KOU CO PING vs. LILY LIM G.R. No. 179160, August 23, 2012

Facts:
Lim filed a criminal case of estafa against Kou Co Ping regarding the undelivered bags of Cement. The RTC of Pasig acquitted Kou Co Ping for insufficiency of evidence. Lim appealed the case to CA. During the pendency of the appeal, Lim filed a civil action against Kou Co Ping in the RTC of Manila. Kou Co Ping filed a motion to dismiss the civil case in RTC Manila on the ground of lis pendens and forum shopping. RTC Manila dismissed the said motion. Kou Co Ping filed an appeal to the CA. Hence this case.

Issue:
Whether Lim commit forum shopping in filing the civil case for specific performance and damages during the pendency of her appeal on the civil aspect of the criminal case for estafa?

Held:
No, A single act or omission that causes damage to an offended party may give rise to two separate civil liabilities on the part of the offender (1) civil liability ex delicto, that is, civil liability arising from the criminal offense under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, and (2) independent civil liability, that is, civil liability that may be pursued independently of the criminal proceedings. The independent civil liability may be based on “an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony,” as provided in Article 31 of the Civil Code (such as for breach of contract or for tort). It may also be based on an act or omission that may constitute felony but, nevertheless, treated independently from the criminal action by specific provision of Article 33 of the Civil Code (“in cases of defamation, fraud and physical injuries”). Because of the distinct and independent nature of the two kinds of civil liabilities, jurisprudence holds that the offended party may pursue the two types of civil liabilities simultaneously or cumulatively, without offending the rules on forum shopping, litis pendentia, or res judicata.

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