Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fortune v CA G.R. No. 115278 May 23, 1995

J. Davide Jr.

Producers Bank’s money was stolen while it was being transported from Pasay to Makati. The people guarding the money were charged with the theft. The bank filed a claim for the amount of Php 725,000, and such was refused by the insurance corporation due to the stipulation:
The company shall not be liable under this policy in report of
(b) any loss caused by any dishonest, fraudulent or criminal act of the insured or any officer, employee, partner, director, trustee or authorized representative of the Insured whether acting alone or in conjunction with others. . . .
In the trial court, the bank claimed that the suspects were not any of the above mentioned. They won the case. The appellate court affirmed on the basis that the bank had no power to hire or dismiss the guard and could only ask for replacements from the security agency.

Issue: Did the guards fall under the general exceptions clause of the insurance policy and thus absolved the insurance company from liability?

Held: Yes to both. Petition granted.

The insurance agency contended that the guards automatically became the authorized representatives of the bank when they cited   International Timber Corp. vs. NLRC where a contractor is a "labor-only" contractor in the sense that there is an employer-employee relationship between the owner of the project and the employees of the "labor-only" contractor.
They cited Art. 106. Of the Labor Code which said:
 Contractor or subcontractor. — There is "labor-only" contracting where the person supplying workers to an employer does not have substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipment, machineries, work premises, among others, and the workers recruited and placed by such persons are performing activities which are directly related to the principal business of such employer. In such cases, the person or intermediary shall be considered merely as an agent of the employer who shall be responsible to the workers in the same manner and extent as if the latter were directly employed by him.
The bank asserted that the guards were not its employees since it had nothing to do with their selection and engagement, the payment of their wages, their dismissal, and the control of their conduct.
They cited a case where an employee-employer relationship was governed by (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the employee's conduct.
The case was governed by Article 174 of the Insurance Code where it stated that casualty insurance awarded an amount to loss cause by accident or mishap.
“The term "employee," should be read as a person who qualifies as such as generally and universally understood, or jurisprudentially established in the light of the four standards in the determination of the employer-employee relationship, or as statutorily declared even in a limited sense as in the case of Article 106 of the Labor Code which considers the employees under a "labor-only" contract as employees of the party employing them and not of the party who supplied them to the employer.”
But even if the contracts were not labor-only, the bank entrusted the suspects with the duty to safely transfer the money to its head office, thus, they were representatives. According to the court, “a ‘representative’ is defined as one who represents or stands in the place of another; one who represents others or another in a special capacity, as an agent, and is interchangeable with ‘agent.’”  

No comments:

Post a Comment