arise.
Weighing the relative claims of the parties, the court found it best to hear the case in the Philippines. If it refused to take cognizance of the case, it would be forcing Morada to seek remedial action elsewhere, i.e. in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where she no longer maintains substantial connections. That would have caused a fundamental unfairness to her.
Moreover, by hearing the case in the Philippines no unnecessary difficulties and inconvenience have been shown by either of the parties. The choice of forum of the Morada should be upheld.
Similarly, the trial court has also acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the parties in this case. By filing her Complaint and Amended Complaint with the trial court, Morada has voluntary submitted herself to the jurisdiction of the court. Similarly, SAUDIA has filed several motions asking the court for relief. This indicates that SAUDIA indeed has submitted to the jurisdiction of the trial court.
Discussion as to what applicable law in case of conflict of laws; Choice-of-laws
As to the choice of applicable law, we note that choice-of-law problems seek to answer two important questions:
(1) What legal system should control a given situation where some of the significant facts occurred in two or more states; and
(2) to what extent should the chosen legal system regulate the situation.
Several theories have been propounded in order to identify the legal system that should ultimately control. Although ideally, all choice-of-law theories should intrinsically advance both notions of justice and predictability, they do not always do so. The forum is then faced with the problem of deciding which of these two important values should be stressed.
Before a choice can be made, it is necessary for us to determine under what category a certain set of facts or rules fall. This process is known as "characterization", or the "doctrine of qualification". It is the "process of deciding whether or not the facts relate to the kind of question specified in a conflicts rule." The purpose of "characterization" is to enable the forum to select the proper law.
Our starting point of analysis here is not a legal relation, but a factual situation, event, or operative fact. An essential element of conflict rules is the indication of a "test" or "connecting factor" or "point of contact". Choice-of-law rules invariably consist of a factual relationship (such as property right, contract claim) and a connecting factor or point of contact, such as the situs of the res, the place of celebration, the place of performance, or the place of wrongdoing.
The relevant point of contact in this case is Lex Loci Actus.
(4) the place where an act has been done, the locus actus, such as the place where a contract has been made, a marriage celebrated, a will signed or a tort committed. The lex loci actus is particularly important in contracts and torts.
Considering that the complaint in the court a quo is one involving torts, the "connecting factor" or "point of contact" could be the place or places where the tortious conduct or lex loci actus occurred. And applying the torts principle in a conflicts case, we find that the Philippines could be said as a situs of the tort (the place where the alleged tortious conduct took place). This is because it is in the Philippines where petitioner allegedly deceived private respondent, a Filipina residing and working here.
According to her, she had honestly believed that petitioner would, in the exercise of its rights and in the performance of its duties, "act with justice, give her due and observe honesty and good faith." Instead, petitioner failed to protect her, she claimed. That certain acts or parts of the injury allegedly occurred in another country is of no moment. For in our view what is important here is the place where the over-all harm or the totality of the alleged injury to the person, reputation, social standing and human rights of complainant, had lodged, according to the plaintiff below (herein private respondent). All told, it is not without basis to identify the Philippines as the situs of the alleged tort.
Other point of contacts:
(1) The nationality of a person, his domicile, his residence, his place of sojourn, or his origin;
(2) the seat of a legal or juridical person, such as a corporation;
(3) the situs of a thing, that is, the place where a thing is, or is deemed to be situated. In particular, the lex situs is decisive when real rights are involved;
(4) the place where an act has been done, the locus actus, such as the place where a contract has been made, a marriage celebrated, a will signed or a tort committed. The lex loci actus is particularly important in contracts and torts;
(5) the place where an act is intended to come into effect, e.g., the place of performance of contractual duties, or the place where a power of attorney is to be exercised;
(6) the intention of the contracting parties as to the law that should govern their agreement, the lex loci intentionis;
(7) the place where judicial or administrative proceedings are instituted or done. The lex forithe law of the forumis particularly important because, as we have seen earlier, matters of procedure not going to the substance of the claim involved are governed by it; and because the lex fori applies whenever the content of the otherwise applicable foreign law is excluded from application in a given case for the reason that it falls under one of the exceptions to the applications of foreign law; and
(8) the flag of a ship, which in many cases is decisive of practically all legal relationships of the ship and of its master or owner as such. It also covers contractual relationships particularly contracts of affreightment