Consignee Castillo refused to take delivery of the goods on account of its failure to arrive on time, and filed an action for rescission of contract with damages against Markers Line and Eli Lilly alleging gross negligence and undue delay. Denying that it committed breach of contract, petitioner alleged in its answer that the subject shipment was transported in accordance with the provisions of the NC covering bill of lading and that its liability under the law on transportation of good attaches only in case of loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods as provided for in Article 1734 of Civil Code.
For its part, Eli Lilly in its cross claim argued that the delay was due solely to the negligence of Markers Line. The Trial Court dismissed the complaint against Eli Lilly and the latter withdrew cross claim but ETC still held Markers liable and CA affirmed with modifications. ISSUES: 1 . WIN a cause of action exists against Markers Line given that there was a dismissal of the complaint against Eli Lilly? Yes, but not under the cross claim rather because Markers was an original party. 2.
WIN Castillo is entitled to damages resulting from delay in the delivery of the shipment? Yes. Markers Line vs.. Court of Appeals Case Digest By Monomaniacal and petitioner as carrier. Petitioner Markers Line being an original party defendant upon whom the delayed shipment is imputed cannot claim that the dismissal of the complaint against Eli Lilly inured to its benefit. It is not disputed that the foretasted provision at the back of the bill of lading, in fine print, is a contract of adhesion.
Generally, contracts of adhesion are considered void since almost all the provisions of these types of contracts are prepared and drafted only by one party, usually the carrier. The only participation left of the other arty in such a contract is the affixing of his signature thereto, hence the term “Adhesion”. Nonetheless, settled is the rule that bills of lading are contracts not entirely prohibited. One who adheres to the contract is in reality free to reject it in its entirety; if he adheres, he gives his consent (Magellan Manufacturing Marketing Corporation v.
Court of Appeals, et al. , 201 SACRA 102 ). In Magellan, (supra), we ruled: “It is a long standing Jurisprudential rule that a bill of lading operates both as a receipt and as contract to transport and deliver the same a therein stipulated. As a contract, it names the parties, which includes the consignee, fixes the route, destination, and freight rates or charges, and stipulates the rights and obligations assumed by the parties.
Being a contract, it is the law between the parties who are bound by its terms and conditions provided that these are not contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order and public policy. A bill of lading usually becomes effective upon its delivery to and acceptance by the shipper. It is presumed that the stipulations of the bill were, in the absence of fraud, concealment or improper induct, known to the shipper, and he is generally bound by his acceptance whether he reads the bill or not. However, the foretasted ruling applies only if such contracts will not create an absurd situation as in the case at bar.
The questioned provision in the subject bill of lading has the effect of practically leaving the date of arrival of the subject shipment on the sole determination and will of the carrier. Petitioner contends as well that it cannot be held liable because there was no special contract under which the carrier undertook to deliver the shipment on or before a pacific date and that the Bill of Lading provides that “The Carrier does not undertake that the Goods shall arrive at port of discharge or the place of delivery at any particular time… “.
While it is true that common carriers are not obligated by law to carry and to deliver merchandise, and persons are not vested with the right to prompt delivery, unless such common carriers previously assume the obligation to deliver at a given date or time, delivery of shipment or cargo should at least be made within a reasonable time. While there was no special contract entered into by the parties indicating the date of arrival of the subject shipment, petitioner nevertheless, was very well aware of the specific date when the goods were expected to arrive as indicated in the bill of lading itself.
In this regard, there arises no need to execute another contract for the purpose as it would be a mere superfluity. In the case before us, we find that a delay in the beyond the realm of reasonableness. This Court held Markers Line liable for delay in the delivery of goods. An examination of the subject bill of lading that the subject shipment was estimated to arrive in Manila on April 3, 1977.
While there was no special contract entered into by the parties indicating the date of arrival, petitioner nevertheless, was very well aware of the specific date when the goods expected to arrives as indicated in the bill lading. There was delay in the delivery of the goods, spanning a period of 2 months and 7 days falls way beyond the realm of reasonableness. Petitioner never even bothered to explain the cause for delay of more than 2 months in the delivery of the goods. Therefore, Markers Line is liable for breach of contract carriage amounting to bad faith.