PSIC Vs CA (172 SCRA 810)

Philippine International Shipping Corporation vs Court of Appeals
172 SCRA 810 [Gr no. 77085 April 26, 1989]

Facts: Plaintiff [respondent Interpool, Ltd.] is a foreign corporation, duly organized and existing under the laws of Bahamas Islands with office and business address at 630, 3rd Avenue, New York, New York, and not licensed to do, and not doing business, in the Philippines. Defendants Philippine International Shipping Corporation, Philippine Construction Consortium Corporation, Pacific Mills Inc., and Universal Steel Smelting Company, Inc., are corporations duly organized and existing under and by virtue of the laws of the Philippines. The other defendants, George Lim Marcos Bautista, Carlos Laude, Tan Sing Lim, Antonio Liu Lao and Ong Teh are Philippine residents. In 1979 to 1981, the defendant, Philippine International Shipping Corporation (PISC) leased from the plaintiff and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Container Trading Corporation, several containers pursuant to the Membership Agreement and Hiring Conditions and the Master Equipment Leasing Agreement both dated June 8, 1979. Defendants Philippine Construction Consortium Corporation, Pacific Mills Inc. and Universal Steel Smelting Company, guaranteed to pay (sic) all monies due, or to become due, to the plaintiff from (PISC) and any liability of the latter arising out of the leasing or purchasing of equipment from the plaintiff or any of its subsidiaries, affiliates and/or agents of I.S.C. dry cargo containers and/or chassis, including but not limited, to per diem leasing charges, damages protection plan charges, damages charge and/or replacement costs of constructively and/or totally lost containers as well as handling and drop-off charges. Because of the unjustifiable failure and refusal of PISC and its guarantors to jointly and severally pay their obligations to the plaintiff, the latter filed on November 16, 1983 a complaint to enforce the default judgment of the U.S. District Court against the defendant PISC and also to enforce the individually executed Continuing Guaranties of the other defendants. The defendants were duly summoned, but they failed to answer the complaint. On motion of the plaintiff, they were declared in default and the plaintiff was allowed to present its evidence ex parte.

Issue: Whether or not the foreign court acquired jurisdiction over the case.

Held: Yes. The evidence of record clearly shows that the U.S. District Court had validly acquired jurisdiction over petitioner (PISC) under the procedural law applicable in that forum i.e., the U.S. Federal Rules on Civil Procedure. Copies of the Summons and Complaint 16 in 83 Civil 290 (EW) which were in fact attached to the Petition for Review filed with this Court, were stamped “Received, 18 Jan 1983, PISC Manila.” indicating that service thereof had been made upon and acknowledged by the (PISC) office in Manila on, 18 January 1983, and that (PISC) had actual notice of such Complaint and Summons. Moreover, copies of said Summons and Complaint had likewise been served upon Prentice-Hall Corporation System, Inc. (New York), petitioner PISCs agent, expressly designated by it in the Master Equipment Leasing Agreement with respondent Interpool. “for the purpose of accepting service of any process within the State of New York, USA with respect to any claim or controversy arising out of or relating to directly or indirectly, this Lease.” The record also shows that petitioner PISC, without, however, assailing the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court over the person of petitioner, had filed a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint in 83 Civil 290 (EW) which Motion was denied. All of the foregoing matters, which were stated specifically in the U.S. District Court’s disputed Default Judgement, have not been disproven or otherwise overcome by petitioners, whose bare and unsubstantiated allegations cannot prevail over clear and convincing evidence of record to the contrary.

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