Responsabilidad contractual y diligencia profesional

responsabilidad contractual

The professional must act according to the Lex Artis and can be held responsible even though a faulty request

 

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In contracts with professional, they are obliged to act according to lex artis. If you do not act with the diligence required by their status as professional, will incur contractual liability. Defective custom client is not cause for exemption from the professional.

The Supreme Court in its judgment No 155/2019 of 14 March 2019 It has been spoken about. Compensation Board of the Management Plan of Zaragoza signed a lease of services with an expert in the field. The contracted service was rendered incorrectly. The company acted without the diligence required professional. It caused damage to the contracting party. The company claimed the breaking of the causal link between the damage and performance by third party interference that did not prevent damage.

Antecedentes

Compensation Board of the sector 3 of the area 56/5 of the Urban Plan of Zaragoza (later as, "Compensation Board") It was the beneficiary of the expropriation of five plots. He signed a lease with commercial services REVIEWS MEDITERRANEO S.A (VALMESA). The purpose of the contract was conducting an assessment of the parcels to make their “sheet appreciation”. Valmesa assessment made at the discretion of the "dynamic residual method", propio of developed land. Based on the evaluation of Valmesa, Compensation Board conducted and presented the “sheet appreciation”. So good, valuation conferred on the plots a much higher value to the actual. Zaragoza City Council, as organ expropriator, He issued a report and considered exorbitant valuation by the Compensation Board. The report, City Council also noted that it would have been more correct to use for assessing the "simple method of income capitalization". So good, City Hall, taking into account the principle of consistency, He gave valid appraisal of the Board. Expropriation Jury accepted the assessment of the board and paid the expropriated.

Later, the Board commissioned an adequate assessment under rural land and the income capitalization method. He found that the assessment made by Valmesa was wrong.

Compensation Board filed suit against the company. He alleged a breach of the lex artis in the execution of the contract by faulty appraisal conducted. He requested a materialized compensation in the difference between the amount paid and what they would have paid, as well as, the amounts paid in excess of the price condition and the transfer tax and stamp duty documents. Such amounts totaled 2.837.014,31 euros.

La demandada se opuso. Absolving requested sentencing.

Primera Instancia

The 31 July 2015, el Juzgado de Primera Instancia nº 10 Zaragoza gave judgment. He estimated demand full. Valmesa declared liable for damages caused to the plaintiff and ordered it to pay him the amount of 2.837.014,31 euros in compensation. All this plus legal interest and court costs.

Provincial Court

The defendant made appeal.

The 8 March 2016, section 5 of the Provincial Court of Zaragoza gave judgment. It dismissed the appeal and upheld the first instance judgment. The Court considered that Valmesa, as technical expert in the art, It was not bound by a possible error of the client to the effect custom. He must have resolved the doubts and verify urban situation of the ground to assess. The defendant committed an error in the valuation method which resulted in excessive compensation to owners of plots for expropriation. The Court confirmed the existence of a direct relationship between the error of the defendant and the excess price paid by the applicant. He declared the appellant to pay the costs.

Supreme Court

Valmesa made an extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement and appeal.

The respondent denounced the actions as inadmissible;. I consider that, inadmissible to understand the appeal should extend this result to the appeal for procedural infringement. The Chamber found itself should be admitted to correspond to a process with higher amount 600.000 euros (art. 477.2.2º LEC). Añadió, “the appeal for procedural infringement is independent and cannot be related to the admission of the appeal”. All without prejudice to enter to assess in depth the reasons.

Regarding the extraordinary appeal for procedural infringement

It was founded on the following reasons:

– Under art. 469.1.2º LEC, por infracción del art. 218 LEC.

VALMESA reported that the judgment under appeal had not ruled on whether the principle of congruence in the expropriation field was duly applied by the City Council (expropriating entity). He considered that the principle of consistency prevents the Jury of Expropriation, when reviewing the acts, indicate higher compensation than requested in the appreciation sheets. He understood that it was pointless for the City Council to be linked by the assessment made by the Compensation Board.

The Chamber noted that the judgment under appeal had not violated art. 218 LEC on the requirements of motivation and consistency. First, met the requirement of motivated, and cited the STS 441/2017 of 13 July, according to "motivation has a dual purpose: that of externalizing the basis of the decision taken, making it explicit that it responds to a certain interpretation of the law and that of allowing its eventual jurisdictional control through the effective exercise of remedies… ”. Second, said that consistency refers to the claims of the parties (art. 5 LEC) and not to the allegations that the parties use to defend their position. Regarding consistency, he cited the STS 410/2012, of 28 June whereby "the requirement of consistency is summarized in the correlation that must exist between the claims duly deduced by the parties and the failure of the judgment, relationship or adequacy that, also, it must be substantial, rational or flexible, in no way rigid or absolute, without in any case the inconsistency with the appellant's disagreement with the reasons or arguments of the court can be identified, Well, as the Judgment of 12 June 2000, <<incongruity cannot be confused with an alleged right to a resolution in accordance with reasoning and postulates>>”. The lack of pronouncement on all the disputed points under debate is only incongruous. The appellant denied that the principle of consistency was applicable to the City Council and that the judgment under appeal was not pronounced on this. The Chamber indicated that the pronouncement did exist and that it was in the seventh foundation of the sentence, where it was stated that the principle of consistency did bind the City Council. The appellant asked that the City's fault be declared for not correcting the effects of the appellant's own negligence. The Chamber understood that the blame of the Public Administration could not be declared in the civil jurisdiction, and even less without it having been heard in the process.. Therefore, the Chamber rejected the motive.

– Under art. 469.1.4º LEC, due to an error in the evaluation of the evidence.

The appellant specified that the error in the evaluation of the evidence was due to the fact that the judgment appealed had dispensed with the consideration of the expropriation files provided by the City Council, being these, fundamental test.

The Chamber affirmed that the Hearing had not ignored the content of the files. It was deduced from these that the City Council had considered the valuation provided by the Compensation Board very high. And, the audience considered that the City Council, out of respect for the principle of consistency, did not reduce the amount. The Chamber cited the STS of 14 September 2015 and 25 November 2011 for that: the appreciation sheets formulated by the expropriation parties respectively constitute the maximum and minimum limits of the final quantification of the fair price, linking these limits not only to the Expropriation Jury but also to the Courts who judge the legality and accuracy of the assessment made by that. This link… is justified, from the legal-substantive point of view, in the principle of respect for their own acts ". So, the Chamber rejected the second plea in law.

Regarding the appeal

The alleged reasons were:

– For violation of art. 34 of the Forced Expropriation Law and for violation of art. 18.7 of the Legislative RD 2/2008, that approved the consolidated text of the Land Law (first and third reasons, respectively).

Para resolverlos la Sala aludió a las STS nº 57/2011 of 25 February and 633/2009 of 20 September, que determinaban que “las cuestiones cuyo conocimiento corresponde al orden jurisdiccional civil se resuelven sustancialmente mediante la aplicación de normas de carácter jurídico-privado, sin perjuicio de que en determinados casos haya de tenerse en cuenta, por su relación con el caso, la normativa de carácter administrativo, cuya eventual infracción aislada no puede denunciarse si no es precisamente poniendo de manifiesto tal vinculación con la relación jurídico-privada sobre la que se discute”. La Sala rechazó ambos motivos de recurso ya que aludían exclusivamente a la infracción de normas administrativas y por tanto, resultaron inadmisibles.

– For violation of art. 1101 Civil Code (CC) y la doctrina jurisprudencial al respecto por no haber apreciado la ruptura del nexo causal entre la producción del daño y la indemnización solicitada.

La Sala se pronunció al respecto. La responsabilidad contractual del art. 1101 CC exigía: la falta de cumplimiento del contrato, que a consecuencia de este se derivase un daño y la necesaria relación de causalidad entre el incumplimiento y el daño producido. La Sala señaló que la recurrente confundía la relación de causalidad existente entre su conducta y el daño provocado con la interferencia de la Administración. Se planteó que si “quien actúa negligentemente en el cumplimiento de sus obligaciones y causa un daño efectivo por ello, está facultado para exigir de otros que intervengan activamente para evitarlo mediante la interrupción de la causalidad iniciada por la conducta del agente y, aun siendo así, si en este caso dicha actuación de tercero -en concreta referencia al Ayuntamiento- resultaba procedente”. Para responder la cuestión la Sala citó el art. 1127 CC. De modo que concluyó que la responsabilidad derivada de incumplimientos contractuales ha de resolverse en el ámbito de los propios contratantes. Cualquier atribución a un tercero que no interviniene en el contrato pero que sí interfiere causalmente en el cumplimiento de las obligaciones, “ha de entenderse con dicho tercero y no con el otro contratante a quien no cabe imputar directamente tal interferencia”.

So, ante la otra parte del contrato, solo podrían oponerse las circunstancias que excluían el daño en el cumplimiento de sus obligaciones. Thus, la Sala analizó si podía atribuirse una actuación negligente a la Junta de Compensación. La sentencia recurrida ya evidenció la imposible derivación del daño a la otra parte contratante según su fundamento de derecho duodécimo: “basta con remitirnos a la doctrina, ya expuesta, de la exigible diligencia del profesional para descartar la vinculación del técnico a un posible error del cliente… La demandada sabía que la finalidad era la expropiación…Sí sabían que era suelo urbanizable no delimitado y que la Junta tenía prisa…La Sra. Virtudes -no experta en valoración del suelo- se limitó a recibir una hoja de encargo rellenada por la entidad experta, presentarla la firma y remitir el dinero del presupuesto… Corrobora la doctrina jurisprudencial de diligencia ad hoc del profesional Article. 7 de la O.M ECO 805/2003 sobre normas de valoración de bienes inmuebles: <<Para determinar el valor de tasación se realizarán las comprobaciones necesarias para conocer las características y situación real del objeto de valoración…>>”. En el fundamento decimotercero añadió: “Tampoco se ha acreditado que el representante legal de la gestora de la Junta, Sr. Manuel, fuera experto en la materia, ni menos aun, que impusiera un método de valoración a la experta con la que contrata. Para ello no hubiera hecho falta contratarla…”. Finalizó la Sala no admitiendo motivo del recurso.

La Sala desestimó el recurso interpuesto por VALMESA. Sentenció que no podía negarse la culpa de la recurrente. Añadió que resultaba impensable una concurrencia de culpas entre la recurrente y la Junta de Compensación. Confirmó la sentencia recurrida. Condenó a la recurrente al pago de las costas.

Conclusion

En los contratos de prestación de servicios en los que la parte contratada es una profesional, su actuación debe llevarse a cabo según la lex artis. Debe actuar con diligencia y llevar a cabo las comprobaciones necesarias para cumplir el encargo correctamente. No puede exonerar su incumplimiento en un error del cliente pues este no es profesional y no conoce las especificaciones técnicas.

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