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G.R. No.

L-10918

March 4, 1916

Trent

WILLIAM FRESSEL, ET AL. vs. MARIANO UY CHACO SONS & COMPANY


FACTS:

Defendant entered into a contract with E. Merritt, whereby the said Merritt undertook and
agreed with the defendant to build for the defendant a costly edifice in the city of Manila. It
was agreed that the defendant at any time, upon certain contingencies, before the
completion of said edifice could take possession of said edifice in the course of construction
and of all the materials in and about said premises acquired by Merritt for the construction.

August, the plaintiffs delivered to Merritt at the said edifice materials of the value of
P1,381.21, which price Merritt had agreed to pay on the 1st day of September, 1914

28th of August, 1914, the defendant under and by virtue of its contract with Merritt took
possession of the incomplete edifice in course of construction together with all the materials
on said premises including the materials delivered by plaintiffs

Neither Merritt nor the defendant has paid for the materials

Plaintiffs demanded of the defendant the return or permission to enter upon said premises
and retake said materials at the time still unused which was refused by defendant.

Fressel et al insist that Merritt acted as the agent of the defendant in purchasing the
materials in question and that the defendant, by taking over and using such materials,
accepted and ratified the purchase, thereby obligating itself to pay for the same.

ISSUE: Whether or not Merritt acted as agent of Mariano Uy Chaco Sons & Co.
RATIO:

The facts alleged do not even intimate that the relation existing between Merritt and the
defendant was that of principal and agent, but, on the contrary, they demonstrate that Merritt
was an independent contractor and that the materials were purchased by him as such
contractor without the intervention of the defendant.

The fact that "the defendant entered into a contract with one E. Merritt, where by the said
Merritt undertook and agreed with the defendant to build for the defendant a costly edifice"
shows that Merritt was authorized to do the work according to his own method and without
being subject to the defendant's control, except as to the result of the work.

The mere fact that Merritt and the defendant had stipulated in their building contract that the
latter could, "upon certain contingencies," take possession of the incomplete building and all

materials on the ground, did not change Merritt from an independent contractor to an agent.
an independent contractor either as such owner or as the assignee of the contractor