Banco Popular sentenced to pay a guarantee

aval

 

It can not be rescinded an endorsement by the simple will of the principal debtor

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The clauses of contracts must be interpreted according to the purpose and will that showed the parties at the time of your subscription. You can not protect an extinction of the guarantee when claims of the buyer against the seller are unfounded, thus damaging the interests of one of the contracting parties.

The Supreme Court, Civil Division, in Case 25 September 2019 No. 494/2019, He has condemned the People's Bank to pay the amount guaranteed. a purchase agreement in which Banco Popular acted as guarantor ensuring the payment of the final price was held. The surety granted by the entity contained the exception of payment in the event that the buyer accredits the existence of claims against the seller for liabilities arising from the contract. The buyer argued that the selling party was accrued liabilities, so the bank refused to pay the guarantee. The Chamber concluded that the clauses should be interpreted according to the will of the parties and therefore,  las reclamaciones infundadas no eran motivo suficiente para que el Banco incumpliese su compromiso.

For, a problem of interpretation arises from a guarantee. We discuss the possibility that, at the same time it is declaring the responsibility of the principal debtor, se exonere al avalista solidario.

The Audiencia Provincial considered that it was possible that the guarantee provided was not first demand, recognized as the guarantor the possibility to deny payment if the buyer backed credited the existence of claims arising from responsibilities assumed by the seller. However the High Court sentenced the guarantor to pay.

Fact background,,es,Juan Alberto and Paulina filed suit against FTA,,es,Asset Securitization Fund,,es,requesting the declaration of nullity for abusive of the floor and ceiling clauses contained in the novation contract of the mortgage loan of,,es,with the corresponding refund of amounts unduly collected,,es,The Securitization Fund Management Company,,es,Beech,,es,acting on behalf of FTA, he responded to said claim alleging that he lacked passive legitimacy since the entity had no legal personality and that it constituted only a private and open fund and that therefore the passive legitimization corresponded to BBVA as successor of Catalunya Banc that was the Company fund constituent,,es

The 8 June 2007, New Piave Seis S.L.U. (hereinafter NPS) He bought the Spanish Legion and Nova Mesto S.L., shares Promotions and Country Club Golf de Ronda S.L.. Such trade had corporate purpose is to build and promote a golf course.

The sale price was payable in installments. La compradora garantizó los pagos mediante Bank guarantee.

Banco Popular has signed endorsement by of which guaranteed, up to a maximum, payment of the last installment to NPS was made to the Spanish Legion the 8 June 2012.

The 4 June 2012, NPS (comprador) burofax reported by Banco Popular existence of serious breaches resulting from the purchase contract by the Legion (saleswoman), consisting concealment administrative litigation proceedings and denial of the water supply for a golf course.

The 8 June 2012, the Legion filed suit against NPS and Banco Popular. He called for joint condemnation of both payment 2.163.650,33 euros in payment of the outstanding price plus damages arising from the breach.

Banco Popular and NPS answered the complaint requesting the dismissal and, subsidiarily his acquittal.

Primera Instancia

The 19 March 2015, el Juzgado de Primera Instancia nº 22 Barcelona gave judgment dismissing the lawsuit filed fully.

The court considered proven breach of the purchase agreement by the applicant seller, to having hidden the existence of judicial review proceedings and lack of licensing for water and thus meet the needs of the golf project it was expected to develop.

Provincial Court aval

The applicant filed an appeal.

The 17 October 2016, 4th Section of the Provincial Court of Barcelona gave judgment partly estimating the appeal.

The Court reversed the decision of rejecting instance there was a breach attributable to the seller. Accordingly, NPS condemned to pay the last installment of the price amounting 2.163.650,33 euros plus statutory interest.

It however absolved NPS's claim for damages arising from the failure to consider that such a claim was left undetermined in demand.

The Court however dismissed the claim against the guarantor. He based this decision on the interpretation of the endorsement because he understood that, in accordance with the agreed, “enough that the guaranteed accredits the existence of claims that the Bank may refuse to execute the guarantee”.

Supreme Court

The applicant filed an extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement and appeals.

On appeal, It was founded on seven grounds:

– The first plea alleged infringement of Article. 1256 CC in that the judgment denying the validity and execution of the guarantee. And this, despite claims stating that the company supported were unfounded and that the judgment found that the seller did comply with the obligations of the contract. He argued that this meant the appellant leave the discretion of NPS compliance with the bank guarantee.

– In the second to fifth pleas alleging the infringement of Articles. 1281.II, 1288, 1285 and 1287 CC. It was reasoned that interpretation endorsed by the judgment under appeal contrary to the intention of the parties. Specifically, It interpreted the clause 5.c) of the backing so that it was absolutely impossible execution.

– In the sixth plea alleging infringement of the art. 1847 CC as, the sentence would have extinguished the obligation of the guarantor prior to that of the principal debtor.

– The sixth plea alleging infringement of Article. 1156 CC as, the sentence would declare extinguished the obligation of the surety for a cause not provided for in art. 1156 CC. And thus it would be in breach of art. 1284 CC.

The 25 September 2019, the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court gave judgment upholding the appeal.

The Chamber found that the legal issue of the case rested with the interpretation of the endorsement, especially in relation to the intention of the parties to define the obligation of the guarantor.

The document reflecting the guarantee granted by Banco Popular included the following:

3.- Without prejudice, in paragraph 5.c) of this guarantee, This guarantee shall expire on a date 8 June 2012.

(…)

 5.- Arrival date of June 8 2012, if the buyer had a satisfied to the Seller the amount applicable, in accordance with the provisions of clause 3.3.4 of the Contract and the Seller applying for enforcement of the guarantee for record sum, the Bank will inform the buyer within three business days ... In this case, The buyer, within three business days since receiving notification of the Bank, You may proceed as follows:

(…) c) Wholly or partially oppose, the execution of the guarantee to the Bank crediting the existence of claims arising from contingencies and responsibilities assumed by Sellers in the sale contract.

6.- The Bank may not refuse payment under this guarantee unless Buyer ... credited the existence of claims arising from contingencies and responsibilities assumed by Seller under the Purchase Agreement. "

So, the reasoning of the judgment delivered by the Court departed from that the guarantee provided was not a guarantee on first demand, in which to enforce compliance sufficient claim of the debtor. The document did not distinguish between legal claims that extrajudicial, so introduce such a distinction would jeopardize the status of the guarantor, against the provisions of Art. 1827 CC.

Faced with this reasoning, the plaintiff argued that seller the contractual clause could not protect an extinction of the guarantee when claims of the buyer against the seller were unfounded.

To respect the Chamber noted that the interpretation of the audience was illogical. La Audiencia se limitó a la literalidad de una de las palabras que se usó en el aval, specifically, la referida a “reclamaciones”. La Audiencia efectuó una interpretación, en contra de la intención común de las partes, que privaba al aval de su funcionalidad por la simple voluntad del deudor principal.

La finalidad del aval era garantizar el pago de la cantidad aplazada en la compraventa celebrada en la misma fecha.

La interpretación realizada por la Audiencia en el sentido de que “cualquier reclamación realizada por el deudor principal extinguía la garantía” era contraria a la propia función de la garantía.

Para la Sala que, la sola declaración del deudor garantizado no era suficiente para excluir la obligación de pago del garante.

La Sala compartía el criterio de la Audiencia cuando señaló que no se estaba ante una garantía a primer requerimiento. Pero ello no significaba que el garante no debía pagar, de acuerdo con la función propia de la garantía, cuando quedara acreditado que el deudor había incumplido su obligación.

Producido el incumplimiento de la obligación garantizada el garante debía responder.

La interpretación de la Audiencia privaba al aval pactado de su función de garantía del incumplimiento de pago del último plazo por el deudor. Función de garantía en el sentido de que se dirigía a evitar pagos no debidos por el comprador garantizado.

Dicha interpretación de la Audiencia solo tenía sentido si el avalista asumía el riesgo de valorar si las reclamaciones eran o no fundadas. Namely, sí habían quedado acreditadas para concluir si el pago del precio debía efectuarse o no.

Acreditado que el pago era debido y que las reclamaciones contra el vendedor invocadas por el comprador para negarse a pagar eran infundadas, la garantía se dirigía a reforzar el cumplimiento de la obligación principal.

En el propio aval se indicaba que el mismo expiraría el día 8 de junio de 2012. Por lo que lo único coherente en la función de garantía asumida era que el aval seguía vigente aunque hubieran mediado reclamaciones.

Ultimately, la obligación de garantía asumida no era independiente de la obligación garantizada y del contrato de compraventa del que nacía. Declarada la procedencia de pago del deudor al acreedor, procedía declarar la del garante.

El Banco alegó que la transacción celebrada entre vendedor y comprador extinguía la fianza. Para el Alto Tribunal, la fianza no se había extinguido. El fiador podría oponerla como excepción inherente a la deuda (art. 1835 II CC), pero la garantía continuaba en vigor.

Therefore, casó la sentencia de la Audiencia y estimó el recurso de apelación interpuesto por la vendedora, condenando a Banco popular a responder solidariamente como avalista por NPS.

Conclusion

No se puede amparar una extinción de un aval por reclamaciones del comprador frente al vendedor, cuando las mismas son infundadas. Then, se estaría dando una interpretación del clausulado en contra de la intención común de las partes y se privaría al endorsement de su funcionalidad por la simple voluntad del deudor principal.

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