- Tribunal de Apelación en lo Civil y Comercial, Cuarta Sala
- Banco Itaú Paraguay S.A. v. S. & S. Construcciones S.A., S. H., E. y S. H., O. E.
LOAN AGREEMENT - BETWEEN A PARAGUAYAN BANK AND A PARAGUAYAN INDIVIDUAL - REFERENCE TO UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES TO INTERPRET APPLICABLE DOMESTIC LAW (PARAGUAYAN LAW)
AGREEMENT CONCLUDED USING BANK'S STANDARD TERMS - STANDARD TERMS UNCLEAR AS TO HOW TO PROVE PARTIAL REPAYMENT OF DEBT BY CUSTOMER – CONTRA PROFERENTEM RULE - REFERENCE TO ARTICLE 4.6 UNIDROIT PRINCIPLES.
In the present dispute, CLAIMANT filed a civil lawsuit seeking to enforce a payment from RESPONDENT derived from an instrument signed by the RESPONDENT in favor of the CLAIMANT. RESPONDENT submitted a defense of partial payment in regards to the amount of money claimed in the civil lawsuit.
The Judge of First Instance rejected the RESPONDENT's defense and RESPONDENT appealed the decision, arguing that the Judge did not adequately examine the proof it presented which demonstrated that it had made partial payments of the agreed sum. On the matter, the Judge of First Instance had considered that the account statements presented by RESPONDENT were not valid because they did not fulfill the requirements imposed by Paraguayan legislation for proof of payment and there were not payment receipts that could demonstrate the circumstance sustained by RESPONDENT.
The Appellate Court proceeded to examine whether the account statements provided by RESPONDENT proved that a partial payment of the debt was indeed performed. The Court paid particular attention to the fact that the parties had agreed that if RESPONDENT failed to make the corresponding payment, CLAIMANT was entitled to deduct the indebted amount from the RESPONDENT's bank accounts.
In order to interpret the agreement of the parties the Court of Appeal referred to the contra proferentem rule which is found in Article 4.6 of the UNIDROIT Principles.
Since RESPONDENT was a consumer, and thus the weakest party in the agreement which had accepted the standard terms set by CLAIMANT, the Court considered that a certain degree of flexibility was necessary while examining the proof presented by RESPONDENT.
After the Court deemed that the proof presented by RESPONDENT was valid, it decided to revoke the first instance judgment and accepted the defense of partial payment submitted by RESPONDENT.