Remedial Law

Flores v. Mallare-Phillipps G.R. No. L-66620 September 24, 1986 Totality Rule, Joinder of Parties

FACTS:

Remedio Flores filed a complaint against Ignacio Binongcal for refusing to pay the amount of P11,643.00 representing cost of truck tires which he purchased on credit from petitioner. The second cause of action was against respondent Fernando Calion for allegedly refusing to pay the amount of P10,212.00 representing cost of truck tires which he purchased on credit from petitioner.

The counsel Binongcal filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction since the amount of the demand against said respondent was only P11,643.00, and under Section 19(8) of BP129 the RTC shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction if the amount of the demand is more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00); and that the debt of Fernando Calion was separate and distinct from that of Binongcal. 

Counsel for respondent Calion joined in the motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. 

Judge Heilia S. Mallare-Phillipps issued an Order dismissing the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. 

Hence, this appeal by certiorari.

Petitioner maintains that the lower court has jurisdiction over the case following the totality rule.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint taking into account the totality rule.

RULING:

In cases where a plaintiff sues a defendant on two or more separate causes of action, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions. If the total demand exceeds twenty thousand pesos, then the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction. 

Needless to state, if the causes of action are separate and independent, their joinder in one complaint is permissive and not mandatory, and any cause of action where the amount of the demand is 20,000 pesos or less may be the subject of a separate complaint filed with a Metropolitan or Municipal trial court.

The Court rules that the application of the totality rule under Section 33(l) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 and Section 11 of the Interim Rules is subject to the requirements for the permissive joinder of parties under Section 6 of Rule 3 which provides as follows:

Permissive joinder of parties.-All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest.

In cases of permissive joinder of parties, whether as plaintiffs or as defendants, under Section 6 of Rule 3, the total of all the claims shall now furnish the jurisdictional test. Needless to state also, if instead of joining or being joined in one complaint separate actions are filed by or against the parties, the amount demanded in each complaint shall furnish the jurisdictional test.

In the case at bar, the lower court correctly held that the jurisdictional test is subject to the rules on joinder of parties pursuant to Section 5 of Rule 2 and Section 6 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court and that, after a careful scrutiny of the complaint, it appears that there is a misjoinder of parties for the reason that the claims against respondents Binongcal and Calion are separate and distinct and neither of which falls within its jurisdiction.

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