Failure to state cause of action

"Failure to state a cause of action and lack of cause of action are distinct grounds to dismiss a particular action. The former refers to the insufficiency of the allegations in the pleading, while the latter to the insufficiency of the factual basis for the action. Dismissal for failure to state a cause of action may be raised at the earliest stages of the proceedings through a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, while dismissal for lack of cause of action may be raised any time after the questions of fact have been resolved on the basis of stipulations, admissions or evidence presented by the plaintiff."[1]A complaint states a cause of action if it sufficiently avers the existence of the three (3) essential elements of a cause of action, namely:
(a) a right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created;
(b) an obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and
(c) an act or omission on the part of the named defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages. 

If the allegations of the complaint do not state the concurrence of these elements, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the ground of failure to state a cause of action.


[1] See Zuñiga-Santos v. Santos-Gran, G.R. No. 197380, October 8, 2014. See also Macaslang v. Zamora, G.R. No. 156375, May 30, 2011, 649 SCRA 92, 106-107.

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