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Galian

vs. State Assurance Company, Ltd.


February 10, 1915| Trent, J. | Opinion Rule
PETITIONER: Francisco Galian
RESPONDENT: State Assurance Company, Ltd.

SUMMARY: Galian claimed proceeds from an open fire insurance policy. The insurance company wanted to give him a lower
amount. In determining the amount to be given, the insurance company used the testimonies of three experts. SC declared
that the testimonies of the experts were superficial, and there was no need for expert witnesses anymore as the articles
listed were normally used by people for their own convenience, and the prices are readily available in retail stores.

DOCTRINE: Section 49 of Rule 130 provides that expert witnesses may be admitted on matters requiring special
knowledge. In this case, no special knowledge was needed because the prices of articles sought to be apprised can be seen in
retail stores, and it is most probable that Galian himself bought them for his own convenience and comfort. Thus, Galian is
knowledgeable about the prices of said items.

FACTS:
nothing had been entirely consumed by the fire.
1. January 25, 1912: The property was insured for
P3,000.
2. May 25, 191: The day following the fire, the insured
presented an itemized statement of the goods contained
in the house at the time of the fire, the total value of
which he claims to be P4,512. The insured property was
not totally destroyed, so the insured claimed only
P2,919.74.
3. The insurance company interposed the defense that
the policy had been forfeited because Galian presented
false claims that there was an alleged total loss, that
not all the articles listed in the claim of loss were in the
house where and when the fire occurred, and that that he
attributed greater value to the articles than they were
worth.
4. Upon trial, there was evidence for Galian that the
statement presented after the fire was substantially
correct, both in quantities and values. He testified that he,
with the assistance of his brother, immediately prepared
the statement from memory immediately after the fire.
5. The company presented 3 witnesses who were at the
scene of the fire shortly after it occurred. From the
photographs submitted, it appears that the first floor of
Galians resident was not damaged by the fire at all, but
did suffer damage from water and breakage. The rattan
work on the chairs, in the second floor, was entirely
consumed. The woodwork was probably only charred or
scorched. The fire did the most damage in the bedroom,
where the roof partly fell in.
- Mr. Young testified that he examined the
contents of the house and estimated the loss at
P1,000, but this was only a casual estimate.
- Mr. Dow testified that he made a rough
estimate, that that the estimated value of the
goods in the first floor was P500, and from the
upper floor, P1,500.
- Mr. Laing, agent of the insurance company,
estimated the loss at P1,500. He testified that

6. TC refused to consider the testimonies of Galian and


his brother as to the value of the property on the ground
that neither was qualified to appraise the property. The
court determined that the property was worth P1,000 at
the time of the fire.
ISSUE: W/N the trial court correctly determined the
value of the property NO.
HELD: Galian is entitled to the sum of P2,919.92.
RATIO:
1. There is no satisfactory proof that Galian included in
his itemized list any property which was not there. He
prepared the list from memory, and absolute accuracy
could hardly be expected.
2. The insurance companys counsel was correct in
observing that the Galians inventory of his and his wifes
wardrobe is too extravagant , considering that Galian is
only a cashier of a local business house with a salary of
P175 per month. It also appears that the extraordinary
list of wearing apparel was submitted to the insurance
company before any of the three experts made his
examination on the property.
3. The Court declined to accept the testimonies of the
three witnesses for the insurance company.
- Because it appears that some of the plaintiffs
property was entirely consumed by the fire and
some was badly damaged that it was impossible
to judge of its value.
- The inspection made by these several
witnesses was so superficial, in view of their
opportunity, that their conclusions do not carry
conviction.
4. The Court also declined to agree with the trial courts
finding that Galian and his brother were not qualified to
appraise the value of the property. The itemized articles
are on sale in retail shops everywhere and the prices are
readily available to anyone seeking the information.

Moreover, these are things that people with reasonably


fair income purchase for their own convenience and
comfort. Hence, information as to their value must
necessarily be acquired by all such individuals. Therefore,
there was no need for an expert witness.
5. Galian was intimately acquainted with the articles
described by him. He, no doubt, purchased most of them.
6. The property was worth P4,512. The salvage
amounted to P120.40. This leaves a partial loss
amounting to P4,391.60. As the property was insured for
only P3,000, the insurer must bear a portion of the loss
represented by a fraction the numerator of which is the
amount of the insurance and the denominator of which is
the value of the property at the time of the fire. This
entitles the insured to a judgment against the insurer for
2,919.92.
SEPARATE OPINION
Moreland, J.
1. The insurance policy is clear that the company agreed
to pay Galian an amount not exceeding P3,000. Clause 17
of the policy, however, states that if the total amount of
the damages exceeds P3,000, the excess will be borne by
the insured.
2. Justice Moreland finds that, even though there is no
categorical pronouncement yet as to the validity of such
clause, such clause is violative of the fair intent of the
agreement, and can naturally deceive the insured in the
majority of cases.
Johnson, J, dissenting. (No explanation)