K.K. Shell Sekiyu Osaka Hatsubaisho and Fu Hing Oil Co., Ltd. vs. Court of Appeals.
G.R. Nos. 90306-07. July 30, 1990
Kumagai (Japanese Corporation) filed a complaint for the collection of a sum of money against Atlantic Venus (Panama Corporporation), the vessel MV Estella and Crestamonte Shipping Corporation (Philippine corporations). Atlantic is the owner of the MV Estella.
Crestamonte appointed N.S. Shipping Corporation (NSS; a japanese corporation), as its general agent in Japan which in turn appointed Kumagai as its local agent in Osaka. Kumagai supplied the MV Estella with supplies and services but despite repeated demands Crestamonte failed to pay the amounts due.
Fu Hing Oil Co., Ltd and K.K. Shell (foreign corporations not doing business in the Philippines), filed a motion to intervene, provided that upon request of NSS, it supplied marine diesel oil/fuel to the MV Estella and that despite previous demands, Crestamonte has failed to pay.
The trial court allowed the intervention of Fu Hing and K.K. Shell.
The Court of Appeals annulled the motion allowing the intervention, Fu Hing and K.K. Shell were not suppliers but sub-agents of NSS, hence they were bound by the Agency Agreement between Crestamonte and NSS, particularly, the choice of forum clause, disputes regarding this Agreement shall be subject exclusively to the jurisdiction of the District Courts of Japan.
Whether the doctrine of forum non conveniens would be a valid ground to cause the dismissal of K.K. Shell’s complaint-in-intervention.
There are still numerous material facts to be established in order to arrive at a conclusion as to the true nature of the relationship between Crestamonte and K.K. Shell and between NSS and K.K Shell. The best recourse would have been to allow the trial court to proceed with Civil Case No. 87-38930 and consider whatever defenses may be raised by private respondents after they have filed their answer and evidence to support their conflicting claims has been presented.
The choice-of-forum clause in the agreement (paragraph 12.0) has not been conclusively shown to be binding upon K.K. Shell, additional evidence would also still have to be presented to establish this defense, K.K. Shell cannot therefore, as of yet, be barred from instituting an action in the Philippines.
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