You are on page 1of 2

DaelvBeltran

G.R.No.156470
April30,2008
FrederickDaelfiledintheRTCofNegrosOriental,acomplaintforbreachofcontractanddamagesagainst
spousesBeltran.Inthecomplaint,heallegedthatthespousessoldhimaparceloflandcoveringthreehectares,
without disclosing that the land was previously mortgaged. Subsequently, he discovered that an extrajudicial
foreclosureoverthepropertyhadalreadybeeninstituted,andthathewasconstrainedtobidintheextrajudicialsale
oftheland.Hepaidthebidpriceof775,110andpossessionandownershipwasthendeliveredtohim.Heargues
thatthenondisclosureoftheextrajudicialforeclosureconstitutedbreachofcontractontheimpliedwarrantiesina
saleofpropertyanddamages.
SpousesfiledaMotiontoDismissonthegroundofnocauseofactionsincethecontracttosellstatedthat
thevendorwasBenedictoBeltranandthevendeewasFrederickGeorgeGhentDael,notthepetitioner.
Inahearingonthemotion,Atty.Palma,Daelscounsel,disclosedthatpetitioneristhefatherofFrederick
GeorgeGhentDaelwhosenameappearsasthecontractingpartyintheContracttoSell.Atty.Palmamovedtoreset
thehearingtoenablethepetitionertowithdrawandhavethecomplaintdismissed,amended,ortoenterintoa
compromiseagreementwiththespouses.
TheRTCorderedtheDaeltoclarify:
1. whetherornotheandFrederickGeorgeGhentDaelwereoneandthesameperson;
2. whetherornottheywereFilipinosandresidentsofDumagueteCity;and
3. whetherornotFrederickGeorgeGhentDaelwasoflegalage,andmarried,asstatedintheContracttoSell.
Daeldidnotcomply.
DaelfiledaNoticeofDismissalwhichwasgrantedbytheRTCWITHPREJUDICE. Arguing that the
RTC erred in dismissing the complaint with prejudice based on respondents Motion to Dismiss, and not without
prejudice based on his Notice of Dismissal, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration, this was however denied,
Hence this petition.
Dael:The1997RulesofCivilProcedureexpresslystatesthatbeforethedefendanthasservedhisanswerormoved
forasummaryjudgment,hehas,asamatterofright,theprerogativetocausethedismissalofacivilactionfiled,
andsuchdismissalmaybeeffectedbyamerenoticeofdismissal.Suchdismissaliswithoutprejudice,except(a)
wherethenoticeofdismissalsoprovides;(b)wheretheplaintiffhaspreviouslydismissedthesamecaseinacourt
of competent jurisdiction; or (c) where the dismissal is premised on payment by the defendant of the claim
involved.HeassertsitistheprerogativeoftheplaintifftoindicateiftheNoticeofDismissalfilediswithorwithout
prejudiceandtheRTCcannotexerciseitsowndiscretionanddismissthecasewithprejudice.

Spouses:RTCiscorrectindismissingthecasewithprejudicebasedontheirMotiontoDismissbecausetheyfiled
theirmotiononJanuary10,2002,aheadofpetitionerwhofiledhisNoticeofDismissalonlyonFebruary20,
2002.Theyfurtherarguethatalthoughitiscorrectthatunderthe1997RulesofCivilProcedureacomplaintmaybe
dismissedbytheplaintiffbyfilinganoticeofdismissalbeforeserviceoftheanswerorofamotionforsummary
judgment,thepetitionerfiledtheNoticeofDismissalonlyasanafterthoughtafterherealizedthattheMotionto
Dismisswasmeritorious.Further,theypointoutthatpetitionerdeceivedthecourtwhenhefiledtheactionknowing
fullywellthathewasnottherealpartyininterestrepresentinghimselfasFrederickGeorgeGhentDael.
Issue:
1.
Held:

DidtheRTCerrindismissingthecomplaintwithprejudice?

1.

YES
Section1,Rule17ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedureprovides:
SECTION1.Dismissaluponnoticebyplaintiff.Acomplaintmaybedismissedbythe
plaintiffbyfilinganoticeofdismissalatanytimebeforeserviceoftheanswerorofamotionfor
summaryjudgment.Uponsuchnoticebeingfiled,thecourtshallissueanorderconfirmingthe
dismissal.Unlessotherwisestatedinthenotice,thedismissaliswithoutprejudice,exceptthata
notice operates as an adjudication upon the merits when filed by a plaintiff who has once
dismissedinacompetentcourtanactionbasedonorincludingthesameclaim.

Underthisprovision,itismandatorythatthetrialcourtissueanorderconfirmingsuchdismissaland,
unlessotherwisestatedinthenotice,thedismissaliswithoutprejudiceandcouldbeaccomplishedbytheplaintiff
through mere notice of dismissal, and not through motion subject to approval by the court. Dismissal isipso
factouponnotice,andwithoutprejudiceunlessotherwisestatedinthenotice.Thetrialcourthasnochoicebutto
considerthecomplaintasdismissed,sincetheplaintiffmayoptforsuchdismissalasamatterofright,regardlessof
theground.
The spouses argue that the Motion to Dismiss they filed precedes the Notice of Dismissal filed by
petitionerandhence,thetrialcourtcorrectlygaveitprecedenceandruledbasedonthemotion.Thisargumentis
erroneous.Section1ofRule17doesnotencompassaMotiontoDismiss.Theprovisionspecificallyprovidesthata
plaintiffmayfileanoticeofdismissalbeforeserviceoftheansweroramotionforsummaryjudgment.Thus,upon
thefilingoftheNoticeofDismissalbytheplaintiff,theMotiontoDismissfiledbyrespondentsbecamemootand
academicandthetrialcourtshouldhavedismissedthecasewithoutprejudicebasedontheNoticeofDismissalfiled
by the petitioner. Moreover, to allow the case to be dismissed with prejudice would erroneously result inres
judicata andimplythatpetitionercannolongerfileacaseagainstrespondentswithoutgivinghimachanceto
presentevidencetoproveotherwise.