Regional court overruled on technicality 15 September 2013 | Business World THE COURT of Appeals (CA) has granted a Norwegian miner’s plea against a lower court ruling denying its motion to dismiss a civil case filed by a locally listed firm over the botched sale of a nickel mine in Mindoro.  In a seven-page decision promulgated on Aug. 29, the CA’s special ninth division junked Makati Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 142’s ruling which denied the motion of Intex Resources ASA (Intex ASA) and Intex Resources AS (Intex AS) to dismiss -- due to lack of jurisdiction -- the civil case filed by Atok-Big Wedge Co., Inc. The CA noted the prescribed process in serving summonses for foreign private entities was not followed. Rules of Court state that summonses to foreign firms should be served through a resident agent, through an authorized government office or through the corporation’s local officers or agents. The CA noted that Intex had no resident agent in the Philippines and neither were summonses served through the Securities and Exchange Commission, the authorized state agency. It also noted that the summonses were served through the receptionist of Intex Resources Philippines, Inc., “which is a distinct and separate entity from Intex ASA and Intex AS”. The receptionist, the CA ruled, was not authorized to receive the summonses. The CA, in the ruling penned by Associate Justice Mario V. Lopez, said: “RTC arbitrarily treated the delivery of summonses... as substituted service”. Substituted service of summonses, the CA explained, may be used only under specific circumstances. “Any substituted service other than that prescribed by statute is considered ineffective,” the ruling read. “We reiterate that the requirements of the rule on service of summons must be strictly followed; otherwise, the trial court will not acquire jurisdiction to validly try and decide the case against the defendant.” The CA then ruled that “for these reasons, the petitions for certiorari are granted... The Regional Trial Court is declared without jurisdiction to take cognizance of Civil Case No. 10-10989 against... Intex Resources ASA and Intex Resources AS”. The dispute started in October 2010 when Intex ASA offered to sell to Atok its stake in subsidiary Intex AS, which controls a 9,720-hectare nickel mine project in Mindoro. Atok proposed to purchase the project for $10 million and 300 million unissued shares. Intex ASA subsequently showed reluctance in proceeding with the formal sale, which Atok said was tantamount to reneging on the deal. - technicality&id=76510
Intex Resources Philippines Inc. 2014