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Lainez v Batangas Transportation Co.

Petitioner: Milagros Lainez


Respondent: Batangas Transportation Co.
Ponente: Canizares, J.
FACTS:
1. Lainez boarded the bus of Batangas Transpo in the morning. An
hour later, while the bus was going through the barrio of Calo,
Batangas, it caught fire.
2. The passengers panicked, one of whom is Lainez, who jumped off
the bus and sustained injuries.
3. Two theories were posited which the Court below found to be
improbable nor impossible.
4. Batangas Transpo: the fire was caused by a lighted cigar or
cigarette butts thrown by careless passengers which landed on
empty dried fish baskets.
5. Lainez: the baskets which were oily and ignitable came into contact
with the heated muffler assembly of the bus and caught fire.
6. The defendant, Batangas Transpo, seeks to be absolved from
liability because the fire was caused by a fortuitous event.
ISSUES:

b. There is a presumption of negligence on the part of the


defendant when there is injury unless it can prove that it
observed extra ordinary diligence.
c. The fire in question was not a fortuitous event.
d. The act of passengers or throwing cigarette butts out of a
moving bus setting cargo and the bus afire does not fit into
the term "fortuitous event so as to exempt the carrier from
liability for damages.
e. It is common sense that cigarette butts thrown out of a
moving bus would fall on objects in the bus. These
occurrences can be foreseen and prevented.
f. Batangas Transpo submitted no proof that it exerted any
effort to prevent or avoid such happening. It could have
prohibited passengers from smoking, warned passengers
against throwing the said butts, or placed the baggage at a
place that eliminates the risk of cigars falling on it.
2. Batangas Transpo maintains that Lainez is guilty of negligence
in jumping out of the bus despite the injunction of its driver.
a. The Court ruled that jumping out of the bus is a
rational response to the instinct of self-preservation.
She jumped off as the fire was beginning to consume
the bus.
b. Under the circumstances anyone would have done
exactly what she did.

1. WON Batangas Transpo is liable for damages.


DISPOSITION
RULING + RATIO:
1. Yes. Lainez is clearly a passenger at the time of the incident,
and Batangas Transpo is a common carrier. There was a
contract of carriage.
a. Batangas Transpo was bound to carry her safely as far as
human care and foresight can provide, using the utmost
diligence of a very cautious persons, with a due regard for
all circumstances.

The judgment appealed from, being in accordance with evidence


and the law, is hereby affirmed. Costs against the defendantappellant.
SO ORDERED.