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Robes-Francisco Realty & Dev’t Corp v.

CFI-Rizal and Lolita Millan (1978)

Robes Realty agreed to sell to Millan a parcel of land in Caloocan City. Millan complied with her
obligation and paid the installments. She made a total payment, including interests and
expenses for registration of title. After which, she made repeated demands for the execution of
the final deed of sale and the issuance of the TCT over the lot. The parties executed a deed of
absolute sale. The deed had the provision: o The seller warrants that the TCT shall be transferred
in the name of the buyer within 6 months from full payment. o In case the seller fails to issue
the TCT, the seller bears the obligation to refund the total amount already paid, plus 4% per
annum interest. After 6 months, seller corporation failed to cause the issuance of the TCT. So,
buyer Millan filed a complaint for specific performance and damages against the seller
corporation. The complaint prays: o Judgment ordering the reformation of the deed of absolute
sale; o Judgment ordering the seller corporation to deliver the TCT; or, if not possible, pay buyer
Millan the value of the lot o Judgment ordering the seller corp to pay damages, corrective and
actual (P15k) Seller corp answered. They: o Want the complaint to be dismissed because the
deed of absolute sale was voluntarily executed between them and the interest of the buyer
Millan was protected by the provision of interest at 4% per annum TC awarded nominal
damages of P20k.

Issue: Was award of nominal damages proper?

Held -performance of
obligation to buyer Millan who had fully paid up her instalments. NCC170 provides that those
who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those
who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages. Unfortunately, the
buyer Millan submitted her case without presenting evidence on the actual damages suffered.
STILL, the facts show that the right of the buyer MIillan to acquire title was violated by seller
corp and this entitles her at the very least to nominal damages. Art. 2221. Nominal damages are
adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the
defendant, may be vindicated or recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the
plaintiff for any loss suffered by him. Art. 2222. The court may award nominal damages in every
obligation arising from any source enumerated in article 1157, or in every case where any
property right has been invaded.


Under American jurisprudence, nominal damages by their very nature are small sums
fixed by the court without regard to the extent of the h
v. Kidd : It is generally held that a nominal damage is a substantial claim, if based upon the
violation of a legal right; in such case, the law presumes a damage, although actual or
compensatory damages are not proven. o Nominal damages are damages in name only and not
in fact, and are allowed, not as an equivalent of a wrong inflicted, but simply in recogniton of

an award of P10k nominal damages, saying that the amount cannot in common sense be

of P20k nominal damages, the SC there found special reasons to consider P20k as "nominal."
Actually, the Northwest Airlines case ruled that there is no conflict between that case and
Medina. o In Medina, the P10k nominal damages was eliminated because the aggrieved party
had already been awarded P6k as compensatory damages, P30k as moral damages and P10k as
exemplary damages. o While in Northwest, no such compensatory, moral, or exemplary

coexist with compensatory damages." PURPOSE OF NOMINAL DAMAGES Based on the

preceding articles, nominal damages are not intended for indemnification of loss suffered, but
for the vindication or recognition of a right violated or invaded. WHEN NOMINAL DAMAGES
ry has been done the amount of which
the evidence fails to show, the assessment of damages being left to the discretion of the court

determine whether the amount assessed as nominal damages is within the scope or intent of
the law (NCC 2221)

because the property was mortgaged to GSIS does not in itself show bad fai

were possible for the GSIS to make partial releases of the subdivision lots from the overall
mortgage. o It was just unfortunate that seller d
cannot agree with respondent Millan Chat the P20,000.00 award may be considered in the

modified. Nominal damages decreased from P20k to P10k.