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CUSTODIO V CA

DOCTRINE
The mere fact that the plaintiff suffered losses does not give rise to a right to recover damages.
To warrant the recovery of damages, there must be both a right of action for a legal wrong
inflicted by the defendant, and damage resulting to the plaintiff therefrom. Wrong without
damage, or damage without wrong, does not constitute a cause of action, since damages are
merely part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong.

Damnum absque injuria – There is a material distinction between damages and injury. Injury is
the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss, hurt, or harm which results from the injury;
and damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus,
there can be damage without injury in those instances in which the loss or harm was not the
result of a violation of a legal duty. These situations are often called damnum absque injuria.

Article 21 – Article 21 of the New Civil Code provides the basis for the principle of abuse of rights.
For there to be an abuse of rights, the following requisites must concur: (1) defendant acted in a
manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy; (2) The acts should be willful and; (3)
There was damage or injury to the plaintiff.

FACTS:
Private Respondent Mabasa wanted to establish an easement of right of way going into their
property against petitioners who built an adobe wall in their properties which thereby restricted
access to the Mabasa property. Petitioners claim that they built the wall in order to protect their
persons and their property from their intrusive neighbors. The Trial Court nonetheless ordered
that an easement be created.

Not satisfied, Mabasa went to the Court of Appeals which modified the decision of the trial court
by awarding actual damages (p65,000.00), moral damages (p30,000.00) and exemplary damages
(p10,000.00). Hence this petition. Damages were based on the fact of loss in the form of
unrealized rentals on the property due to the adobe wall restricting access.

ISSUE: WON the CA erred in awarding damages.


HELD:
Yes. The Court of Appeals erred, the award for damages has no legal basis. The mere fact of loss
does not give rise to a right to recover damages. There must be both a right of action for a legal
wrong inflicted by defendant and a damage to the plaintiff resulting therefrom. Damages are
merely a part of the remedy allowed for the injury caused by a breach or wrong.

An injury is an illegal invasion of a legal right, any loss, hurt and harm resulting from the injury is
damage. Damages are the recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. In
this case, the petitioners merely constructed an adobe wall which was in keeping with and is a
valid exercise of their rights as the owner of their respective properties—i.e. there was no abuse
of right as provided for in Article 21 of the New Civil Code and where the following requisites
must concur: (1) defendant acted in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy;
(2) The acts should be willful and; (3) There was damage or injury to the plaintiff. None of these
requisites was present in this case.

The loss was therefore not a result of a violation of a legal duty. Instances where the damage was
not a result of an injury is called damnum absque injuria and the plaintiff is not normally given
an award for damages.

In other words, in order that the law will give redress for an act causing damage, that act must
be not only hurtful, but wrongful. There must be damnum et injuria.

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