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Demurrer to Evidence in Civil Cases

Civil Procedure Demurrer to Evidence


Section 1.  Demurrer to evidence. — After the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence, the defendant may move for dismissal on the ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If his motion is denied he shall have the right to present evidence. If the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence. (Rule 33, Rules of Court)

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● What is a demurrer to evidence?
● What is the ground for demurrer to evidence in civil case?
● When can a demurrer to evidence be filed?
● Is leave of court necessary to file a demurrer to evidence in civil cases?
● What is the implication of the denial of the demurrer to evidence?
● What is the remedy of the defendant in case of denial?
● If the demurrer is denied, can the defendant file a motion for reconsideration?
● If the motion for reconsideration is denied, can defendant appeal the denial of the demurrer?
● Can he file a petition for certiorari?
● What is the implication of the grant of the demurrer to evidence?
● What is the effect of the grant? What then is the remedy of the plaintiff?
● If the appellate court reversed the order of dismissal, what is the implication of such reversal?
●What is the effect of the reversal order of dismissal on the right of defendant to present his evidence?
● In a civil case, can a court motu proprio render a demurrer to evidence?
● What is the difference between demurrer to evidence and motion to dismiss?
● What is the difference between demurrer in civil and criminal cases?


What is a demurrer to evidence?

●A demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence and is presented after plaintiff rests his case.

●It is defined as "an objection or exception by one of the parties in an action at law, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law (whether true or not) to make out his case or sustain the issue." The demurrer challenges the sufficiency of the plaintiff’s evidence to sustain a verdict. In passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence raised in a demurrer, the court is merely required to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient proof to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of guilt.  (Heirs of Pedro Pasag, et al. vs. Sps. Parocha, G.R. No. 155483, April 27, 2007


What is the ground for demurrer to evidence in civil case?

The only ground for demurrer to evidence is that the plaintiff has shown no right to relief.


When can a demurrer to evidence be filed?

It can be filed after plaintiff completed the presentation of his evidence. This is exactly after the court ruled on the plaintiff's formal offer of evidence. (See Cabador vs People, G.R. No. 186001, October 2, 2009)


Is leave of court necessary to file a demurrer to evidence in civil cases?

In civil cases, there's no need for leave of court. 


What is the implication of the denial of the demurrer to evidence? What is the remedy of the defendant in case of denial?

From the point of view of the court, the evidence of plaintiff is sufficient prima facie to support his case. Hence, the remedy of the defendant is to present his evidence. The court should set the date for the reception of the defendant’s evidence-in-chief (Northwest Airlines vs. CA, G.R. No. 120334. January 20, 1998)


If the demurrer is denied, can the defendant file a motion for reconsideration?

Yes.

If the motion for reconsideration is denied, can defendant appeal the denial of the demurrer? Can he file a petition for certiorari?

An order denying a demurrer to evidence is interlocutory and is therefore, not appealable. It can however be the subject of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 in case of grave abuse of discretion or an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.


What is the implication of the grant of the demurrer to evidence? What is the effect of the grant? What then is the remedy of the plaintiff?

The grant of the demurrer to evidence is a pronouncement by the court that the evidence of plaintiff is not sufficient to prove his case. Hence, the case is dismissed. The remedy of plaintiff is to appeal the order of dismissal.


If plaintiff appealed and the appellate court reversed the order of dismissal, what is the implication of such reversal?

The implication is that the evidence of plaintiff is sufficient to prove his case. So, the order of dismissal is set aside.

What is the effect of the reversal order of dismissal on the right of defendant to present his evidence?

Defendant cannot present his evidence, because by electing to file a demurrer to evidence, he, in effect, submitted the case for decision solely on the basis of the evidence of the plaintiff.

In the case of reversal, the appellate court shall resolve the case and render judgment on the merits based on the available evidence.

It is not correct for the appellate court reversing the order granting the demurrer to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. The appellate court should, instead of remanding the case, render judgment on the basis of the evidence submitted by the plaintiff (Radiowealth Finance Corp. vs. Del Rosario, G.R. No. 138739. July 6, 2000).


In a civil case, can a court render a demurrer to evidence motu proprio?

No.


Demurrer to evidence vs. motion to dismiss


1. WHEN TO FILE. A motion to dismiss is filed before a responsive pleading is made by the defendant. A demurrer to evidence is filed after plaintiff has rested its case.

2. GROUNDS. Motion to dismiss is grounded on preliminary objections enumerated under Rule 16. Demurrer to evidence is based on insufficiency of evidence.


Demurrer to evidence in civil vs. criminal cases 


1. LEAVE OF COURT. In a civil case, leave of court is not required before filing a demurrer. In a criminal case, leave of court may be filed with or without leave of court.

2. EFFECT IF GRANTED. In a civil case, if the demurrer is granted  the order of dismissal is appealable.  In a criminal case, if the demurrer is granted, the order of dismissal is not appealable because it will constitute double jeopardy.

3. EFFECT IF DENIED. In a civil case, if a demurrer is denied, the defendant may proceed to present his evidence. In a criminal case, if the demurrer is denied, the accused may adduce his evidence only if the demurrer is field with leave of court.

4. MOTU PROPRIO. In a civil case, the court cannot render a demurrer to evidence motu proprio. In a criminal case, the court can render a demurrer to evidence on  its  own  initiative  after  giving the prosecution the opportunity to be heard.


Cases:


● The provision of the Rules governing demurrer to evidence does not apply to an election case (Gementiza vs. COMELEC, 353 SCRA 724).

 

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