Remedial Law

Avelino Casupanan vs Mario Laroya

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G.R. No. 145391 – 436 Phil. 582 – 388 SCRA 28 – Remedial Law – Criminal Procedure – Responsive Pleading – Rule 111; Answer with Counterclaim not Allowed; Counterclaim must be filed separately

Avelino Casupanan and Mario Laroya were involved in a vehicular collision. In 1999, Laroya filed a criminal case (reckless imprudence) against Casupanan while Casupanan filed a civil case (torts case) against Laroya. The trial court dismissed Casupanan’s case on the ground of forum shopping. The trial court ruled that Casupanan’s claim for damages should have been raised as a counterclaim in the criminal case.

ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court is correct.

HELD: No. The filing of a separate civil case by an accused is not forum shopping. As ruled in Cabaero, an accused in a criminal case is allowed to file a separate civil case against his or her accuser. Such separate case is not forum shopping.

Under the law, an independent civil action which is separately filed does not constitute forum shopping as it is expressly allowed by law.

The SC also noted that in 2000, the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure became effective which effectively prohibited the filing of counterclaims in criminal cases. Hence, an accused seeking to recover civil damages from the private complainant will have to file a separate civil action.

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