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THE BASIC FRAMEWORK OF ORDINARY CIVIL ACTIONS

I. Complaint
a. Right of action and cause of action
i. Right of action is the right to file a suit.
ii. Cause of action involves a right of the plaintiff and a violation of this right by the
defendant.
b. Jurisdiction, venue and parties, prescription, and conditions precedent
i. Jurisdiction
1. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case is conferred by law and
determined by the allegations in the complaint. The defences and the
evidence do not determine jurisdiction.
2. Complaint may be dismissed either upon motion by the adverse party or
upon the court’s own motion (motu proprio) if there is lack of
jurisdiction.
ii. Venue
1. Real action
a. Location of the real property
2. Personal action (at the option of the plaintiff)
a. Residence of the plaintiff
b. Residence of the defendant
c. Where the non-resident defendant may be found
3. Other matters to consider
a. A complaint may be dismissed upon motion if commenced in
the wrong venue.
b. Restrictive stipulations as to venue.
iii. Parties
1. Real party in interest
a. Party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in
the suit or the one entitled to the avails of the suit.
2. Parties to be impleaded as defendants
iv. Prescription
1. Art. 1139 to Art. 1155 CC
v. Conditions Precedent
1. Barangay Conciliation
2. Arbitration proceedings required in contractual stipulations
3. Demand to pay (Art. 1169 CC) – collection suit
4. Demand to pay and vacate – unlawful detainer
5. Earnest efforts to compromise between family members (Art.151 FC)
6. Exhaustion of administrative remedies
7. Other matters to consider
a. Compliance must be alleged in the complaint.
c. Preparation of the complaint
i. The complaint or any other pleading is not designed to be a narration and an
exposition of evidentiary matters but properly a statement only of the ultimate
facts which constitutes a party’s claim or defense.
ii. Circumstances constituting fraud or mistake must be stated with particularity to
enable the court to determine the type of fraud committed by the defendant
and the subsequent liability of the defendant, if there be any.
iii. An action filed may sometimes be based upon a document. Such document
needs to be properly pleaded in the complaint by setting forth the substance of
the instrument in the complaint and by attaching the original or a copy thereof
as an integral part of the complaint.
iv. The complaint must specify the relief sought.
v. The complaint must be dated.
vi. The complaint must be signed by counsel. His signature constitutes a certificate
that he has read the pleading, that to the best of his knowledge, information
and belief, there are good grounds to support it, and that it is not interposed for
delay.
vii. The complaint must designate the address of the party or his counsel.
viii. Pleadings which need to be verified must be verified.
1. Pleadings under the Rules on Summary Procedure
2. Petitions for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus
ix. Certification against forum shopping
x. Provisional remedies
1. Preliminary attachment
2. Preliminary injunction
3. Receivership
4. Replevin
5. Support pendente lite
d. Filing of the complaint
i. Payment of docket and filing fees
1. Court acquires jurisdiction over the case only upon payment of the
requisite docket and filing fees.
a. If the fees are not paid at the time of filing, the court acquires
jurisdiction only upon full payment of the fees within a
reasonable time as the court may grant, barring prescription.
b. Payment of docket fees within the prescribed period is
mandatory for the perfection of the appeal.
e. Possible proceedings after the filing of the complaint
i. Dismissal of action by the plaintiff (Rule 17)
1. Before answer or a motion for summary judgment
a. Notice of dismissal (Rule 17 Sec. 1)
i. Without prejudice to the refiling of the complaint
subject to the “two-dismissal rule”.
ii. Confirmation of the dismissal by the court through an
order shall come as a matter of course.
2. After the service of the answer or a motion for summary judgment
a. Motion to dismiss the complaint (Rule 17 Sec. 2)
i. Subject to the sound discretion of the court since this
no longer a matter of right.
ii. Amendment of the complaint
1. Amendment before a responsive pleading
a. Amendment as a matter of right (Rule 11 Sec. 2)
i. If the court refuses to accept, it may be compelled
through mandamus.
ii. May be filed even after a motion to dismiss has been
filed since a motion to dismiss is not a responsive
pleading.
2. After service of a responsive pleading
a. Amendment by leave of court (Rule 11 Sec. 3)
i. Matter of judicial discretion
b. Amendment by implication when issues not raised in the
pleadings are tried with the express or implied consent of the
parties. (Rule 10 Sec. 5)

II. Summons; motion for bill of particulars; motion to dismiss


a. Summons (Rule 14)
i. Upon the filing of the complaint and the payment of the requisite legal fees, the
clerk of court shall issue the corresponding summons to the defendant
ii. Service of summons
1. In person
2. Substituted service
a. If the defendant cannot be served despite efforts to serve him
in person, summons may be served at:
i. Residence of the defendant
ii. Regular place of business with a person qualified to
receive summons
iii. Summons by publication (only allowed in exceptional
situations)
3. To whom summons may be served
a. Minor or incompetent
i. Personal service to minor and on his legal guardian.
b. Domestic corporation or partnership
i. President, Managing partner, General Manager,
Corporate Secretary, Treasurer, or in-house counsel.
c. Prisoner confined in jail or institution
i. Service shall be effected on the prisoner by the officer
having management of the jail or institution.
4. Service of summons is not always required to enable the court to
acquire jurisdiction. Jurisdiction may be acquired through VOLUNTARY
APPEARANCE.
b. Motion for bill of particulars (Rule 12)
c. Motion to dismiss (Rule 16)
i. Motu proprio by the court
1. Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action
2. Litis pendencia
3. Res judicata
4. Prescription

III. Answer; default


a. Answer
i. Failure to file answer
1. Declaration of Default upon motion of the claiming party with notice to
the defending party, and proof of such failure (Rule 9 Sec. 3)
a. Effects
i. Default
1. Party in default shall not be entitled to take part
in the trial but shall be entitled to notice of
subsequent proceedings.
ii. Partial Default
1. When a pleading asserting a claim states a
common cause of action against several
defending parties, some of whom answer, and
the others fail to do so, the court shall try the
case against all upon the answers thus filed and
render judgment upon the evidence presented.
b. Remedy is to file a motion under oath to set aside the order of
default.
i. The motion must show that failure was due to fraud,
accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, and that
there exists a meritorious defense.
c. Extent of relief awarded
i. Judgment rendered shall not exceed the amount or be
different in kind from that prayed for nor award
unliquidated damages.
d. Where no defaults allowed
i. Action for annulment or declaration of nullity of
marriage or for legal separation.
ii. Answer is filed
1. The answer must specifically deny the material averments of the
complaint because material averments not specifically denied are
deemed admitted.
a. Motion for judgment on the pleadings – if the answer admits
the material averments of the complaint. (Rule 34)
2. Counterclaim
a. Compulsory counterclaim
b. Permissive counterclaim
3. Cross-claim
4. Third-party complaint

IV. Pre-trial (Rule 18)


a. After the last pleading has been served and filed, it is the duty of the plaintiff to
promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial.
b. Discovery Procedures (Rules 23 to 29) – during the pre-trial stage and generally at any
time even before the pre-trial or trial.
i. Depositions (Rule 23 & 24)
ii. Interrogatories to parties (Rule 25)
iii. Request for admission (Rule 26)
iv. Production and inspection of documents (Rule 27)
v. Physical and mental examination of persons (Rule 28)
c. Amicable Settlement

V. Trial (Rule 30)


a. Demurrer to evidence – if the defendant believes that upon the facts and the law, the
plaintiff is not entitled to relief.

VI. Judgment (Rule 36)

VII. Post judgment remedies


a. Remedies before the judgment becomes final
i. Motion for reconsideration (Rule 37)
ii. Motion for new trial (Rule 37)
iii. Appeal
b. Remedies after the judgment becomes final
i. Petition for relief (Rule 38)
ii. Action to annul the judgment (Rule 47)
iii. Certiorari (Rule 65)
iv. Collateral attack on the judgment when the nullity of the judgment is plain and
evident on its face