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ARANETA V BANK OF AMERICA

G.R. No. L-25414; July 30, 1971; Makalintal, J.


FACTS
1. [June 30, 1961] Araneta issued a check for $500 payable to cash and drawn against
Bank of America (BOA).
a. At the time he had a credit balance of $532.81 in his account. However when the
check was received by the bank on September 8, 1961,it was dishonored and
stamped Account Closed.
b. Upon inquiry by Araneta, BOA admitted that it was an error, and sent an apology to
the payee of said check Harry Gregory of Hongkong.
2. [May 25 and 31, 1962] Araneta issued check 110 for $500 and check 111 for $150
both payable to cash, both drawn against BOA.
a. Despite the sufficiency of Aranetas funds, both checks were also dishonored and
stamped Account Closed.
3. Araneta thus sent a letter to BOA demanding damages in the sum of $20,000. The
bank, while admitting responsibility offered to pay only P2,000.
4. [December 11, 1962] Araneta filed a complaint against bank of America for P120,000:
a. Actual or compensatory Damages P30,000
b. Moral damages P20,000
c. Temperate damages P50,000
d. Exemplary Damages P10,000
e. Attys fees P10,000
5. TC awarded all items prayed for, but CA eliminated the award of compensatory and
temperate damages and reduce moral damages to P8,000, exemplary damages to
P1,000 and attys fees to P1,000.
ISSUES
W/N Temperate damages can be awarded without proof of actual pecuniary
loss? YES
In rejecting the claim for temperate damages, the CA referred specifically to Aranetas
failure to prove the existence of a supposed contract for him to buy jewels at a
profit, in connection with which he issued the two checks which were dishonored.
o This may be true with particular reference to the alleged loss in that particular
transaction. But it does not detract from the finding of the same court that actual
damages have been suffered:
The adverse reflection against the credit of Araneta with said banks was not
cured nor explained by the letter of apology to Mr. Gregory.
the incident obviously affectd the credit of Araneta with Miss Saldana (the
payee of Check 110).
o The financial credit of a businessman is a prized and valuable asset, it being a
significant part of the foundation of his business.
o And it can hardly be possible that a customers check can be wrongfully
refused payment without some impeachment of his credit, which must in
fact be an actual injury, though he cannot [] furnish distinct proof
thereof.
o The code commission in explaining Temperate damages under Art 2224 comments
that temperate damages apply in cases where definite proof of pecuniary
loss cannot be offered, although the court is convinced that there is such
loss.
As found by the CA, Araneta is a merchant of long standing and good reputation in the
Philippines. His claim for temperate damages is justified.

W/N the claim for a higher award of Moral damages should have been granted? NO
It is true that under Article 2217 (NCC) besmirched reputation is a ground upon
which moral damages can be claimed. But the CA did take this emlement into
consideration when adjudging the sum of P8,000 in his favor.

Held
Judgment modified. Temparate damage is increased to P5,000, attys fees increased to
P4,000