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Teodora G.R.

Astudillo No.

vs. L-33380.

Manila 17

Electric December

Co. 1930.

Facts: In August, 1928, a young man by the name of Juan Astudillo met his death through electrocution, when he placed his right hand on a wire connected with an electric light pole situated near Sta Lucia Gate, Intramuros, in the City of Manila. Shortly thereafter, the mother of the deceased instituted an action in the CFI Mla to secure from the defendant, Manila Electric Company, damages. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff. Issue: WON defendant did not exercise due care and diligence so as to render it liable for damages.

Ruling: The SC concludes that the plaintiff is entitled to damages. It is well established that the liability of electric light companies for damages for personal injuries is governed by the rules of negligence. Such companies are, however, not insurers of the safety of the public. But considering that electricity is an agency, subtle and deadly, the measure of care required of electric companies must be commensurate with or proportionate to the danger. The duty of exercising this high degree of diligence and care extends to every place where persons have a right to be. In the case at ber, the cause of the injury was one which could have been foreseen and guarded against. The negligence came from the act of the defendant in so placing its pole and wires as to be w/n proximity to a place frequented by many people, with the possibility ever present of one of them losing his life by coming in contact with a highly charged and defectively insulated wire. As we understand the position of the Manila Electric Company on appeal, its principal defense now is that it has fully complied with the provisions of its franchise and of the ordinances of the City of Manila. It is undeniable that the violation of franchise, an ordinance, or a statute might constitute negligence. But the converse is not necessarily true, and compliance with a franchise, an ordinance, or a statute is not conclusive proof that there was no negligence. The franchise, ordinance, or statute merely states the minimum conditions. The fulfillment of these conditions does not render unnecessary other precautions required by ordinary care. We, therefore, conclude that the plaintiff is entitled to damages. But the evidence indicative of the true measure of those damages is sadly deficient. All that we know certainly is that the deceased was less than 20 years of age, a student, and working in the Ateneo de Manila, but at what wages we are not told. We are also shown that approximately P200 was needed to defray the travel and funeral expenses. As would happen in the case of a jury who have before them one of the parents, her position to life, and the age and sex of the child, varying opinions, have been disclosed in the court regarding the estimate of the damages with reference to the next of kin. Various sums have been suggested, beginning as low as P1,000 and extending as high as P5,000. A majority of the court finally arrived at the sum of P1,500 as appropriate damages in this case. The basis of this award would be the P1,000 which have been allowed in other cases for the death of young children without there having been tendered any special proof of the amount of damages suffered, in connection with which should be taken into account the more mature age of the boy in the case at bar, together with the particular expenses caused by his death.

Picart v. Smith Facts: Plaintiff Amado Picart was riding on his pony on the Carlatan Bridge in San Fernando, La Union when the defendant, riding on his car, approached. Defendant blew his horn to give warning. Plaintiff moved the horse to the right instead of moving to the left, reasoning that he had no sufficient time to move to the right direction. Defendant continued to approach, and when he had gotten quite near, he quickly turned to the left. The horse was frightened that it turned his body across the bridge. His limb was broken and the rider was thrown off and got injured. The horse died. An action for damages was filed against the defendant. Issue: Whether or not the defendant in maneuvering his car in the manner above described was guilty of negligence such as gives rise to a civil obligation to repair the damage done Held: As the defendant started across the bridge, he had the right to assume that the horse and rider would pass over to the proper side; but as he moved toward the center of the bridge it was demonstrated to his eyes that this would not be done; and he must in a moment have perceived that it was too late for the horse to cross with safety in front of the moving vehicle. In the nature of things this change of situation occurred while the automobile was yet some distance away; and from this moment it was not longer within the power of the plaintiff to escape being run down by going to a place of greater safety. The control of the situation had then passed entirely to the defendant. The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently probable to warrant his foregoing the conduct or guarding against its consequences. It goes without saying that the plaintiff himself was not free from fault, for he was guilty of antecedent negligence in planting himself on the wrong side of the road. But as we have already stated, the defendant was also negligent; and in such case the problem always is to discover which agent is immediately and directly responsible. It will be noted that the negligent acts of the two parties were not contemporaneous, since the negligence of the defendant succeeded the negligence of the plaintiff by an appreciable interval. Under these circumstances the law is that the person who has the last fair chance to avoid the impending harm and fails to do so is chargeable with the consequences, without reference to the prior negligence of the other party. Gan v. CA Facts: Petitioner Hedy Gan was driving along North Bay Boulevard on July 4, 1972. There were 2 vehicles parked on the right side of the road. As the petitioner approached the place where the vehicles were parked, a vehicle from the opposite direction tried to overtake another vehicle and encroached the lane of her car. To avoid collision, the petitioner swerved to the right and hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian was pinned to the rear of the parked jeepney, and died on arrival to the hospital. Petitioner was found guilty of homicide through reckless imprudence by the trial court. The Corut of Appeals modified the decision and found her guilty of homicide through simple imprudence.

Issue: Whether the petitioner is negligent as to hold her guilty for the death of the pedestrian Held: We reverse. The test for determining whether or not a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or property of another is this: Would a prudent man in the position of the person to whom negligence is attributed foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course about to be pursued? If so, the law imposes the duty oil the doer to take precaution against its mi schievous results and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. A corollary rule is what is known in the law as the emergency rule. "Under that rule, one who suddenly finds himself in a place of danger, and is required to act without time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger, is not guilty of negligence, if he fails to adopt what subsequently and upon reflection may appear to have been a better method, unless the emergency in which he finds himself is brought about by his own negligence." Applying the above test to the case at bar, we find the petitioner not guilty of the crime of Simple Imprudence resulting in Homicide The course of action suggested by the appellate court would seem reasonable were it not for the fact that such suggestion did not take into account the amount of time afforded petitioner to react to the situation she was in. For it is undeniable that the suggested course of action presupposes sufficient time for appellant to analyze the situation confronting her and to ponder on which of the different courses of action would result in the least possible harm to herself and to others. The appellate court is asking too much from a mere mortal like the petitioner who in the blink of an eye had to exercise her best judgment to extricate herself from a difficult and dangerous situation caused by the driver of the overtaking vehicle. Petitioner certainly could not be expected to act with all the coolness of a person under normal conditions. The danger confronting petitioner was real and imminent, threatening her very existence. She had no opportunity for rational thinking but only enough time to heed the very powerfull instinct of self-preservation. Spouses Fernando Viloria and Lourdes Viloria vs Continental Airlines, Inc. Business Organization Partnership, Agency, Trust Elements of Agency Estoppel In 1997, while the spouses Viloria were in the United States, they approached Holiday Travel, a travel agency working for Continental Airlines, to purchase tickets from Newark to San Diego. The travel agent, Margaret Mager, advised the couple that they cannot travel by train because it is fully booked; that they must purchase plane tickets for Continental Airlines; that if they wont purchase plane tickets; theyll ne ver reach their destination in time. The couple believed Magers representations and so they purchased two plane tickets worth $800.00. Later however, the spouses found out that the train trip isnt fully booked and so they purchased train tickets and went to t heir destination by train instead. Then they called up Mager to request for a refund for the plane tickets. Mager referred the couple to Continental Airlines. As the couple are now in the Philippines, they filed their request with Continental Airlines office in Ayala. The spouses Viloria alleged that Mager misled them into believing that the only way to travel was by plane and so they were fooled into buying expensive tickets. Continental Airlines refused to refund the amount of the ticket and so the spouses sued the airline company. In its defense, Continental Airlines claimed that the ticket sold to them by Mager is non-refundable; that, if any, they are not bound by the misrepresentations of Mager because theres no agency existing between Continental Airlines and Mager. The trial court ruled in favor of spouses Viloria but the Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of the RTC.

ISSUE: Whether or not a contract of agency exists between Continental Airlines and Mager. HELD: Yes. All the elements of agency are present, to wit: 1. 2. 3. 4. there is consent, express or implied of the parties to establish the relationship; the object is the execution of a juridical act in relation to a third person; the agent acts as a representative and not for himself, and the agent acts within the scope of his authority.

The first and second elements are present as Continental Airlines does not deny that it concluded an agreement with Holiday Travel to which Mager is part of, whereby Holiday Travel would enter into contracts of carriage with third persons on the airlines behalf. The third element is also present as it is undisputed that Holiday Travel merely acted in a representative capacity and it is Continental Airlines and not Holiday Travel who is bound by the contracts of carriage entered into by Holiday Travel on its behalf. The fourth element is also present considering that Continental Airlines has not made any allegation that Holiday Travel exceeded the authority that was granted to it. Continental Airlines also never questioned the validity of the transaction between Mager and the spouses. Continental Airlines is therefore in estoppels. Continental Airlines cannot be allowed to take an altogether different position and deny that Holiday Travel is its agent without condoning or giving imprimatur to whatever damage or prejudice that may result from such denial or retraction to Spouses Viloria, who relied on good faith on Continental Airlines acts in recognition of Holiday Travels authority. Estoppel is primarily based on the doctrine of good faith and th e avoidance of harm that will befall an innocent party due to its injurious reliance, the failure to apply it in this case would result in gross travesty of justice. II. In actions based on quasi-delict, a principal can only be held liable for the tort committed by its agents employees if it has been established by preponderance of evidence that the principal was also at fault or negligent or that the principal exercise control and supervision over them. On the other hand, if the passengers cause of action for damages against the airline company is based on contractual breach or culpa contractual, it is not necessary that there be evidence of the airline companys fault or negligence. As this Court previo usly stated in China Air Lines and reiterated in Air France vs. Gillego,24 in an action based on a breach of contract of carriage, the aggrieved par ty does not have to prove that the common carrier was at fault or was negligent. All that he has to prove is the existence of the contract and the fact of its non-performance by the carrier.

Spouses Vilorias cause of action on the basis of Magers alleg ed fraudulent misrepresentation is clearly one of tort or quasi-delict, there being no pre-existing contractual relationship between them. Therefore, it was incumbent upon Spouses Viloria to prove that CAI was equally at fault.

Even on the assumption that CAI may be held liable for the acts of Mager, still, Spouses Viloria are not entitled to a refund . Magers statement cannot be considered a causal fraud that would justify the annulment of the subject contracts that would oblige CAI to indemnify Spouses Viloria and return the money they paid for the subject tickets.

After meticulously poring over the records, this Court finds that the fraud alleged by Spouses Viloria has not been satisfactorily established as causal in nature to warrant the annulment of the subject contracts. In fact, Spouses Viloria failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Magers statement was fraudulent. Specifically, Spouses Viloria failed to prove that (a) there were indeed available seats at Amtrak for a trip to New Jersey on August 13, 1997 at the time they spoke with Mager on July 21, 1997; (b) Mager knew about this; and (c) that she purposely informed them otherwise. This Court finds the only proof of Magers alleged fraud, which is Fernandos testimony that an Amtrak had assured him of the perennial availability of seats at Amtrak, to be wanting. As CAI correctly pointed out and as Fernando admitted, it was possible that during the intervening period of three (3) weeks from the time Fernando purchased the subject tickets to the time he talked to said Amtrak employee, other passengers may have cancelled their bookings and reservations with Amtrak, making it possible for Amtrak to accommodate them. Indeed, the existence of fraud cannot be proved by mere speculations and conjectures. Fraud is never lightly inferred; it is good faith that is. Under the Rules of Court, it is presumed that "a person is innocent of crime or wrong" and that "private transactions have been fair and regular." 35 Spouses Viloria failed to overcome this presumption. IV. Assuming the contrary, Spouses Viloria are nevertheless deemed to have ratified the subject contracts. Even assuming that Magers representation is causal fraud, the subject contracts have been impliedly ratified when Spouses Vi loria decided to exercise their right to use the subject tickets for the purchase of new ones. Under Article 1392 of the Civil Cod e, ratification extinguishes the action to annul a voidable contract.