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Torts Magic Notes

Torts Magic Notes

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Published by Joseph Plazo, Ph.D

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Published by: Joseph Plazo, Ph.D on Jun 13, 2010
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Torts Magic Notes for FINALS_revised by A2010Prof. Casis _S.Y. 2007-2008
PRELIMINARY MATTERS:
*Those in S
MALL
C
 APS
(and underlined) were highlighted by Sir Casis during the class. If none are found, just refer to those in
bold letters and those in the Notes
. Good luck classmates! –torts magic notes team
VI. PERSONS LIABLEA. The Tortfeasor 
Art. 2176.
Whoever by act or omission causesdamage to another, there being fault or negligence,is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such faultor negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractualrelation between the parties, is called a quasi-delictand is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.(1902a)
Art. 2181.
Whoever pays for the damage causedby his dependents or employees may recover fromthe latter what he has paid or delivered insatisfaction of the claim. (1904)
Art. 2194.
The responsibility of two or morepersons who are liable for quasi-delict is solidary.(n)
 
C L A S S N O T E S
There can be more than one tortfeasor andthey are called JOINT TORTFEASORS
Are you suppose to sue all of them? NObecause you can get relief from one of them.
Do they have to act in concert? NO
Worcester v. Ocampo
February 27, 1912
FACTS:
Dean Worcester filed an action to recover damages resulting from an alleged libelous publicationagainst Martin Ocampo, Teodoro M. Kalaw, Lope K.Santos, Fidel A. Reyes, Faustino Aguilar, et al, as theowners, directors, writers, editors and administrators of the daily newspaper “El Renacimiento” (Spanishversion) and “Muling Pagsilang” (tagalong version).Worcester alleged that the defendants have beenmaliciously persecuting and attacking him in thenewspapers for a long time and they published aneditorial entitled “Birds of Prey” with the malicious intentof injuring Worcester, both as a private person and as agovernment official as the editorial obviously referred tohim.Worcester alleged that he was likened to “birds of prey”in the following manner: “Such are the characteristics of the man who is at the same time an eagle whosurprises and devours, a vulture who gorges himself onthe dead and putrid meats, an owl who affects apetulant omniscience and a vampire who silently sucksthe blood of the victim until he leaves it bloodless.”
TC:
In favor of Worcester; Defendants
 jointly andseverally
liable for the P60k total damages.ISSUE: WON the defendants’ individual properties canbe made jointly and severally liable for the damagesunder the civil and commercial codes,
HELD:
Yes. TC modified. Damages reduced, Santosabsolved.The present action is a tort.
Universal doctrine:
each joint tortfeasor is not onlyindividually liable for the tort in which he participates,but is also jointly liable with his tortfeasors.If several persons commit a tort, the plaintiff or personinjured, has his election to sue all or some of the parties jointly, or one of them separately,
because the
TORT
 
IS
 
IN
 
ITS
 
NATURE
 
A
 
SEPARATE
 
ACT
 
OF
 
EACH
 
INDIVIDUAL
. 
It is not necessary that cooperation should be a direct,corporal act- e.g. assault and battery committed byvarious persons, under the common law, they are allprincipals.Under common law, he who aided or counseled, in anyway, the commission of a crime, was as much aprincipal as he who inflicted or committed the actualtort.
General Rule:
Joint tortfeasors are all the persons whocommand, instigate, promote, encourage, advise,countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commissionof a tort, or who approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. They are each liable as principals, to thesame extent and in the same manner as if they hadperformed the wrongful act themselves.Joint tortfeasors are jointly and severally liable for thetort which they commit.Joint tortfeasors are
not liable pro rata
. The damagescan not be apportioned among them, except amongthemselves. They cannot insist upon an apportionment,for the purpose of each paying an aliquot part.
They are jointly and severally liable for the full amount.
 A payment in full of the damage done by one tortfeasor satisfies any claim which might exist against the others.The release of one of the joint tortfeasors by agreementgenerally operates to discharge all.The court however may make findings as to which of the alleged joint tortfeasors are liable and which are not,even if they are charged jointly and severally.
Art. 2184*.
In motor vehicle mishaps, the owner issolidarily liable with his driver, if the former, who wasin the vehicle, could have, by the use of the duediligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputablypresumed that a driver was negligent, if he had beenfound guilty or reckless driving or violating trafficregulations at least twice within the next precedingtwo months.*this was drafted with Chapman v. Underwood in mind.
 
C L A S S N O T E S
Sir highlighted that “Tort is in its nature aseparate act of each individual” – so no needto sue all of the tortfeasors!
Chapman v. Underwood
March 28, 1914
FACTS:
J.H. Chapman was trying to board a “SanMarcelino” car trough the rear platform when he wasstruck by Mr. James Underwoord’s automobile, whichwas at that time driven by his chauffer.Underwood’s driver was guilty of negligencebecause he was passing an oncoming car upon thewrong side when he ran over Chapman. Chapman, wasnot obliged for his own protection to observe whether acar was coming upon him from where he was becauseaccording to the law, no automobile or other vehicle
1
 
Torts Magic Notes for FINALS_revised by A2010Prof. Casis _S.Y. 2007-2008
coming from his left should pass upon his side of thecar.
TC:
In favor of Underwood
ISSUE:
WON Underwood is responsible for thenegligence of his driver.
HELD:
No. TC affirmed. The interval between unlawfulact and the accident was so small as not to be sufficientto charge Underwood with the negligence of the driver. The driver does not fall within the list of persons in Art.1903 (now 2180) for whose acts Underwood would beresponsible.This rule applies even if the owner of thevehicle was present at the time of the accident,
unless
THE
 
NEGLIGENT
 
ACTS
 
OF
 
THE
 
DRIVER
 
ARE
 
CONTINUED
 
FOR
 
SUCH
 
A
 
LENGTH
 
OF
 
TIME
 
AS
 
TO
 
GIVE
 
THE
 
OWNER
 
A
 
REASONABLE
 
OPPORTUNITY
 
TO
 
OBSERVE
 
AND
 
TO
 
DIRECT
 
HIS
 
DRIVER
 
TO
 
DESIST
 
THEREFROM
.When will the owner be liable?-
An owner who sits inhis vehicle, and permits his driver to continue in aviolation of the law by the performance of his negligentacts, after he had
 A
 
REASONABLE
 
OPPORTUNITY
 
TO
 
OBSERVE
 
THEM
 
 AND
 
TO
 
DIRECT
 
THAT
 
THE
 
DRIVER
 
CEASE
 
THEREFROM
,
BECOMES
 
HIMSELF
 
RESPONSIBLE
 
FOR
 
SUCH
 
 ACTS
. 
When will the owner be NOT liable?-
if the driver by asudden act of negligence, and without the owner havingreasonable opportunity to prevent the act or itscontinuance, injures a person or violates the criminallaw, the owner of the vehicle, present therein at the timethe act was committed, is not responsible, etiher civillyor criminally, therefor.
The act complained of must be continued in thepresence of the owner for such a length of time thatthe owner, by his acquiescence, makes his driver’sact his own.
RULE:
 
Underwood is not liable for his driver’s act evenif he was inside the car at the time of the accident(unless he let the negligence continue for a long timewithout correcting it) because the driver is not listed in1903 (now 2180) as one of the persons whose actsUnderwood would be responsible for.
Caedo v. Yu Khe Thai
December 18, 1968
FACTS:
Marcial Caedo, with his family, was driving hisMercury car on EDSA. On the opposite direction wasthe Cadillac of Yu Khe Thai, driven by Rafael Bernardo.They were both traveling at moderate speeds and theheadlights were mutually noticeable from a distance. Ahead of the Cadillac was a carretela. Bernardotestified that he saw the carretela only when it wasalready only 8 meters away from him (This is the 1
st
sign of negligence because the carretela was lighted-hence should’ve given him sufficient warning). ButBernardo, instead of slowing down or stopping, tried toovertake the carretela by veering to the left. The car’sright rear bumper caught the wheel of the carretela andcollided with the Mercury.Caedo in the meantime, slowed down, andthought that the Cadillac would wait behind thecarretela. He tried to avoid the collision at the lastmoment by going farther to the right but wasunsuccessful.
TC:
Bernardo and Thai jointly and severally liable for damages
ISSUE:
WON Yu Khe Thai, as the owner of theCadillac, is solidarily liable with his driver.
HELD:
No. TC modified. Thai not solidarily liable withBernardo. Art. 2184 applies: In motor vehicle mishaps, theowner is solidarily liable with his driver, if the former,who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of thedue diligence, prevented the misfortune. It is disputablypresumed that a driver was negligent, if he had beenfound guilty or reckless driving or violating trafficregulations at least twice within the next preceding twomonths.Under Art. 2184, if the causative factor wasthe driver’s negligence, the owner of the vehicle whowas present is likewise held liable if he could haveprevented the mishap by the exercise of due diligence. –This rule is not new, although formulated as a law for the first time in the new Civil Code. It was expressed inChapman v. Underwood.
Basis of master’s liability in civil law:
NOT
respondeat superior 
but
 paterfamilias
.
The theory isthat ultimately, the negligence of the servant, if knownto the master and susceptible of timely correction byhim, reflects his own negligence if he fails to correct it inorder to prevent injury or damage.Bernardo was a pretty good driver and had no record.No negligence for having employed him may beimputed to Thai. The only negligence that can beimputed to Bernardo was when he tried to overtake thecarretela instead of stopping or waiting-and this cannotbe imputed to Thai because there were no signs for himto be in any special state of alert. He could not haveanticipated his driver’s sudden decision to pass thecarretela.
The time element was such that there wasno reasonable opportunity for Thai to assess therisks involved and warn the driver accordingly.Test of imputed negligence under 2184:
-to a greatdegree, necessarily subjective. Car owners are not heldto a uniform and inflexible standard of diligence as areprofessional drivers.The law does not require that a person must possess acertain measure of skill or proficiency either in themechanic of driving or in the observance of traffic rulesbefore they can own a motor vehicle.
Test of negligence within the meaning of 2184:
-hisomission to do that which the evidence of his ownsenses tells him he should do in order to avoid theaccident.
RULE:
negligence must be sought in the immediatesetting and circumstance of the accident, i.e. in hisfailure to detain the driver form pursuing a course whichnot only gave him clear notice of the danger but alsosufficient time to act upon it.
NOTES: Art. 2184 is based on Chapman. Unless theowner could’ve prevented the negligence, or hewas negligent in selection and supervision, hecannot be held liable.Art. 2184: owner can be held solidarilyliable with the driver only if the owner is IN the car.Court’s test: 1. senses of owner 2. circumstances
2
 
Torts Magic Notes for FINALS_revised by A2010Prof. Casis _S.Y. 2007-2008
 
C L A S S N O T E SThe standard set in this case is still REASONABLEOPPORTUNITY.Difference between respondeat superior vs.paterfamiliasRespondeat superior:
acts under orders (1 negligent –the one who gave the orders)Paterfamilias: acts under guidance (2 negligent – boththe owner and the driver)TEST of imputed negligence: SUBJECTIVE*not all owners are learned/professional drivers – that’swhy they hire drivers for them!VICARIOUS LIABILITY: found in Article 2180 (but usethe term “tortfeasors” instead of “one”-a tortfeasor would be liable not only for his own acts or omissions but also for those of persons for whom he isresponsibleTake note of difference between NCC and FC:
under the NCC
: the
father 
, and in cases of his deathor incapacity, the mother, will be responsible for thedamages caused by their 
minor children
 
who live intheir company 
under the FC:
 parents and other persons exercising  parental authority 
shall be civilly liable for theinjuries and damages caused by the acts or omissions of their 
unemancipated children living intheir company and under their parental authority subject to the appropriate defenses provided by law.
Portions of 2180—modified by FC
Does RA9344 affect the liability of parents andguardians? NO
Basis of liability of parents and minor children:PARENTAL AUTHORITY
How does the FC affect 2180? Is the person below21 still liable?
For those above 15 but below 18 who acted withdiscernment—basis to use is 2180
B. Vicarious Liability
aka Imputed Negligence
 
C L A S S N O T E
In this section, a person is held liable for acts not his own but because of theexistence of a relationship.
December 10, 1974THE CHILD AND YOUTH WELFARE CODEChapter 4-Liabilities Of ParentsArt. 58. Torts. -
Parents and guardians areresponsible for the damage caused by the childunder their parental authority in accordance withthe Civil Code.
Family CodeArt. 218.
The school, its administrators andteachers, or the individual, entity or institutionengaged in child are shall have special parentalauthority and responsibility over the minor childwhile under their supervision, instruction or custody. Authority and responsibility shall apply to allauthorized activities whether inside or outside thepremises of the school, entity or institution. (349a)
Art. 219.
Those given the authority and responsibilityunder the preceding Article shall be principally andsolidarily liable for damages caused by the acts or omissions of the unemancipated minor. The parents, judicial guardians or the persons exercising substituteparental authority over said minor shall be subsidiarilyliable.The respective liabilities of those referred to in thepreceding paragraph shall not apply if it is proved thatthey exercised the proper diligence required under the particular circumstances. All other cases not covered by this and the precedingarticles shall be governed by the provisions of theCivil Code on quasi-delicts. (n)
Art. 221.
Parents and other persons exercisingparental authority shall be civilly liable for the injuriesand damages caused by the acts or omissions of their unemancipated children living in their companyand under their parental authority subject to theappropriate defenses provided by law. (2180(2)a and(4)a )
Art. 236.
Emancipation for any cause shall terminateparental authority over the person and property of thechild who shall then be qualified and responsible for all acts of civil life. (412a)
Revised Penal Code
Title Five-Civil LiabilityChapter One-Person Civilly Liable for FeloniesArt. 100. Civil liability of a person guilty of felony.
— Every person criminally liable for a felony is alsocivilly liable.
Art. 101. Rules regarding civil liability in certaincases.
The exemption from criminal liabilityestablished in subdivisions 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of Article12 and in subdivision 4 of Article 11 of this Code doesnot include exemption from civil liability, which shallbe enforced subject to the following rules:
First.
In cases of subdivisions 1, 2, and 3 of Article12, the civil liability for acts committed by an imbecileor insane person, and by a person under nine yearsof age, or by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted without discernment, shalldevolve upon those having such person under their legal authority or control, unless it appears that therewas no fault or negligence on their part.Should there be no person having such insane,imbecile or minor under his authority, legalguardianship or control, or if such person beinsolvent, said insane, imbecile, or minor shallrespond with their own property, excepting propertyexempt from execution, in accordance with the civillaw.
Second.
In cases falling within subdivision 4 of  Article 11, the persons for whose benefit the harmhas been prevented shall be civilly liable in proportionto the benefit which they may have received.The courts shall determine, in sound discretion, theproportionate amount for which each one shall beliable.
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