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Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012

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I.Quasi-delict Syllabus-based Jannotes: (Note: The first part will contain the notes and what is personally conceived as important points. The latter part of this section will contain the case briefs of the cases which is a brew of the actual wordings in the decision but, for the most part, personally worded to simplify. Be advised that this will only come handy in desperate times. Reading the full text is still the best. Enjoy!) Part I. Torts I. a. Quasi-delict (Articles 2176-2194, NCC) Introductory Concepts

a.1. Nature, scope and coverage Article 2176, NCC Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. Elcano vs. Hill, 77 SCRA 98 ( See On nature, scope and coverage- cases)

The dual character, criminal and civil, of fault or negligence as a source of obligation was firmly established in this jurisdiction in Barredo vs. Garcia. Thus, in this jurisdiction, the separate individuality of a cuasi-delito or culpa aquiliana, under the Civil Code has been fully and clearly recognized, even with regard to a negligent act for which the wrongdoer could have been prosecuted and convicted in a criminal case and for which, after such a conviction, he could have been sued for this civil liability arising from his crime. Gashem Shookat Baksh vs. Court of Appeals, et. al., GR No. 97336, February 19, 1993 Quasi-delict, known in Spanish legal treatises as culpa aquiliana, is a civil law concept while torts is an AngloAmerican or common law concept. Torts is much broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence, but international criminal acts as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the general scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts or omissions are to be covered by Article 2176 of the Civil Code. In between these opposite spectrums are injurious acts which, in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated that together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on civil wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. Article 21 is designed to expand the concept of torts or quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books. Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. vs. CA and Ms. Lydia Geronimo

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Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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Case Brief: (See Janny Case Brief. Coca Cola Bottlers Phils. vs CA) While it may be true that the pre-existing contract between the parties may, as a general rule, bar the applicability of the law on quasi-delict, the liability may itself be deemed to arise from quasi-delict, i.e., the acts which breaks the contract may also be a quasi-delict. Quasi-delict may still exist despite the presence of contractual relations. Quasi-delict, as defined in Article 2176 of the Civil Code, (which is known in Spanish legal treaties as culpa aquiliana, culpa extra-contractual or cuasi-delitos) is homologous but not identical to tort under the common law, which includes not only negligence, but also intentional criminal acts, such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. Navida, et.al vs Dizon, et. al, GR No. 125078, May 30, 2011

Allegations in the Amended Joint-Complaints attribute to defendant companies certain acts and/or omissions which led to their exposure to DBCP which caused ill effects, injuries and illnesses, specifically to their reproductive system. The allegations in the complaints constitute the cause of action of plaintiff claimants a quasi-delict, which under the Civil Code is defined as an a ct, or omission which causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence. As specifically enumerated in the amended complaints, the acts and/or omissions of the defendant companies in manufacturing, producing, selling, using, and/or otherwise putting into the stream of commerce, nematocides which contain DBCP, "without informing the users of its hazardous effects on health and/or without instructions on its proper use and application." Case referred to by the SC: Citibank, N.A. v. Court of Appeals on the discussion on jurisdiction of the court on the subject matter - determined by the allegations of the complaint , irrespective of whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. Clearly then, the acts and/or omissions attributed to the defendant companies constitute a quasi-delict which is the basis for the claim for damages filed by NAVIDA, et al., and ABELLA, et al., with individual claims of approximatelyP2.7 million for each plaintiff claimant, which obviously falls within the purview of the civil action jurisdiction of the RTCs. a.2. Requisites Article 2176, NCC (see above) Child Learning vs. Tagorio, GR no. 150920, November 25, 2005

In every tort case filed under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the damages suffered by the plaintiff

(3) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred.

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(2) the fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he must respond

Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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Fault - signifies a voluntary act or omission which causes damage to the right of another giving rise to an obligation on the part of the actor to repair such damage. Negligence - the failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another person that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand. Fault requires the execution of a positive act which causes damage to another while negligence consists of the omission to do acts which result in damage to another. Proximate cause - injuries sustained were the product of a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any intervening cause, that originated from CLCs own negligence. Doctrine of res ipsa loquitor applies where: (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an inference that it would not have happened except for the defendants negligence (2) the accident must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive management or control of the person charged with the negligence complained of (3) the accident must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured. Janny Case Briefs: 1. CAPTION:77 SCRA 98

NAME: Elcano vs Hill COURT: Supreme Court of the Philippines DATE: (1977, May 26) TYPE OF ACTION: complaint for recovery of damages

FACTS: Reginald Hill, the appellee-defendant killed Agapito Elcano, the child of appellants-plaintiffs Pedro and Patricia Elcano. Atty. Marvin Hill, father of defendant is also impleaded for vicarious liability for his son, minor and married at the time of incident but living with and getting subsistence from him. PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Court of First Instance of Quezon City dismissed the complaint on defendants MR, thus, this appeal. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES: PLAINTIFF: (Trial court erred in dismissing the present complaint because it is not barred by res judicata. The civil action instituted is of separate and distinct character from the criminal action previously decided) DEFENDANT: Atty. Marvin Hill contends he is free from liability because his son is already emancipated by marriage. Defendants ratiocinated that this present action is barred by res judicata, as Reginald was acquitted on a previous criminal prosecution for lack of intent to kill and coupled with mistake.

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Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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ISSUE: 1. Whether or not present civil action is barred by res judicata from previous acquittal in the criminal case.

(Is the present civil action for damages barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case wherein the action for civil liability, was not reversed?) 2. Can Atty. Marvin Hill be held vicariously liable for his sons action?

(May Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code he applied against Atty. Hill, notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of. Reginald, though a minor, living with and getting subsistence from his father, was already legally married?) HOLDING: 1. No; 2. Yes RULE: No, the civil action is not barred by the previous acquittal in the criminal prosecution; Yes, Atty. Marvin Hill is still vicariously liable for his sons action pursuant to the application of Article 2180. RATIONALE: 1. Fault or negligence, as a source of obligation, has a dual character criminal and civil. To find one guilty in a criminal case, the proof should be that of guilt beyond reasonable doubt while a civil action requires only preponderance of guilt. The concept of culpa aquiliana includes acts which are criminal in character or those in violation of penal laws. In Article 2177, acquittal from an accusation of criminal negligence, whether on reasonable doubt or not, shall not be a bar to a subsequent civil action, not for civil liability arising from criminal negligence, but for damages due to a quasi-delict or 'culpa aquiliana'. But said article forestalls a double recovery.

NOTE: Based upon the Court's analysis in this case, using the literal meaning of the law would smother and render almost lifeless a principle of such ancient origin and such full-grown development as culpa aquiliana orquasi-delito. The provision in article 2176 should apply NOT only to cases not punished by the law but also to those voluntary and negligent acts which MAY BE punishable by law. They considered the spirit of the law that giveths it law in the construing the provision, deemed to be more congruent to equality and justice. 2. Atty. Marvin Hill is still liable under Article 2180 because the emancipation by marriage is not absolute. It is a fact that his son, though minor and married, is still living with and receiving subsistence from him. Under Article 2180, "(T)he obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in their company.

NOTE: The reason behind the joint and solidary liability of presuncion with their offending child under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the parent to supervise their minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to third persons. Their emancipation does not include entering into transactions without parental consent or doing acts which would give rise to judicial litigation. (This Article 399 is no longer applicable now since age of majority is also the minimum age for marriage.)

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RESULT: Order appealed is reversed and court is ordered to proceed.

Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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2. CAPTION: GR No. 97336

NAME: Gashem Shookat Baksh vs. Court of Appeals and Marilou Gonzales COURT: Supreme Court of the Philippines DATE: (1993, February 19) TYPE OF ACTION: Petition for certiorari under Rule 45 ( assailing the decision on case for Complaint for recovery of damages) FACTS: Complainant Marilou Gonzales is a waitress who filed the case pursuant to Article 21 of the NCC against the herein petitioner Baksh, a 29-year-old Iranian studying Medicine in Dagupan City. The latter promised her marriage, asked her parents consent and forced her to live with him in his apartment. The womans parents started preparing for the marriage by contacting sponsors, inviting guests and buying pigs and chickens. However, he later on maltreated her and denounced his promise, claiming that he is already married to another girl in Bacolod City. PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the Lingayen, Pangasinan RTC in favor of Gonzales. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES: RESPONDENT-PLAINTIFF: The protestations of love and the machinations of Baksh is the reason why she assented to cohabit with the defendant. She was a virgin, a woman of morals and good reputation lured by the false promises. PETITIONER-DEFENDANT: He claimed that trial court erred because the action lacks factual and legal basis. He denied the marriage proposal, seeking the consent of the girls parents, forcing her to live with him, maltreatment and confrontation with the tanod sent by the barangay captain. He also contends that assuming arguendo such promise was made, mere breach of promise is not actionable. ISSUE: Whether or not damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. HOLDING: YES RULE: Yes, pursuant to Article 21, the breach of promise in this instance is actionable because it was attended with fraud, deceit, bad faith and machinations. RATIONALE: Article 21 which provides a remedy for the countless gaps in the statutes, which leave so many victims of moral wrongs helpless, even though they have actually suffered material and moral injury, applies to the instant case. The petitioner, from the very beginning, was not at all moved by good faith and an honest motive, acting in mockery of our sense of morality, customs and public policy.

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Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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NOTE: Breach of promise per se is not actionable. The award for damages is upheld not because of such promise to marry but because of the fraud and deceit behind it and the willful injury to her honor and reputation which followed thereafter. It is essential, however, that such injury should have been committed in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy. However, in the instant case, it can even be said that the petitioner committed such deplorable acts in blatant disregard of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his obligations. RESULT: The defendants petition is denied. 3. CAPTION: GR No. 110295

NAME: Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. vs. CA and Ms. Lydia Geronimo COURT: Supreme Court of the Philippines (First Division) DATE: (1993, October 18) TYPE OF ACTION: Petition assailing (CAs decision on the case for Complaint for recovery of damages) FACTS: The private respondent-complainant is a canteen owner who became jobless and destitute after her business closed due to plummeting sales triggered by foreign substances discovered in the petitioner-defendants products. PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Trial court granted the motion to dismiss by herein petitioner. The complainant filed a petition for certiorari with the SC, which was referred to the CA for determination. CA ruled in favor of complainant. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES: RESPONDENT-PLAINTIFF: She alleged that the complaint is one for damages which does not involve an administrative action and that her cause of action is based on an injury to plaintiff's right which can be brought within four years pursuant to Article 1146 of the Civil Code; hence, the complaint was seasonably filed. PETITIONER-DEFENDANT: Failure to exhaust administrative remedies and prescription. They contended that the action involves a breach of implied warranty (Article 1561, NCC) which should have been filed within 6 months from delivery of the thing sold (Art. 1571). The primary legal basis for private respondent's cause of action is not Article 2176 of the Civil Code on quasi-delict for the complaint does not ascribe any tortious or wrongful conduct on its part but Articles 1561 and 1562 thereof on breach of a seller's implied warranties under the law on sales. It contends the existence of a contractual relation between the parties (arising from the contract of sale) bars the application of the law on quasi-delicts. ISSUE: Whether or not the existence of a contract between the parties bars the recovery of damages based on quasidelict; Whether or not the action has prescribed as one for breach of warranty or seasonably instituted as one for quasi-delict.

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HOLDING: NO.

Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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RULE: No, the action is one for quasi-delict, and, thus, has not yet prescribed. RATIONALE: That the action is one for quasi-delict is sufficiently supported by the allegations in the complaint and prescribes in four years (especially par. 12 which reference to the reckless and negligent manufacture of "adulterated food items intended to be sold for public consumption). The vendor could likewise be liable for quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, and an action based thereon may be brought by the vendee. While it may be true that the pre-existing contract between the parties may, as a general rule, bar the applicability of the law on quasi-delict, the liability may itself be deemed to arise from quasi-delict, i.e., the acts which breaks the contract may also be a quasi-delict. Otherwise put, liability for quasi-delict may still exist despite the presence of contractual relations. Under American law, the liabilities of a manufacturer or seller of injury-causing products may be based on negligence, breach of warranty, tort, or other grounds such as fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Quasi-delict, as defined in Article 2176 of the Civil Code, (which is known in Spanish legal treaties as culpa aquiliana, culpa extracontractual or cuasi-delitos) is homologous but not identical to tort under the common law, which includes not only negligence, but also intentional criminal acts, such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. NOTE: The vendee's remedies against a vendor with respect to the warranties against hidden defects of or encumbrances upon the thing sold are not limited to those prescribed in Article 1567 (an option between withdrawal from contract or proportionate price reduction, with damages for either). Annulment of contract is also another option upon proof of error or fraud. Responsibility for fraud or negligence is demandable in any obligation, and those guilty are liable for damages. RESULT: The defendants petition is denied. 4. CAPTION: GR No. 125078

NAME: Navida, et.al vs. Dizon, et. al COURT: Supreme Court of the Philippines (First Division) DATE: (May 30, 2011) TYPE OF ACTION: Consolidated petitions for review on Certiorari under Rule 45 (root: Action for damages) FACTS: A group of persons from different countries filed a case to recover damages in the Texas District Court for injuries sustained (sterility and other adverse effects to the reproductive system) from their exposure to dibromochloropropane (DBCP), used in banana plantations where they are either working or living nearby to kill worms (nematodes). PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Conditional dismissal by Texas District Court on forum non conveniens, for resolution in home country. If dismissed by home country, Texas DC will resume jurisdiction. Two petitions assailing the order or dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction issued by the RTC of General Santos, and three other petitions are assailing an order of dismissal due to lack of jurisdiction issued by Davao City RTC. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES:

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Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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PETITIONER-PLAINTIFF: Action is anchored on quasi-delict (Art. 2176, NCC) which is broad enough to support their claims. Absence of previous jurisprudence on the matter is not an evidentiary barrier and the cause of action took place in the Philippines. RESPONDENT-DEFENDANT: Public defendant dismissed on the ground of lack of jurisdiction as there allegedly is no statute or provision in the Philippine legal system to support their action, specifically product liability tort. Causes of action purportedly occurred abroad. Private defendant companies also assail the dismissal claiming that action is quasi-delict. Philippines is the situs of the alleged tortious acts and the court has acquired jurisdiction by their voluntary appearance and seeking affirmative reliefs through representatives. 2.7 M claimed as damages for each plaintiff is within the jurisdiction of the RTC. If there has been no cause of action, it should have been dismissed on that ground. If Article 2176 cannot support the action, Article 9 of the NCC provides that a judge may not refuse to render a decision on a case on the basis of insufficiency of law. In such case, he should take into consideration the customs of the place, or in the absence of such, the general principles of the law. (Note: Remarkably, the private defendant companies do not assail the jurisdiction of the RTC; they are on agreement with the plaintiffs on the issue of jurisdiction.) ISSUE: Whether or not the RTC (of General Santos and Davao City) has jurisdiction over the action. HOLDING: Yes RULE: Yes, the RTC (General Santos and Davao), unmistakably, has jurisdiction over the case as the cause of action has been sufficiently established based on the allegations in the complaint. RATIONALE: Jurisdiction is prescribed by law (BP 129, as amended by RA 7691) as determined from the allegations in the complaint and the character of relief sought. P2.7 M each sought to be recovered as damages by the plaintiffs falls under the jurisdiction of the RTC. Jurisdiction over the action is determined by the allegations in the complaint, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiffs are entitled to recover upon the claims asserted therein.The factual allegations in the Amended Joint-Complaint points to the Philippines as the situs of the tortious acts. Philippines is the convenient forum for these cases because the plaintiffs are all residents here, the specific areas where they were exposed are within our jurisdiction and the gathering of testimonial and documentary evidences from relatives and doctors will be easier. The RTC also validly acquired jurisdiction over the defendants due to their voluntary appearance. NOTE: Certainly, the cases below are not criminal cases where territoriality, or the situs of the act complained of, would be determinative of jurisdiction and venue for trial of cases. In personal civil actions, such as claims for payment of damages, the Rules of Court allow the action to be commenced and tried in the appropriate court, where any of the plaintiffs or defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant, where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff. RESULT: The petition is granted. The Orders of the RTC of Davao and General Santos dismissing the actions are reversed and the case is remanded to respective courts for further proceeding.

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CAPTION: GR No. 150920

Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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NAME: Child Learning Center, Inc and Spouses Edgardo and Sylvia Limon vs. Timothy Tagorio, assisted by his parents Basilio and Herminia Tagorio COURT: Supreme Court of the Philippines (First Division) DATE: (November 25, 2005) TYPE OF ACTION: petition for review on Certiorari under Rule 45 (root: Action based on Article 2176, damages) FACTS: Timothy, a grade IV student of the Marymount School operated by defendant-corporation got trapped in the boys comfort room because of the defective door knob. He opened the window to ask for help but fell down three (3) stories and incurred serious physical injuries. PROCEDURAL HISTORY: The Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the judgment of RTC Makati in favor of the plaintiffrespondents. CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES: RESPONDENT-PLAINTIFF: The defendant corporation has been negligent in failing to provide precautionary measures to avoid harm and injury to their students by not installing safety grills in the windows and in failing to ensure that the door knobs are working properly in the boys comfort room even after previous notifications of malfunction. PETITIONER-DEFENDANT: Alleged exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees, no direct evidence was presented that the door was defective on the date of the incident, the Building Code does not require them to install iron grills in the windows, and the proximate cause is the contributory negligence of Timothy. Spouses Limon alleged that, as board members, they should not be held personally liable because of the doctrine of corporate fiction should not be pierced without sufficient basis, albeit, they directly manage the school. ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner-defendant is liable for the alleged quasi-delict under Article 2176. HOLDING: YES RULE: Yes, the petitioner-defendant is liable. RATIONALE: All elements of a quasi-delict were sufficiently established. In every tort case filed under Article 2176 of the Civil Code, plaintiff has to prove by a preponderance of evidence: (1) the damages suffered by the plaintiff (2) the fault or negligence of the defendant or some other person for whose act he must respond

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(3) the connection of cause and effect between the fault or negligence and the damages incurred.

Syllabus-based Notes on Torts 2012


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There elements were proved sufficiently by the respondent-plaintiffs. Fault, in general, signifies a voluntary act or omission which causes damage to the right of another giving rise to an obligation on the part of the actor to repair such damage. Negligence is the failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another person that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand. Fault requires the execution of a positive act which causes damage to another while negligence consists of the omission to do acts which result in damage to another. The defense that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees is applicable only when the action is anchored on Article 2180, when they are held liable for the act of a person they have to respond to, e.g. an employee. However, this case is based on Article 2176 for its negligence in not ensuring that the doors are properly maintained. The injuries Timothy sustained from the fall were the product of a natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any intervening cause that originated from CLCs own negligence. Though the Building Code does not require the installation of safety grills, they should have anticipated that in case the regular exit (door) is defective, the child can easily reach the windows and may be in danger of falling down as had happened in the instant case. Direct evidence showing that the door was defective during the day of incident is not necessary under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitor. The doctrine of res ipsa loquitor applies where (1) the accident was of such character as to warrant an inference that it would not have happened except for the defendants negligence; (2) the accident must have been caused by an agency or instrumentality within the exclusive management or control of the person charged with the negligence complained of; and (3) the accident must not have been due to any voluntary action or contribution on the part of the person injured. NOTE: No sufficient cause was presented to warrant the piercing of the veil of corporate fiction in this case. The separate and distinct juridical personality of CLC was upheld and exempted the board members, Spouses Limon, from personal liability. RESULT: The petition is partly granted. The assailed order is modified to the extent of the Spouses Limons personal liability. The decision is affirmed in all other respects.

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