You are on page 1of 3


LAGUNA TAYABAS BUS COMPANY (1960) Topic: Actual Damages (See first and second parts of the Cariagas appeal) J. Dizon FACTS: June 1952: 1PM Bus No. 133 of the Laguna Tayabas Bus Company (LTB) LEFT Manila for Lilio, Laguna. th The bus was driven by Alfredo Moncada. One of the passengers was petitioner Edgardo Cariaga, a 4 year med student of UST. 3PM At Bay, Laguna, where the national highway crossed a railroad track, the bus bumped against the engine of a passing train. - The first six wheels of the train were derailed. - The engine and front part of the body of the bus were wrecked. - Bus driver Moncada died. - Cariaga was severely injured. Cariaga was confined. - He was transferred from San Pablo City Hospital (Laguna), to De los Santos Clinic (QC), then to UST Hospital, and then back to De los Santos. - He was unconscious for the first 35 days after the accident. - He had to have procedures to remove the fractured bones from his brain, and to cover a big hole on his head. LTB paid for Cariagas medical and miscellaneous expenses (P16,964), as well as gave him a subsistence allowance (P10/ day, total P775) for January to April 1953, during which Cariaga stayed at a private house in QC. An action was filed to recover damages (actual, compensatory, moral, and exemplary) for Cariaga and his parents. A total sum of P312,000 was claimed. - LTB: The accident was due to the negligence of Manila Railroad Company (MRR) for not providing a crossing bar. They filed a cross-claim to recover P18,194, representing the expenses paid to Cariaga. - MRR: The accident was due to the reckless negligence of the bus driver Moncada. Lower court: LTB to pay Cariaga P10,490 as compensatory damages; Cross-claim dismissed. The Cariagas and LTB appealed. - Cariagas: Amount of damages awarded too small; The lower court should have awarded moral damages and attorneys fees. - LTB: Both the train driver and the bus driver were at fault. As a consequence, MRR should also liable. ISSUE AS TO LTB APPEAL: WON LTB violated the law, thereby making them negligent NO LTB: The train driver violated the law by not sounding the whistle when it was at a safe distance of 300m. Court: No. Cited the lower courts factual findings: The engineer sounded the whistle (two long and two short whistles) while at a distance of 300 meters from the highway, and then again upon reaching a point of 100m from the highway. All witnesses for the plaintiffs and defendants are uniform in stating that they heard the train whistle. The other LTB bus which arrived ahead at the crossing heeded the warning by stopping and allowing the train to pass. The bus driver Moncada totally ignored the whistle and noise of the train and instead, tried to make the bus pass the crossing before the train. [These findings are predicated mainly upon the testimony of a witness for MRR. LTB tried to assail his credibility, but the Court did not find any sufficient reason to discredit his testimony.] LTB: The train driver also violated the law by not ringing the bell altogether, in violation of Sec. 91, Art. 1459 of the MRR Charter. Court: No. LTB had the burden of proving this affirmatively, as a violation of law is never presumed. This burden has not been satisfactorily discharged.

ISSUE AS TO CARIAGAS APPEAL: WON the award of the lower court of damages was correct YES, except for compensatory damages Cariagas: The award of P10,000 as compensatory damages is inadequate, considering the after effects of the physical injuries suffered by him. Court: Yes. As a result of the physical injuries suffered by Cariaga, he is now in a helpless condition, virtually an invalid, both physically and mentally. Deposition of neurosurgeon Dr. Gustilo: - Cariagas right forehead was fractured necessitating the removal of practically all of the right frontal lobe of his brain. Tesitmony of psychiatrist Dr. Fernandez: - Cariagas mentality has been so reduced that he can no longer finish his studies as a med student. - He has become completely misfit for any kind of work. - He can hardly walk around without someone helping him, and has to use a brace on his left leg and feet. Lower courts findings: - The removal of his right frontal lobe reduced his intelligence by 50% - Due to the replacement of the right frontal bone of his head with a tantalum plate, Cariaga has to lead a quiet and retired life because if the tantalum plate is pressed in or dented, it would cause his death. Cariagas: Under Art. 2201 of the Civil Code, the obligor who is guilty of a breach of contract but who acted in good faith shall be liable for damages that are the natural and probable consequences of the breach, and which the parties had foreseen or could reasonably have foreseen at the time the obligation was constituted, provided such damages had been duly proved. Ergo, only the actual damages suffered by Cariaga consisting of medical, hospital, and the other expensesare within this category. Court: No. The income which Cariaga could have earned, if he should have become a doctor, should be deemed within this category because they could have reasonably been foreseen by the parties. th He was already a 4 year med student in in a reputable university. It is sufficient to assume that he could have passed the board test in due time, even if his grades were not first-rate. According to a witness of LTB, an amount of P300/ month could easily be expected as his minimum monthly income, had he finished his studied. Cariagas: The lower court should have awarded moral damages and attorn eys fees. Court: The lower court was correct in denying moral damages and attorneys fees. Lower court - Art. 2219 of the Civil Code enumerates the instances when moral damages may be covered and the case under consideration does not fall under any one of them. The present action cannot come under paragraph 2 because it is not one of the quasi-delict. - Neither could LTB be held liable to pay moral damages to Cariaga under Art. 2220 of the Civil Code on account of breach of its contract of carriage because it did not act fraudulently or in bad faith in connection therewith. There was due diligence in the selection and supervision of LTBs employees. - Cariaga is also not entitled to recover for attorney's fees, because this case does not fall under any of the instances enumerated in Art. 2208 of the Civil Code. Cachero v. Manila Yellow Taxicab - The action was predicated on an alleged breach of contract of carriage, i.e., the failure of the defendants to bring plaintiff "safely and without mishaps" to his destination. Only the first two numbers in Art. 2219 may have any bearing on the case (criminal offense resulting in physical injuries and quasi-delicts causing physical injuries). o However, with regard to the first, the defendant had not committed in connection with this case any "criminal offense resulting in physical injuries". The one that committed the offense against the plaintiff is the driver of the defendant, and that is why he has been already prosecuted and punished therefor. Although employers are subsidiary civilly liable for felonies committed by

their employees in the discharge of their duties (Art. 103, RPC), the plaintiff did not maintain this action under such provision. o The present complaint is not based either on a "quasi-delict causing physical injuries." From the report of the Code Commission on the new Civil Code, a quasi-delicts are obligations which do not arise from law, contracts, quasi-contracts, or criminal offenses. Jurisprudence also establishes the distinction between an obligation derived from negligence and an obligation as a result of breach of contract. What has been said relative to the moral damages claimed by Edgardo Cariaga applies with greater force to a similar claim made by his parents. The claim made Edgardo Cariagas parents for actual and compensatory damages is without merit. - Insofar as LTB is concerned, the present action is based on breach of contract of carriage, to which Edgardo Cariagas parents were not a party. - Neither can they premise their claim upon the negligence or quasi-delict,for the simple reason that they were not themselves injured.

DISPOSITIVE: Compensatory damages increased to P25,000. Lower court judgment affirmed in all other respects.