Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wassmer V. Velez case brief summary

Wassmer V. Velez

Francisco Velez and Beatriz, following their promise to love, decided to get married. Two days before their marriage Francisco wrote Beatriz telling her that their marriage had to be postponed as his mother opposes it. A day before his marriage he sent a telegram informing her “nothing changed rest assured returning soon”. Francisco was never heard from again. Beatriz sued for damages for breach of promise to marry.

Is breach of promise to marry an actionable wrong?

The extent to which acts not contrary to law may be perpetrated with impunity, is not limitless for Article 21 of the Civil Code provides that “any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damages.

This is not a case of mere breach to marry. As stated, mere breach of promise to marry is not an actionable wrong. But to formally set a wedding and go through all the preparation and publicity, only to walk out of it when the matrimony is about to be solemnized, is quite different. This is palpably and unjustifiably contrary to good customs for which defendant must be held answerable in damages in accordance with Article 21 of the Civil Code.

When a breach to marry is actionable under Article 21 of the Civil Code, moral damages may be awarded under Article 2219(10) of the said Code. Exemplary damages may also be awarded under Article 2232 of said Code where it is proven that the defendant clearly acted in a wanton, reckless and oppressive manner.

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