G.R. No. 168863, 23 June 2009
On July 31, 2003, Roberto H. Torres (Roberto), for and on behalf of Honorio Torres & Sons, Inc. (HTSI), filed a Petition for Annulment of Real Estate Mortgage and Foreclosure Sale3 over two parcels of land located in Marikina and Quezon City. The suit was filed against Leonora, Ma. Theresa, Glenn and Stephanie, all surnamed Torres, the Register of Deeds of Marikina and Quezon City, and petitioner Hi-Yield Realty, Inc. (Hi-Yield). It was docketed as Civil Case No. 03-892 with Branch 148 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City.
On September 15, 2003, petitioner moved to dismiss the petition on grounds of improper venue and payment of insufficient docket fees. The RTC denied said motion in an Order dated January 22, 2004. The trial court held that the case was, in nature, a real action in the form of a derivative suit cognizable by a special commercial court pursuant to Administrative Matter No. 00-11-03-SC. Petitioner sought reconsideration, but its motion was denied in an Order dated April 27, 2004.
Thereafter, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Court of Appeals. In a Decision dated March 10, 2005, the appellate court agreed with the RTC that the case was a derivative suit. It further ruled that the prayer for annulment of mortgage and foreclosure proceedings was merely incidental to the main action.
Whether the ca erred in holding that the annulment of real estate mortgage and foreclosure sale in the complaint is merely incidental [to] the derivative suit.
A derivative action is a suit by a shareholder to enforce a corporate cause of action. Under the Corporation Code, where a corporation is an injured party, its power to sue is lodged with its board of directors or trustees. But an individual stockholder may be permitted to institute a derivative suit on behalf of the corporation in order to protect or vindicate corporate rights whenever the officials of the corporation refuse to sue, or are the ones to be sued, or hold control of the corporation. In such actions, the corporation is the real party-in-interest while the suing stockholder, on behalf of the corporation, is only a nominal party.
Even then, not every suit filed on behalf of the corporation is a derivative suit. For a derivative suit to prosper, the minority stockholder suing for and on behalf of the corporation must allege in his complaint that he is suing on a derivative cause of action on behalf of the corporation and all other stockholders similarly situated who may wish to join him in the suit.
Further, while it is true that the complaining stockholder must satisfactorily show that he has exhausted all means to redress his grievances within the corporation; such remedy is no longer necessary where the corporation itself is under the complete control of the person against whom the suit is being filed. The reason is obvious: a demand upon the board to institute an action and prosecute the same effectively would have been useless and an exercise in futility.
*Case Digest by Lowel Dave D. Manuel, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, S.Y. 2019-2020