G.R. No. 152219, 25 October 2004
On April 5, 1993, the Spouses Efren and Maura Evangelista, the respondents herein, started to directly procure various kinds of animal feeds from petitioner Nutrimix Feeds Corporation. The petitioner gave the respondents a credit period of thirty to forty-five days to postdate… checks to be issued in payment for the delivery of the feeds.
When the above-mentioned checks were deposited at the petitioner’s depository bank, the same were, consequently, dishonored because respondent Maura Evangelista had already closed her account. On December 15, 1993, the petitioner filed with the Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, a complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 1026-M-93, against the respondents for sum of money and damages with a prayer for issuance of writ of preliminary attachment.
On January 19, 1994, the respondents also lodged a complaint for damages against the petitioner, docketed as Civil Case No. 49-M-94, for the untimely and unforeseen death of their animals supposedly effected by the adulterated animal feeds the petitioner sold to them.
Whether or not Nutrimix is guilty of breach of warranty due to hidden defects.
NO. The provisions on warranty against hidden defects are found in Articles 1561 and 1566 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines. A hidden defect is one which is unknown or could not have been known to the vendee. Under the law, the requisites to recover on account of hidden defects are as follows:
a) the defect must be hidden;
b) the defect must exist at the time the sale was made;
c) the defect must ordinarily have been excluded from the contract;
d) the defect, must be important (renders thing UNFIT or considerably decreases FITNESS);
e) the action must be instituted within the statute of limitations
In the sale of animal feeds, there is an implied warranty that it is reasonably fit and suitable to be used for the purpose which both parties contemplated. To be able to prove liability on the basis of breach of implied warranty, three things must be established by the respondents.
The first is that they sustained injury because of the product; the second is that the injury occurred because the product was defective or unreasonably unsafe; and finally, the defect existed when the product left the hands of the petitioner. A manufacturer or seller of a product cannot be held liable for any damage allegedly caused by the product in the absence of any proof that the product in question was defective.
The defect must be present upon the delivery or manufacture of the product; or when the product left the seller’s or manufacturer’s control; or when the product was sold to the purchaser; or the product must have reached the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition it was sold.
Tracing the defect to the petitioner requires some evidence that there was no tampering with, or changing of the animal feeds. The nature of the animal feeds makes it necessarily difficult for the respondents to prove that the defect was existing when the product left the premises of the petitioner.
*Case digest by Lowel Dave D. Manuel, JD-4, Andres Bonifacio Law School, S.Y. 2019-2020