Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence


Philippine Supreme Court Jurisprudence > Year 1913 > December 1913 Decisions > G.R. No. 8896 December 29, 1913 - EDUARDO GUTIERREZ REPIDE v. GUTIERREZ HERMANOS

026 Phil 476:




PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

FIRST DIVISION

[G.R. No. 8896. December 29, 1913. ]

EDUARDO GUTIERREZ REPIDE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GUTIERREZ HERMANOS, Defendant-Appellant.

Socias, Orense & Blanco, for Appellee.

O’Brien & DeWitt, for Appellant.

SYLLABUS


1. ATTORNEY AND CLIENT; FEES. — When proof is lacking that an attorney, in undertaking to conduct a suit, expressly obligated himself to render his professional services therein, and in the other suits his client might afterwards prosecute, on condition that he should not receive more than a certain amount, fixed at the execution of the contract made in connection with the first suit already initiated, it would be neither proper nor just to hold that said attorney contracted such an obligation to counsel and defend his client in all the latter’s suits, at that time or later, for without the clear and manifest intention and express will on his part it would not be lawful to bind the attorney’s professional services to conduct all the suits that might arise, without other compensation than the sum fixed at the beginning of the first suit.

2. ID.; ID.; CONSTRUCTION OF CONTRACT. — In case of doubt regarding the meaning or construction of the contents and scope of a contract, strict application should be made of article 1283, Civil Code, wherein it is provided that, whatever may be the general sense of the terms of a contract, things and facts different from what the interested parties intended to contract upon are not to be understood as embraced therein; and in accordance with article 1289 of the same Code, if the contract is for a valuable consideration the doubt shall be resolved in favor of the greatest reciprocity of interests, and certainly no such reciprocity of interests is involved and it is contrary to common sense and sound reasoning to extends to all the suits which might arise in the future and which were unforeseen the agreement entered into by an attorney to conduct a suit already initiated for a certain stipulated sum as compensation for his professional services in that case, since favorable terms must be construed broadly and liberally and onerous ones with limitation and strict justice.


D E C I S I O N


TORRES, J. :


This appeal, through a bill of exceptions, was raised by counsel for the commercial firm of Gutierrez Hermanos counsel for the judgment of February 10, 1913, rendered by the Honorable A. S. Crossfield, judge, in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant firm of Gutierrez Hermanos, for the sum of P1,600, together with interest thereon at 6 per cent per annum from the first day of March, 1912, and for the costs of the action.

On February 26, 1912, the attorney Eduardo Gutierrez Repide filed suit in the Court of First Instance of this city against the commercial firm of Gutierrez Hermanos, alleging that he had at its request rendered it services as attorney in case No. 7719, in which the firm of Gutierrez Hermanos was plaintiff and Oria Hermanos & Co. defendant; which suit, instituted for the collection of P12,218.51 and interest thereon, was decided and afterwards appealed by the defendant to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the judgment of the lower court by sentencing the defendant to pay the said sum to the plaintiff; 1 and that, after the litigation was decided in this second instance, the plaintiff endeavored to collect from Gutierrez Hermanos P2,000 as fees for all the professional services he had rendered in that suit, but that this sum had not been paid him either wholly or partly, although it was a just, reasonable and equitable compensation in consideration of the subject matter of the suit and the kind and value of his services as attorney. He therefore asked that Gutierrez Hermanos be sentenced to pay the said sum, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of the complaint, and the costs.

The defendant firm, in its amended answer, alleged as a special defense that on August 12 and November 27, 1909, it agreed with the plaintiff that the fee which the latter was to collect for all his professional services and for all the suits which the might have to bring against Oria Hermanos, including all procedure had therein until their termination, should not exceed P10,000, and that, in case the work should turn out to be less than was supposed and he should not have to make any trip to the provinces, the said sum should be reduced by such amount as would be just and reasonable; that, on January 3, the plaintiff collected from the defendant, on account of his contract for fees, the sum of P3,000 and, in addition thereto, received from the grocery store of Gutierrez Hermanos effects and merchandise amounting to P1,669.81, making a total of P4,666.81 received by the plaintiff; that, because of the delay in the prosecution of case No. 7289, 2 Oria Hermanos & Co. succeeded in selling all the property of the firm to Manuel Oria y Gonzalez, on which account Gutierrez Hermanos had to seek a temporary attachment of such property; that the plaintiff, failing to comply with his engagements, ceased to defend the defendant and withdrew as its attorney just prior to the date set for the hearing, without giving the defendant time to turn over its defense to another attorney, and, ignoring his contract, commenced to sue the defendant; and that there was no need of filing a complaint in this case, since it could have been included as a second cause of action in case No. 7289; and it therefore requested that the plaintiff’s complaint be dismissed, with the costs of the action.

We accept the statement of facts, the conclusions and the legal grounds of the judgment appealed from, since they are in accordance with the law and the merits of the case, and affirm the said judgment, with the costs against the Appellant.

Arellano, C.J., Johnson, Carson, Moreland, and Trent, JJ., concur.

Endnotes:



1. 19 Phil. Rep., 104.

2. 21 Phil. Rep., 243.




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