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14.) HEIRS OF MAXIMO REGOSO V.

CA
Facts:
Private respondent Belen Cruz-Regoso filed an action for judicial partition of property
with accounting and damages against her husband, Maximo Regoso, before RTC of Malolos,
Bulacan. The RTC ruled in favor of herein private respondent.
However, Maximo Regoso died after the case had been submitted for decision and he
was not substituted as defendant by his heirs. The trial court was not even informed on the
demise of the defendant until it promulgated its decision three (3) years from his death. The
counsel of herein petitioners filed a notice of appeal before the trial court and the same was
approved. Private respondent objected and moved to dismiss the appeal on the ground that the
deceased petitioner ceased to have legal personality and his counsels authority to represent him
had lost or terminated upon his demise.
The CA dismissed the appeal filed by petitioners. The court held that well-established
rule that a lawyer-client relationship was terminated upon the death of the client. Unless
otherwise stipulated that the contract for the lawyer's services would still exist up to judgment, or
when his fees were on a contingent basis, and also when his appearance was coupled with an
interest. None of these instances was ever agreed upon by the deceased and his counsel.

Issue:
WON Appellate Court erred in dismissing the petitioners appeal and in not declaring that
the judgment which the RTC rendered after the death of Maximo Regoso as null and void.
Ruling:
NO.
The Supreme Court denied the petition. Under Section 6 and 17 of Rule 3 of the Rules of
Court that it was the duty of the attorney for the deceased client to inform the court of such
death. Furthermore, the said provision of law also stated that after a party dies and the claim was
not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon proper notice, the legal representative of the
deceased to appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a period of thirty (30) days, or
within such time as may be granted. The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted
for the deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court
may appoint guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
Nonetheless, no such notice of death in the instant case, or a motion for substitution of
the deceased Maximo, was ever made. Hence, the trial court could not be expected to know or
take judicial notice of the death of Maximo, without the proper manifestation from his counsel.
Then notice of appeal, which petitioners counsel filed on behalf of the decedent was an
unauthorized pleading, hence, invalid. Moreover, the validity of the judgment of the RTC was
not affected by the demise of Maximo for the action survived. The decision is binding and
enforceable against the successors-in-interest of the deceased litigant.