ST. LOUIS REALTY VS. CA

Posted: April 12, 2017 in case digests, civil law, torts, Uncategorized
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ST. LOUIS REALTY VS. CA

G.R. No. L-46061 November 14, 1984

FACTS:

            St. Louis Realty caused to be published with the permission of Arcadio S. Arcadio (but without permission of Doctor Aramil) in the issue of the Sunday Times (1968 & 1969)  an advertisement with the heading “WHERE THE HEART IS”. Below that heading was the photograph of the residence of Doctor Aramil and implying that it belonged to Arcadio. Doctor Aramil a neuropsychiatrist and a member of the faculty of the U. E. Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Hospital, noticed the mistake and sent a letter of protest to petitioner. The letter was received by Ernesto Magtoto, an officer of St. Louis Realty in charge of advertising. He stopped publication of the advertisement. He contacted Doctor Aramil and offered his apologies. However, no rectification or apology was published.

Aramil’s counsel demanded from St. Louis Realty actual, moral and exemplary damages of P110,000. In its answer St. Louis Realty claimed that there was an honest mistake and that if Aramil so desired, rectification would be published in the Manila Times. It published in the issue of the Manila Times of March 18, 1969 a new advertisement with the Arcadio family and their real house. But it did not publish any apology to Doctor Aramil and an explanation of the error.

Thus,  Aramil filed his complaint for damages. Petitioner argues that the case is not covered by article 26 which provides that “every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons”. “Prying into the privacy of another’s residence” and “meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another” and “similar acts“, “though they may not constitute a criminal offense, shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention and other relief”.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner is liable for damages

HELD:

The damages fixed by Judge Leuterio are sanctioned by Articles 2200, 2208 and 2219 of the Civil Code. Article 2219 allows moral damages for acts and actions mentioned in Article 26. As lengthily explained by Justice Gatmaitan, the acts and omissions of the firm fan under Article 26.

St. Louis Realty’s employee was grossly negligent in mixing up the Aramil and Arcadio residences in a widely circulated publication like the Sunday Times. To suit its purpose, it never made any written apology and explanation of the mix-up. It just contented itself with a cavalier “rectification “.

Persons, who know the residence of Doctor Aramil, were confused by the distorted, lingering impression that he was renting his residence from Arcadio or that Arcadio had leased it from him. Either way, his private life was mistakenly and unnecessarily exposed. He suffered diminution of income and mental anguish.

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