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ARTICLE 1159, 1162 05

LG FOODS v. AGRAVIADOR (2006)


Short Version: Vallejera was hit and bumped by a van owned by LG Foods. A criminal case filed against
the driver was dismissed because the latter committed suicide. Subsequently, a complaint for civil
damages was filed against LG Foods for the latters failure to exercise due diligence in the selection and
supervision of its employee. LG Foods moved to dismiss the case alleging that under Art. 100 of the RPC,
there must first be a judgment of conviction against the employee before the employer may be held
subsidiarily liable. SC ruled that LG Foods is not being made to account for subsidiary liability under Art.
103 of the RPC. The civil case was a negligence suit brought under Art. 2176/2180 of the Civil Code, which
impose direct and immediate liability on the part of the employer.
Facts: Charles Vallereja, 7-yr old, died after having been hit by a Ford Fiera van owned by LG Foods Corp.
A criminal complaint (Reckless Imprudence resulting to Homicide) filed against the van driver was
dismissed when then latter committed suicide.
Procedure:
- Spouses Vallereja (parents) filed a complaint for civil damages against LG Foods Corp. and its general
manager (Gabor) as employers of the deceased driver, basically alleging that as such employers, they
failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees.
- LG Foods filed a motion to dismiss. It contended that under Art. 103 of the RPC, there must first be a
judgment of conviction against the driver as a condition sine qua non to hold the employers subsidiarily
liable.
- Trial court denied the motion. CA affirmed.
Issue: WON the complaint for civil damages should be dismissed pursuant to Art. 103 of the RPC. [NO]

Held/Ratio: The civil case is a negligence suit brought under Art. 2176 of the Civil Code, to recover
damages primarily from LG Foods as employer responsible for its negligent driver.
An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to 2 separate civil liabilities on the part of the
offender:
1. Civil liability ex delicto (Art. 100 RPC)
2. Independent civil liabilities, such as those:
a. Not arising from an act or omission complained of as felony;
i. culpa contractual or obligations arising from law;
ii. intentional torts
iii. culpa aquilana (Art. 2176-2194 CC)
b. Where the injured party is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from the
criminal action.
Victims of negligence or their heirs have a choice between an action to enforce the civil liability arising
from culpa criminal under Art. 100 RPC, and an action for quasi-delict (culpa aquilana) under Articles
2176 to 2194 of the Civil Code.
Article 1161 of the Civil Code provides that civil obligation arising from criminal offenses shall be governed
by penal laws subject to Art. 2177 and other Civil Code provisions regulating damages.
o Art. 2177 provides for the alternative remedies the plaintiff may choose from in case the obligation
has the possibility of arising indirectly from the delict/crime or directly from quasi-delict/tort.
o Under Art. 2180 CC, the liability of the employer is direct or immediate. It is not conditioned upon
prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior showing of insolvency of the employee.
In this case, the complaint alleged that the death of the couples minor son was caused by the negligent
act of the driver; and that LG Foods was civilly liable for the negligence of their driver for failing to
exercise the necessary diligence required of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision
of its employees.
o Based on the allegations of the complaint, LG Foods is not being made to account for subsidiary
liability under Art. 103 of the RPC. Had the spouses elected to sue LG Foods based on Art. 103 of
the RPC, they would have alleged the guilt of the driver beyond reasonable doubt. Since there was
no conviction in the criminal case against the driver, precisely because death intervened prior to
the termination of the criminal proceedings, the spouses recourse was, therefore, to sue the
petitioners for their direct and primary liability based on quasi-delict.
o Although the complaint did not explicitly state that the claim for damages was based on quasidelict, the allegations of the complaint clearly imply that quasi-delict was the choice of remedy. This

remedy under Art. 2180 CC is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee
and a prior showing of insolvency of such employee. The liability of the employer is direct or
immediate.
Digested by: Rheg Peralta