Mercantile Law

FLEISCHER vs. BOTICA NOLASCO CO., INC G.R. No. 23241 March 14, 1925 Corporation Law, Shares of stock, Transfer of shares of stock

FACTS:

Manuel Gonzalez was the original owner of the five shares of stock in question, of the Botica Nolasco, Inc.

He assigned and delivered said five shares to the plaintiff, Henry Fleischer, in consideration of a large sum of money owed by Gonzalez to Fleischer

In his amended complaint, plaintiff, Fleischer prayed for defendant to register in the books of the corporation five shares of its stock in his name and to pay him the sum of P500 for damages sustained by him resulting from the refusal of the board of directors to register the shares of stock in question. Defendant denied the allegations and alleged that the defendant, pursuant to article 12 of its by-laws, had preferential right to buy from the plaintiff said shares at the par value of P100 a share, plus P90 as dividends and that said offer was refused by the plaintiff.

Trial Court judge held that, article 12 of the by-laws of the corporation which gives it preferential right to buy its shares from retiring stockholders, is in conflict with Sec 35 of the Corporation Law, and rendered a judgment ordering the defendant corporation, through its board of directors, to register in the books of said corporation the said five shares of stock in the name of the plaintiff, Henry Fleischer, as the shareholder or owner.

ISSUE:

Whether article 12 of the by-laws of the Botica Nolasco, Inc., is in conflict with the provisions of the Corporation Law.

RULING:

Art. 12 article constitutes a by-law or regulation adopted by the Botica Nolasco, Inc., governing the transfer of shares of stock of said corporation. The latter part of said article creates in favor of the Botica Nolasco, Inc., a preferential right to buy, under the same conditions, the share or shares of stock of a retiring shareholder.

The particular provisions of the Corporation Law referring to transfer of shares of stock are as follows:

SEC. 13. Every corporation has the power:

x x x           x x x           x x x

(7) To make by-laws, not inconsistent with any existing law, for the fixing or changing of the number of its officers and directors within the limits prescribed by law, and for the transferring of its stock, the administration of its corporate affairs, etc.

x x x           x x x           x x x

SEC. 35. The capital stock of stock corporations shall be divided into shares for which certificates signed by the president or the vice-president, countersigned by the secretary or clerk and sealed with the seal of the corporation, shall be issued in accordance with the by-laws. Shares of stock so issued are personal property and may be transferred by delivery of the certificate indorsed by the owner or his attorney in fact or other person legally authorized to make the transfer. No transfer, however, shall be valid, except as between the parties, until the transfer is entered and noted upon the books of the corporation so as to show the names of the parties to the transaction, that date of the transfer, the number of the certificate, and the number of shares transferred.

No share of stock against which the corporation holds any unpaid claim shall be transferable on the books of the corporation.

Section 13, par.7 empowers a corporation to make by-laws, not inconsistent with any existing law, for the transferring of its stock. It follows from said provision, that a by-law adopted by a corporation relating to transfer of stock should be in harmony with the law on the subject of transfer of stock.

Sec 35 defines the nature, character and transferability of shares of stock. Said section contemplates no restriction as to whom they may be transferred or sold. The holder of shares, as owner of personal property, is at liberty, under said section, to dispose of them in favor of whomsoever he pleases, without any other limitation in this respect, than the general provisions of law. Therefore, a stock corporation in adopting a by-law governing transfer of shares of stock should take into consideration the specific provisions of section 35 of Act No. 1459, and said by-law should be made to harmonize with said provisions. It should not be inconsistent therewith.

The by-law now in question was adopted under the power conferred upon the corporation by section 13, paragraph 7, above quoted; but in adopting said by-law the corporation has transcended the limits fixed by law in the same section, and has not taken into consideration the provisions of section 35.

As a general rule, the by-laws of a corporation are valid if they are reasonable and calculated to carry into effect the objects of the corporation, and are not contradictory to the general policy of the laws of the land.

It is equally well settled that by-laws of a corporation must be reasonable and for a corporate purpose, and always within the charter limits. They must always be strictly subordinate to the constitution and the general laws of the land.

The decision of the lower court is affirmed.

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