Makati RTC sides with Frank Chavez vs ‘The Firm’
The Regional Trial Court of Makati has granted lawyer Frank Chavez’s bid to have a damage suit filed against him by the “The Firm” dismissed.
The Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco law office is better known as “The Firm,” so named after a popular John Grisham legal thriller.
In granting his motion to dismiss, Judge Elmo M. Alameda of Branch 150 charged the law firm with “forum shopping,” saying the 10 libel cases it had filed against Chavez could have been brought as a collective suit considering that all the partners were supposedly acting for and on behalf of the law firm.
The court said in its order dated March 30 that the filing of multiple petitions “constitute abuse of court processes, which tends to degrade the administration of justice, wreak havoc upon orderly judicial procedure, and add to the congestion of the heavily burdened dockets of the courts.”
The court pointed out that “The Firm” also failed to implead in its complaint the author, editor and publisher of the newspaper in which the supposed libelous article was published, as well as the interviewer, anchor and television and radio networks which caused the broadcast of the subject interviews.
The court sustained Chavez’s argument that the civil action cannot qualify as an independent civil action because the very rule on independent civil actions bars the plaintiff from recovering damages twice or several times for the same act or omission charged in the criminal action.
The court also questioned the authority of the law firm’s supposed representative who also verified the complaint.