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Transportation Case Digest: Delgado Brothers, Inc. v. Home Insurance, Inc. (1961)

G.R. No. L-16567             March 27, 1961
Lessons Applicable: Ancillary Contracts (Transportation)

  • February 17, 1955: Victor Bijou & Co. shipped at New York for Manila aboard the vessel S.S. Leoville and consigned to the Judy Philippines, Inc. of Manila, a shipment of 1 case Linen Handkerchiefs and 2 cases cotton piece goods, for which, the New York agent of said vessel, the Barber Steamship Lines, Inc., issued Bill of Lading No. 119
    • shipment as insured with Home Insurance, Inc. by the shipper and/or consignee
      • March 30, 1955: vessel arrived at the Port of Manila and delivered 1 case of Linen Handkerchiefs in bad order, with a shortage of 503 yards of Linen Print Handkerchiefs, to the prejudice, loss and damage of shipper and or consignee in the sum of P1,287.20 so they filed a claim against Home Insurance Inc.
  • March 7, 1956: Home Insurance Inc.  filed against contractor Delgado Brothers Inc.
  • Trial Court: dismissed the case in favor of Home based on its special defenses invoked in its answer
    • since no claim was filed within the 15-day period from the date of the arrival of the goods before they could file a suit in the court of proper jurisdiction within 1 year from the date of said arrival at the Port of Manila, it is completely relieved and released of any and all liability for loss or damage under the law and in accordance with the pertinent provisions of the management Contract with the Bureau of Customs, covering the operation of the Arrastre Service for the Port of Manila; and that petitioner in no way acts as an agent of the carrying vessel or of the importer or consignee
  • CA: reversed because of lack of jurisdiction it being a maritime contract should be handled by the Municipal Court
ISSUE: W/N the case has prescribed according to maritime law (arrastre being a maritime case)

  • In case of controversy involving both maritime and nonmaritime subject matter, where the principal matter involved belongs to the jurisdiction of a court of common law or of equity, admiralty will not take cognizance of incidental maritime matters connected therewith but will relegate the whole controversy to the appropriate tribunal
  • Both as to the nature of the functions and the place of their performance (upon wharves and piers shipside), Brother's services are clearly not maritime but arrastre services
    • they are no different from those of a depositary or warehouseman
  • To give admiralty jurisdiction over a contract as maritime, such contract must relate to the trade and business of the sea; it must be essentially and fully maritime in its character; it must provide for maritime services, maritime transactions, or maritime casualties. 
  • Delgado Brothers, Inc. has nothing to do with the loading or unloading of cargoes to and from the ships. Its operation on and its responsibility for the merchandise and goods begins from the time they are placed upon the wharves or piers or delivered along sides of ships
  • Court of First Instance of Manila has jurisdiction in cases where suit is brought directly against the carrier or shipowner.
    Respondent cannot invoke the rule against multiplicity of suits, for the simple reason that said rule has to be subservient to the superior requirement that the court must have jurisdiction