Perfecto Tabora bought from the Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Company a complete set of AmJur, plus a set of AmJur, General Index.
The contract provides that: “Title to and ownership of the books shall remain with the seller until the purchase price shall have been fully paid. Loss or damage to the books after delivery to the buyer shall be borne by the buyer.”
Tabora made a partial payment of P300.00, leaving a balance of P1,382.40. The books were delivered and received for by Tabora. On the same day, a fire broke out, burning down Tabora’s law office and library. Tabora immediately reported it to LCPC. The company replied and as a token of goodwill it sent to Tabora free of charge 4 Philippine Reports volumes.
As Tabora failed to pay the monthly installments agreed upon, LCPC filed an action to recover of the balance.
According to Tabora, title to and the ownership of the books shall remain with the seller until the purchase price shall have been fully paid, so LCPC should bear the loss. Even assuming that the ownership was transferred to Tabora, he should not answer for the loss due to force majeure.
Whether or not Tabora should bear the loss?
The general rule is that the loss of the object of the contract of sale is borne by the owner or in case of force majeure the one under obligation to deliver the object is exempt from liabilit. This is not applicable here as the contract provides that loss or damage after delivery shall be borne by the buyer.
The defense of force majeure also failed. The rule only holds true when the obligation consists in the delivery of a determinate thing and there is no stipulation holding him liable even in case of fortuitous event. This is not present in this case. The obligation is pecuniary in nature, and the obligor bound himself to assume the loss after the delivery.
Digest Credit: Mark Alfed Santillan