(Question IX, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Newlyweds Sam and Sienna had contracted with Sangria Hotel for their wedding reception. The couple was so unhappy with the service, claiming, among other things, that there was an unreasonable delay in the service of dinner and that certain items promised were unavailable. The hotel claims that, while there was a delay in the service of the meals, the same was occasioned by the sudden increase of guests to 450 from the guaranteed expected number of 350, as stated in the Banquet and Meeting Services Contract. In the action for damages for breach of contract instituted by the couple, they claimed that the Banquet and Meeting Services Contract was a contract of adhesion since they only provided the number of guests and chose the menu. On the other hand, the hotel’s defense was that the proximate cause of the complainant’s injury was the unexpected increase in their guests, and this was what set the chain of events that resulted in the alleged inconveniences.
(a) Does the doctrine of proximate cause apply in this case? (2.5%)
(b) Was the Banquet and Meeting Services Contract a contract of adhesion? If yes, is the contract void? (2.5%)
(a) No. Answer
Under jurisprudence, the doctrine of proximate cause is applicable only in actions for quasi-delicts, not in actions involving breach of contract. The doctrine is a device for imputing liability to a person where there is no relation between him and another party. Rule
In the case at bar, Sangria Hotel’s defense raises the defense of proximate cause. However, the doctrine of proximate cause does not apply in actions involving breach of contract as the doctrine is applied only in quasi-delicts. Apply
Thus, the doctrine of proximate cause does not apply in this case. Conclusion
1) For the first question:
Under jurisprudence, a contract of adhesion is defined as one in which one of the parties imposes a ready-made form of contract, which the other party may accept or reject, but which the latter cannot modify. Rule
In the case at bar, the Banquet and Meeting Services Contract is a ready-made form of contract with its own terms and conditions which the newlyweds are unable to change but only accept or reject. They only provided for the number of guests and the menu, which only serve as the basis for costing and/or service that the Hotel will be providing. Apply
Thus, the Banquet and Meeting Services Contract is a contract of adhesion. Conclusion
2) For the second question:
No. Under jurisprudence, contracts of adhesion are not invalid per se. Contracts of adhesion, where one party imposes a ready-made form of contract on the other, are not entirely prohibited. The one who adheres to the contract is, in reality, free to reject it entirely; if he adheres, he gives his consent. Thus, the contract is valid.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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