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PICART vs. SMITH, JR.

G.R. No. L-12219

March 15, 1918

STREET, J.:

FACTS: On the Carlatan Bridge in La Union. Picart was riding on his pony over said bridge.
Before he had gotten half way across, Smith approached from the opposite direction in an
automobile. As the defendant neared the bridge he saw a horseman on it and blew his horn to
give warning of his approach. He continued his course and after he had taken the bridge he gave
two more successive blasts, as it appeared to him that the man on horseback before him was not
observing the rule of the road.

Picart saw the automobile coming and heard the warning signals. However, being perturbed by
the novelty of the apparition or the rapidity of the approach, he pulled the pony closely up
against the railing on the right side of the bridge instead of going to the left. He says that the
reason he did this was that he thought he did not have sufficient time to get over to the other side.
As the automobile approached, Smith guided it toward his left, that being the proper side of the
road for the machine. In so doing the defendant assumed that the horseman would move to the
other side. Seeing that the pony was apparently quiet, the defendant, instead of veering to the
right while yet some distance away or slowing down, continued to approach directly toward the
horse without diminution of speed. When he had gotten quite near, there being then no
possibility of the horse getting across to the other side, the defendant quickly turned his car
sufficiently to the right to escape hitting the horse; but in so doing the automobile passed in such
close proximity to the animal that it became frightened and turned its body across the bridge, got
hit by the car and the limb was broken. The horse fell and its rider was thrown off with some
violenceAs a result of its injuries the horse died. The plaintiff received contusions which caused
temporary unconsciousness and required medical attention for several days.

From a judgment of the CFI of La Union absolving Smith from liability Picart has appealed.

ISSUE: WON Smith was guilty of negligence such as gives rise to a civil obligation to repair the
damage done

HELD: the judgment of the lower court must be reversed, and judgment is here rendered that the
Picart recover of Smith damages

YES

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 person would have used in
the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. The existence of negligence in a given
case is not determined by reference to the personal judgment of the actor in the situation before
him. The law considers what would be reckless, blameworthy, or negligent in the man of
ordinary intelligence and prudence and determines liability by that. The question as to what
would constitute the conduct of a prudent man in a given situation must of course be always
determined in the light of human experience and in view of the facts involved in the particular
case.

Could a prudent man, in the case under consideration, foresee harm as a result of the course
actually pursued? If so, it was the duty of the actor to take precautions to guard against that harm.
Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by ignoring of the suggestion born of this prevision, is
always necessary before negligence can be held to exist. Stated in these terms, the proper
criterion for determining the existence of negligence in a given case is this: 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 conduct or guarding
against its consequences.

Applying this test to the conduct of the defendant in the present case we think that negligence is
clearly established. A prudent man, placed in the position of the defendant, would in our opinion,
have recognized that the course which he was pursuing was fraught with risk, and would
therefore have foreseen harm to the horse and the rider as reasonable consequence of that course.
Under these circumstances the law imposed on the Smith the duty to guard against the threatened
harm.

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, Smith 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.

UMALI vs. BACANI and SAYNES

G.R. No. L-40570

January 30, 1976

ESGUERRA, J.:

FACTS: a storm with strong rain hit the Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan. During the storm,
the banana plants standing on an elevated ground along the barrio of said municipality and near
the transmission line of the Alcala Electric Plant were blown down and fell on the electric wire.
As a result, the live electric wire was cut, one end of which was left hanging on the electric post
and the other fell to the ground under the fallen banana plants.
On the following morning, the barrio captain who was passing by saw the broken electric wire
and so he warned the people in the place not to go near the wire for they might get hurt. He also
saw Baldomero, a laborer of the Alcala Electric Plant near the place and notified him right then
and there of the broken line and asked him to fix it, but the latter told the barrio captain that he
could not do it but that he was going to look for the lineman to fix it.

Sometime after the barrio captain and Baldomero had left the place, a small boy of 3 years and 8
months old whose house is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the place where the
broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The boy was electrocuted and he subsequently
died. It was only after the electrocution of the child that the broken wire was fixed on the same
morning by the lineman of the electric plant.

Petitioner claims that he could not be liable under the concept of quasi-delict or tort as owner and
manager of the Alcala Electric Plant because the proximate cause of the boys death
electrocution could not be due to any negligence on his part, but rather to a fortuitous event-the
storm that caused the banana plants to fall and cut the electric line-pointing out the absence of
negligence on the part of his employee Baldomero who tried to have the line repaired and the
presence of negligence of the parents of the child in allowing him to leave his house during that
time.

HELD: WON petitioner is guilty of negligence for the death of the child

ISSUE: WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent Court is affirmed.

A careful examination of the record convinces Us that a series of negligence on the part of
defendants employees in the Alcala Electric Plant resulted in the death of the victim by
electrocution.

First, by the very evidence of the defendant, there were big and tall banana plants at the place of
the incident standing on an elevated ground and which were higher than the electric post
supporting the electric line, and yet the employees of the defendant who, with ordinary foresight,
could have easily seen that even in case of moderate winds the electric line would be endangered
by banana plants being blown down, did not even take the necessary precaution to eliminate that
source of danger to the electric line.

Second, even after the employees of the Alcala Electric Plant were already aware of the possible
damage the storm could have caused their electric lines, thus becoming a possible threat to life
and property, they did not cut off from the plant the flow of electricity along the lines, an act they
could have easily done pending inspection of the wires to see if they had been cut.

Third, employee Baldomero was negligent on the morning of the incident because even if he was
already made aware of the live cut wire, he did not have the foresight to realize that the same
posed a danger to life and property, and that he should have taken the necessary precaution to
prevent anybody from approaching the live wire.
On defendants argument that the proximate cause of the victims death could be attributed to the
parents negligence in allowing a child of tender age to go out of the house alone, We could
readily see that because of the aforementioned series of negligence on the part of defendants
employees resulting in a live wire lying on the premises without any visible warning of its lethal
character, anybody, even a responsible grown up or not necessarily an innocent child, could have
met the same fate that befell the victim.. Stated otherwise, even if the child was allowed to leave
the house unattended due to the parents negligence, he would not have died that morning where
it not for the cut live wire he accidentally touched.

Art. 2179 of the Civil Code provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff (parents of the victim
in this case) was only contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being the
defendants lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts shall mitigate the
damages to be awarded. This law may be availed of by the petitioner but does not exempt him
from liability. Petitioners liability for injury caused by his employees negligence is well defined
in par. 4, of Article 2180 of the Civil Code, which states:

The owner and manager of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages
caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on
tile occasion of their functions.

The negligence of the employee is presumed to be the negligence of the employer because the
employer is supposed to exercise supervision over the work of the employees. This liability of
the employer is primary and direct. In fact the proper defense for the employer to raise so that he
may escape liability is to prove that he exercised, the diligence of the good father of the family to
prevent damage not only in the selection of his employees but also in adequately supervising
them over their work. This defense was not adequately proven as found by the trial Court.

Culion Ice v. Philippine Motors (G.R. No. L-


32611)
Facts:

Culion Ice and Fish was the registered owner of the motor schooner, Gwendoline, which it uses
for its fishing trade. In order to save costs in running the boat, Culion Ice decided to have the
engine changed from gasoline consumer to a crude oil burner. Quest, general manager of
Philippine Motors, a domestic corporation engaged in machinery engines and motors, agreed to
do the job. Upon inspection, Quest came to conclusion that a carburetor needed to be installed. In
the course of the work, it was observed that the carburetor was flooding and that the gasoline and
other fuel was trickling freely to the floor but this concern was dismissed by Quest. During the
boats trial run, the engine stopped and upon being started, a back fire occurred which then
instantly spread and finally engulfed Gwendoline. The crew members safely escaped but
Gwendoline was destroyed. Culion Ice moved for the recovery of the damages against Philippine
Motors. The trial court ruled for Culion Ice. Philippine Motor asserts that the accident was not due
to the fault of Quest.

Issue:

Whether or not Quest was negligent.

Ruling: YES.

When a person holds himself out as being competent to do things requiring professional skill,
he will be held liable for negligence if he fails to exhibit the care and skill of one ordinarily
skilled in the particular work which he attempts to do. The proof shows that Quest had had ample
experience in fixing the engines of automobiles and tractors, but it does not appear that he was
experienced in the doing of similar work on boats. For this reason, possibly the dripping of the
mixture form the tank on deck and the flooding of the carburetor did not convey to his mind an
adequate impression of the danger of fire. But a person skilled in that particular sort of work
would, we think have been sufficiently warned from those circumstances (risks) to cause him
to take greater and adequate precautions against the danger. In other words Quest did not use
the skill that would have been exhibited by one ordinarily expert in repairing gasoline engines on
boats. There was here, in our opinion, on the part of Quest, a blameworthy antecedent inadvertence
to possible harm, and this constitutes negligence. The burning of the Gwendoline may be said to
have resulted from accident, but this accident was in no sense an unavoidable accident. It would
not have occurred but for Quests carelessness or lack of skill. The test of liability is not whether
the injury was accidental in a sense, but whether Quest was free from blame.

Transportation Case Digest: Cangco v. MRR


(1918)
G.R. No. L-12191 October 14, 1918
Lessons Applicable: Legal Effect (Transportation)

FACTS:

January 20, 1915 around 7 to 8 p.m.: Jose Cangco arose from his seat in the
2nd class-car where he was riding and, making, his exit through the door,
took his position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail
with his right hand for support
As the train slowed down another passenger and also an employee of the
railroad company Emilio Zuiga got off the same car alighting safely at the
point where the platform begins to rise from the level of the ground.
When the train had proceeded a little farther Cangco stepped off but 1 or both of his feet
came in contact with a sack of watermelons so his feet slipped from under him and he fell
violently on the platform.
o His body rolled from the platform and was drawn under the moving car, where his
right arm was badly crushed and lacerated.
the car moved forward possibly 6 meters before it came to a full stop
He was bought to the hospital in the city of Manila where an examination was
made and his arm was amputated
o operation was unsatisfactory so he had second operation at another
hospital was performed and the member was again amputated higher
up near the shoulder expending a total of P790.25
It is customary season for harvesting these melons and a large lot had been
brought to the station for the shipment to the market
CFI: favored Manila Railroad Co. (MRR)- Cangco had failed to use due
caution in alighting from the coach and was therefore precluded form
recovering

ISSUE: W/N MRR should be held liable.

HELD: YES. lower court is reversed, and judgment is hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of
P3,290.25

It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad company were
guilty of negligence. It necessarily follows that the defendant company is
liable for the damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is barred by the
plaintiff's own contributory negligence.
In resolving this problem it is necessary that each of these conceptions of
liability, to-wit, the primary responsibility of the defendant company and the
contributory negligence of the plaintiff should be separately examined
Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex
contractu, but only to extra-contractual obligations or to use the technical
form of expression, that article relates only to culpa aquiliana and not
to culpa contractual
o article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of negligence
which constitute the breach of a contract
two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the negligence of a servant or
employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part
of the master or employer either in selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision
over him after the selection, or both; and (2) that that presumption is juris tantum and
not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the
employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision he has
exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the presumption is overcome
and he is relieved from liability.
As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of extra-contractual culpa, a
suing creditor should assume the burden of proof of its existence, as the only
fact upon which his action is based; while on the contrary, in a case of
negligence which presupposes the existence of a contractual obligation, if the
creditor shows that it exists and that it has been broken, it is not necessary
for him to prove negligence.
The test by which to determine whether the passenger has been guilty of
negligence in attempting to alight from a moving railway train, is that of
ordinary or reasonable care. It is to be considered whether an ordinarily
prudent person, of the age, sex and condition of the passenger, would have
acted as the passenger acted under the circumstances disclosed by the
evidence. This care has been defined to be, not the care which may or should
be used by the prudent man generally, but the care which a man of ordinary
prudence would use under similar circumstances, to avoid injury.
o Women, it has been observed, as a general rule are less capable than
men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as the nature of
their wearing apparel obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again,
it may be noted that the place was perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as
it was his daily custom to get on and of the train at this station. There
could, therefore, be no uncertainty in his mind with regard either to
the length of the step which he was required to take or the character
of the platform where he was alighting. Our conclusion is that the
conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the train was yet
slightly under way was not characterized by imprudence and that
therefore he was not guilty of contributory negligence.
at the time of the accident, was earning P25 a month as a copyist clerk, and
that the injuries he has suffered have permanently disabled him from
continuing that employment. Defendant has not shown that any other gainful
occupation is open to plaintiff. His expectancy of life, according to the standard mortality
tables, is approximately thirty-three years. We are of the opinion that a fair compensation
for the damage suffered by him for his permanent disability is the sum of P2,500, and that
he is also entitled to recover of defendant the additional sum of P790.25 for medical
attention, hospital services, and other incidental expenditures connected with the treatment
of his injuries.
PRECIOLITA V. CORLISS vs. THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY
G.R. No. L-21291
March 28, 1969
FACTS: Ralph Corliss Jr. was an air police of the Clark Air Force Base. The jeep he was
driving while accompanied with a P.C. soldier, collided with a locomotive of Manila
Railroad Company (MRC) close to midnight at the railroad crossing in Balibago,
Angeles, Pampanga, in front of the Clark Air Force Base. Corliss Jr. died of serious burns
at the hospital the next day, while the soldier sustained serious physical injuries and
burns.
In the decision appealed from, the lower court, after summarizing the evidence,
concluded that the deceased in his eagerness to beat, so to speak, the oncoming
locomotive, took the risk and attempted to reach the other side, but unfortunately he
became the victim of his own miscalculation.
The negligence imputed to MRC was thus ruled out by the lower court, satisfactory proof
to that effect, in its opinion, being lacking. Hence this appeal direct to us, the amount
sought in the concept of damages reaching the sum of P282,065.40.
ISSUE: WON the lower courts decision is erroneous
HELD: The decision of the lower court dismissing the complaint, is affirmed.
NO
The lower court judgment has in its favor the presumption of correctness. It is entitled to
great respect. In the absence of compelling reasons, [the factual] determination is best left
to the trial judge why had the advantage of hearing the parties testify and observing their
demeanor on the witness stand.
But more importantly, this action is predicated on negligence, the Civil Code making
clear that whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being negligence,
is under obligation to pay for the damage done. Unless it could be satisfactorily shown,
therefore, that MRC was guilty of negligence then it could not be held liable. The crucial
question, therefore, is the existence of negligence.
Negligence was defined by us in two 1912 decisions, United States v. Juanillo and United
States v. Barias. Cooley formulation was quoted with approval in both the Juanillo and
Barias decisions. Thus: Judge Cooley in his work on Torts (3d ed.), Sec. 1324, defines
negligence to be:
The failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of
care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstance justly demand whereby such other
person suffers injury.
There was likewise a reliance on Ahern v. Oregon Telephone Co. Thus:
Negligence is want of the care required by the circumstances. It is a relative or
comparative, not an absolute term and its application depends upon the situation of the
parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably require.
Where the danger is great, a high degree of care is necessary, and the failure to observe it
is a want of ordinary care under the circumstances.
To repeat, by such a test, no negligence could be imputed to MRC and the action of
Corliss must necessarily fail. The facts being what they are, compel the conclusion that
the liability sought to be fastened on MRC had not arisen.
Finally, each and every case on questions of negligence is to be decided in accordance
with the peculiar circumstances that present themselves. There can be no hard and fast
rule. There must be that observance of that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance
which the situation demands.

LILIUS, ET AL. vs. THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY

G.R. No. L-39587

March 24, 1934

FACTS: Lilius was driving with his wife and daughter for sightseeing in Pagsanjan Laguna. It
was his first time in the area and he was entirely unacquainted with the conditions of the road
and had no knowledge of the existence of a railroad crossing. Before reaching the crossing in
question, there was nothing to indicate its existence and, it was impossible to see an approaching
train. At about seven or eight meters from the crossing the plaintiff saw an autotruck parked on
the left side of the road. Several people, who seemed to have alighted from the said truck, were
walking on the opposite side. He slowed down and sounded his horn for the people to get out of
the way. With his attention thus occupied, he did not see the crossing but he heard two short
whistles. Immediately afterwards, he saw a huge black mass fling itself upon him, which turned
out to be locomotive No. 713 of the MRCs train. The locomotive struck the plaintiffs car right
in the center. The 3 victims were injured and were hospitalized.

Lilus filed a case against MRC in the CFI. Answering the complaint, it denies each and every
allegation thereof and, by way of special defense, alleges that the Lilius, with the cooperation of
his wife and coplaintiff, negligently and recklessly drove his car, and prays that it be absolved
from the complaint.

The CFI decided in favor of Lilius. The 2 parties appealed said decision, each assigning errors on
said judgement.

ISSUE:

1. WON Manila Railroad Company is liable for damages


2. WON the sums of money fixed by the court a quo as indemnities for damages proper

1. Injuries sutained by Lilius


2. for injuries sustained by wife and child
3. for loss of domestic service of wife to husband

HELD: The judgment appealed from is affirmed in toto, with the sole modification on interest to
be added on the indemnity in favor of Lilius.

1. YES

Upon examination of the oral as well as of the documentary evidence, this court is of the opinion
that the accident was due to negligence on the part of the defendant-appellant company alone, for
not having had on that occasion any semaphore at the crossing to serve as a warning to passers-
by of its existence in order that they might take the necessary precautions before crossing the
railroad; and, on the part of its employees the flagman and switchman, for not having
remained at his post at the crossing in question to warn passers-by of the approaching train

Although it is probable that the defendant-appellant entity employed the diligence of a good
father of a family in selecting its aforesaid employees, however, it did not employ such diligence
in supervising their work and the discharge of their duties. The diligence of a good father of a
family, which the law requires in order to avoid damage, is not confined to the careful and
prudent selection of subordinates or employees but includes inspection of their work and
supervision of the discharge of their duties.

2.
a. With respect to the plaintiffs appeal, the first question to be decided is that raised by Lilius
relative to the insufficiency of the sum of P5,000 which the trial court adjudicated to him by way
of indemnity for damages consisting in the loss of his income as journalist and author as a result
of his illness. As to the amount of P10,000 claimed by Lilius as damages for the loss of his
wifes services in his business, which services consisted in going over his writings, translating
them into foreign languages and acting as his secretary, in addition to the fact that such services
formed part of the work whereby he realized a net monthly income of P1,500, there is no
sufficient evidence of the true value of said services nor to the effect that he needed them during
her illness and had to employ a translator to act in her stead.

b. Taking into consideration the fact that the wife in the language of the court, which saw her
at the trial young and beautiful and the big scar, which she has on her forehead caused by the
lacerated wound received by her from the accident, disfigures her face and that the fracture of
her left leg has caused a permanent deformity which renders it very difficult for her to walk, and
taking into further consideration her social standing, neither is the sum adjudicated to her for
patrimonial and moral damages, excessive.

As to the indemnity in favor of the child neither is the same excessive, taking into consideration
the fact that the lacerations received by her have left deep scars that permanently disfigure her
face and that the fractures of both her legs permanently render it difficult for her to walk freely,
continuous extreme care being necessary in order to keep her balance in addition to the fact that
all of this unfavorably and to a great extent affect her matrimonial future.

c. Lilius also seeks to recover the sum of P2,500 for the loss of what is called Anglo-Saxon
common law consortium of his wife, that is, her services, society and conjugal
companionship, as a result of personal injuries which she had received from the accident now
under consideration.

Under the law and the doctrine of this court, one of the husbands rights is to count on his wifes
assistance. This assistance comprises the management of the home and the performance of
household duties. However, nowadays when women, in their desire to be more useful to society
and to the nation, are demanding greater civil rights and are aspiring to become mans equal in
all the activities of life, marriage has ceased to create the presumption that a woman complies
with the duties to her husband and children, which the law imposes upon her, and he who seeks
to collect indemnity for damages resulting from deprivation of her domestic services must prove
such services. In the case under consideration, apart from the services of his wife as translator
and secretary, the value of which has not been proven, Lilius has not presented any evidence
showing the existence of domestic services and their nature, rendered by her prior to the
accident, in order that it may serve as a basis in estimating their value.

Furthermore, inasmuch as a wifes domestic assistance and conjugal companionship are purely
personal and voluntary acts which neither of the spouses may be compelled to render, it is
necessary for the party claiming indemnity for the loss of such services to prove that the person
obliged to render them had done so before he was injured and that he would be willing to
continue rendering them had he not been prevented from so doing
NOTES:

However, in order that a victim of an accident may recover indemnity for damages from the
person liable therefor, it is not enough that the latter has been guilty of negligence, but it is also
necessary that the said victim has not, through his own negligence, , contributed to the accident.

It appears that Lilius took all precautions which his skill and the presence of his wife and child,
driving his car at a speed which prudence demanded according to the circumstances and
conditions of the road, slackening his speed in the face of an obstacle and blowing his horn upon
seeing persons on the road. If he failed to stop, look and listen before going over the crossing, in
spite of the fact that he was driving at 12 miles per hour after having been free from obstacles, it
was because, his attention having been occupied in attempting to go ahead, he did not see the
crossing in question, nor anything, nor anybody indicating its existence, as he knew nothing
about it beforehand. The first and only warning, which he received of the impending danger, was
two short blows from the whistle of the locomotive immediately preceding the collision and
when the accident had already become inevitable.

Vda. da Bataclan v. Medina

Facts:

The deceased Juan Bataclan was among the passengers of Medina


Transportation, driven by Conrado Saylon and operated by Mariano Medina.
On its way from Cavite to Pasay, the front tires burst and the vehicle fell into a
canal. Some passengers were able to escape by themselves or with some help,
while there were 4, including Bataclan, who could not get out. Their cries were
heard in the neighbourhood. Then there came about 10 men, one of them
carrying a torch. As they approached the bus, it caught fire and the passengers
died. The fire was due to gasoline leak and the torch. Salud Villanueva Vda. de
Bataclan, in her name and on behalf of her 5 minor children, sought to claim
damages from the bus company. The CFI favored the plaintiff, and the Court of
Appeals forwarded the case to the Supreme Court due to the amount involved.

Issue:

What was the proximate cause of the death of Juan and the other passengers?

Held:

We agree with the trial court that the case involves a breach of contract of
transportation for hire, the Medina Transportation having undertaken to carry
Bataclan safely to his destination, Pasay City. We also agree with the trial court
that there was negligence on the part of the defendant, through his agent, the
driver Saylon. There is evidence to show that at the time of the blow out, the bus
was speeding, as testified to by one of the passengers, and as shown by the fact
that according to the testimony of the witnesses, including that of the defense,
from the point where one of the front tires burst up to the canal where the bus
overturned after zig-zaging, there was a distance of about 150 meters. The
chauffeur, after the blow-out, must have applied the brakes in order to stop the
bus, but because of the velocity at which the bus must have been running, its
momentum carried it over a distance of 150 meters before it fell into the canal
and turned turtle.

There is no question that under the circumstances, the defendant carrier is


liable. The only question is to what degree. A satisfactory definition of
proximate cause is found in Volume 38, pages 695-696 of American
jurisprudence, cited by plaintiffs-appellants in their brief. It is as follows:

. . . 'that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any


efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result
would not have occurred.' And more comprehensively, 'the proximate legal
cause is that acting first and producing the injury, either immediately or by
setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and continuous
chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as
a natural and probable result of the cause which first acted, under such
circumstances that the person responsible for the first event should, as an
ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have reasonable ground to expect
at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some person might
probably result therefrom.

In the present case under the circumstances obtaining in the same, we do not
hesitate to hold that the proximate cause was the overturning of the bus, this
for the reason that when the vehicle turned not only on its side but completely
on its back, the leaking of the gasoline from the tank was not unnatural or
unexpected; that the coming of the men with a lighted torch was in response to
the call for help, made not only by the passengers, but most probably, by the
driver and the conductor themselves, and that because it was dark (about 2:30
in the morning), the rescuers had to carry a light with them, and coming as they
did from a rural area where lanterns and flashlights were not available; and
what was more natural than that said rescuers should innocently approach the
vehicle to extend the aid and effect the rescue requested from them. In other
words, the coming of the men with a torch was to be expected and was a natural
sequence of the overturning of the bus, the trapping of some of its passengers
and the call for outside help. What is more, the burning of the bus can also in
part be attributed to the negligence of the carrier, through is driver and its
conductor. According to the witness, the driver and the conductor were on the
road walking back and forth. They, or at least, the driver should and must have
known that in the position in which the overturned bus was, gasoline could and
must have leaked from the gasoline tank and soaked the area in and around the
bus, this aside from the fact that gasoline when spilled, specially over a large
area, can be smelt and directed even from a distance, and yet neither the driver
nor the conductor would appear to have cautioned or taken steps to warn the
rescuers not to bring the lighted torch too near the bus.

[G.R. No. 53401. November 6, 1989.] THE ILOCOS NORTE ELECTRIC COMPANY,
petitioner, vs. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, (First Division) LILIAN JUAN LUIS,
JANE JUAN YABES, VIRGINIA JUAN CID, GLORIA JUAN CARAG, and PURISIMA
JUAN, respondents.

FACTS:
in the evening of June 28 until the early morning of June 29, 1967 a strong typhoon by
the code name "Gening" buffeted the province of Ilocos Norte, bringing heavy rains and
consequent flooding in its wake. Between 5:30 and 6:00 A.M. on June 29, 1967, after
the typhoon had abated and when the floodwaters were beginning to recede, the
deceased Isabel Lao Juan, fondly called Nana Belen, ventured out of the house of her
son-in-law, Antonio Yabes, on No. 19 Guerrero Street, Laoag City, and proceeded
northward towards the direction of the Five Sisters Emporium, of which she was the
owner and proprietress, to look after the merchandise therein that might have been
damaged. Wading in waistdeep flood on Guerrero, the deceased was followed by Aida
Bulong, a Salesgirl at the Five Sisters Grocery, also owned by the deceased, and by
Linda Alonzo Estavillo, a ticket seller at the YJ Cinema, which was partly owned by the
deceased. Aida and Linda walked side by side at a distance of between 5 and 6 meters
behind the deceased. Suddenly, the deceased screamed "Ay" and quickly sank into the
water. The two girls attempted to help, but fear dissuaded them from doing so because
on the spot where the deceased sank they saw an electric wire dangling from a post
and moving in snake-like fashion in the water. Upon their shouts for help, Ernesto dela
Cruz came out of the house of Antonio Yabes. Ernesto tried to go to the deceased, but
at four meters away from her he turned back shouting that the water was grounded.
Aida and Linda prodded Ernesto to seek help from Antonio Yabes at the YJ Cinema
building which was four or five blocks away.
When Antonio Yabes was informed by Ernesto that his mother-in-law had been
electrocuted, he acted immediately. With his wife Jane, together with Ernesto and one
Joe Ros, Yabes passed by the City Hall of Laoag to request the police to ask the people
of defendant Ilocos Norte Electric Company or INELCO to cut off the electric current.
Then the party waded to the house on Guerrero Street. The floodwater was receding
and the lights inside the house were out indicating that the electric current had been cut
off in Guerrero. Yabes instructed his boys to fish for the body of the deceased. The
body was recovered about two meters from an electric post.

In another place, at about 4:00 AM. on that fateful date, June 29, 1967, Engineer
Antonio Juan, Power Plant Engineer of the National Power Corporation at the Laoag
Diesel-Electric Plant, noticed certain fluctuations in their electric meter which indicated
such abnormalities as grounded or short-circuited lines. Between 6:00 and 6:30 A.M.,
he set out of the Laoag NPC Compound on an inspection. On the way, he saw
grounded and disconnected lines. Electric lines were hanging from the posts to the
ground. Since he could not see any INELCO lineman, he decided to go to the INELCO
Office at the Life Theatre on Rizal Street by way of Guerrero.

At about 8:10 A.M., Engr. Juan went out of the compound again on another inspection
trip. Having learned of the death of Isabel Lao Juan, he passed by the house of the
deceased at the corner of Guerrero and M.H. del Pilar streets to which the body had
been taken.

In the afternoon of the same day, he went on a third inspection trip preparatory to the
restoration of power. The dangling wire he saw on Guerrero early in the morning of
June 29, 1967 was no longer there.
An action for damages in the aggregate amount of P250,000 was instituted by the heirs
of the deceased with the aforesaid CFI on June 24, 1968.

Defenses:
(1) electric service system of the INELCO in the whole franchise area did not suffer from
any defect that might constitute a hazard to life and property.
(2) service lines, devices and other INELCO equipment in Area No. 9 had been newly-
installed prior to the date in question.
(3) installed safety devices to prevent and avoid injuries to persons and damage to
property in case of natural calamities such as floods, typhoons, fire and others.
(4) 12 linesmen charged with the duty of making a round-the-clock check-up of the
areas respectively assigned to them.
(5) deceased could have died simply either by drowning or by electrocution due to
negligence attributable only to herself and not to petitioner.
(6) deceased, without petitioner's knowledge, caused the installation of a burglar
deterrent by connecting a wire from the main house to the iron gate and fence of steel
matting, thus, charging the latter with electric current whenever the switch is on.

DECISION OF LOWER COURTS:


(1) CFI Ilocos Norte: defendant is hereby sentenced to pay plaintiffs

ISSUE:
Whether INELCO is liable

RULING:
Yes.

PETITIONER NOT EXONERATED AS VICTIM'S DEATH IS CAUSED BY ITS


NEGLIGENCE. The respondent CA acted correctly in disposing the argument that
petitioner be exonerated from liability since typhoons and floods are fortuitous events.
While it is true that typhoons and floods are considered Acts of God for which no person
may be held responsible, it was not said eventuality which directly caused the victim's
death. It was through the intervention of petitioner's negligence that death took place.

Under the circumstances of the case, petitioner was negligent in seeing to it that no
harm is done to the general public". . . 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" (Astudillo vs. Manila
Electric, 55 Phil. 427). The negligence of petitioner having been shown, it may not now
absolve itself from liability by arguing that the victim's death was solely due to a
fortuitous event. "When an act of God combines or concurs with the negligence of the
defendant to produce an injury, the defendant is liable if the injury would not have
resulted but for his own negligent conduct or omission" (38 Am. Jur., p. 649).

A PERSON WHO VOLUNTARILY ASSENTS TO A KNOWN DANGER MUST ABIDE


BY THE CONSEQUENCES; EXCEPTIONS. The maxim "volenti non fit injuria"
(To a willing person, injury is not done) relied upon by petitioner finds no application
in the case at bar. It is imperative to note the surrounding circumstances which impelled
the deceased to leave the comforts of a roof and brave the subsiding typhoon. As
testified by Linda Alonzo Estavillo and Aida Bulong the deceased, accompanied by the
former two, were on their way to the latter's grocery store "to see to it that the goods
were not flooded." As such, shall We punish her for exercising her right to protect her
property from the floods by imputing upon her the unfavorable presumption that she
assumed the risk of personal injury? Definitely not. For it has been held that a person is
excused from the force of the rule, that when he voluntarily assents to a known danger
he must abide by the consequences, if an emergency is found to exist or if the life or
property of another is in peril (65A C.S.C. Negligence (174(5), p. 301), or when he
seeks to rescue his endangered property (Harper and James, "The Law of Torts." Little,
Brown and Co., 1956, v. 2, p. 1167). Clearly, an emergency was at hand as the
deceased's property, a source of her livelihood, was faced with an impending loss.
Furthermore, the deceased, at the time the fatal incident occurred, was at a place where
she had a right to be without regard to petitioner's consent as she was on her way to
protect her merchandise. Hence, private respondents, as heirs, may not be barred from
recovering damages as a result of the death caused by petitioner's negligence.

"When a storm occurs that is liable to prostrate the wires, due care requires prompt
efforts to discover and repair broken lines" (Cooley on Torts, 4th ed., v. 3, p. 474). The
fact is that when Engineer Antonio Juan of the National Power Corporation set out in the
early morning of June 29, 1967 on an inspection tour, he saw grounded and
disconnected lines hanging from posts to the ground but did not see any INELCO
lineman either in the streets or at the INELCO office. The foregoing shows that
petitioner's duty to exercise extraordinary diligence under the circumstance was not
observed, confirming the negligence of petitioner.

Singson vs BPI

23 SCRA 1117

FACTS: Singson, was one of the defendants in a civil case, in which judgment had been
rendered sentencing him and his co-defendants therein Lobregat and Villa-Abrille & Co., to pay
a sum of money to the plaintiff therein. Said judgment became final and executory as only
against Ville-Abrille for its failure to file an appeal. A writ of garnishment was subsequently
served upon BPI in which the Singsons had a current account insofar as Villa-Abrilles
credits against the Bank were concerned.

Upon receipt of the said Writ of Garnishment, a clerk of the bank, upon reading the name of the
Singson in the title of the Writ of Garnishment as a party defendants, without further reading the
body and informing himself that said garnishment was merely intended for the deposits of
defendant Villa-Abrille & Co., et al, prepared a letter informing Singson of the garnishment of
his deposits by the plaintiff in that case.

Subsequently, two checks issued by the plaintiff Julian C. Singson, one in favor of B. M. Glass
Service and another in favor of the Lega Corporation, were dishonored by the bank. B. M. Glass
Service then wrote to Singson that the check was not honored by BPI because his account therein
had already been garnished and that they are now constrained to close his credit account with
them.

Singson wrote to BPI, claiming that his name was not included in the Writ of Execution and
Notice of Garnishment, which was served upon the bank. The defendants lost no time to rectify
the mistake that had been inadvertently committed.

Thus this action for damages.

ISSUE: WON the existence of a contract between the parties bars a plaintiffs claim for damages
based on torts?
HELD: NO. The existence of a contract between the parties does not bar the commission of a
tort by the one against the order and the consequent recovery of damages therefore. Indeed, this
view has been, in effect, reiterated in a comparatively recent case. Thus, in Air France vs.
Carrascoso, involving an airplane passenger who, despite his first-class ticket, had been illegally
ousted from his first-class accommodation and compelled to take a seat in the tourist
compartment, was held entitled to recover damages from the air-carrier, upon the ground of tort
on the latters part, for, although the relation between a passenger and a carrier is contractual
both in origin and nature the act that breaks the contract may also be a tort.

In view, however, of the facts obtaining in the case at bar, and considering, particularly, the
circumstance, that the wrong done to the plaintiff was remedied as soon as the President of the
bank realized the mistake he and his subordinate employee had committed, the Court finds that
an award of nominal damages the amount of which need not be proven in the sum of
P1,000, in addition to attorneys fees in the sum of P500, would suffice to vindicate plaintiffs
rights.

Air France vs Rafael Carrascoso


In March 1958, Rafael Carrascoso and several other Filipinos were tourists en route to Rome
from Manila. Carrascoso was issued a first class round trip ticket by Air France. But during a
stop-over in Bangkok, he was asked by the plane manager of Air France to vacate his seat
because a white man allegedly has a better right than him. Carrascoso protested but when
things got heated and upon advise of other Filipinos on board, Carrascoso gave up his seat and
was transferred to the planes tourist class.

After their tourist trip when Carrascoso was already in the Philippines, he sued Air France for
damages for the embarrassment he suffered during his trip. In court, Carrascoso testified, among
others, that he when he was forced to take the tourist class, he went to the planes pantry where
he was approached by a plane purser who told him that he noted in the planes journal the
following:

First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the captain
refused to intervene

The said testimony was admitted in favor of Carrascoso. The trial court eventually awarded
damages in favor of Carrascoso. This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.

Air France is assailing the decision of the trial court and the CA. It avers that the issuance of a
first class ticket to Carrascoso was not an assurance that he will be seated in first class because
allegedly in truth and in fact, that was not the true intent between the parties.

Air France also questioned the admissibility of Carrascosos testimony regarding the note made
by the purser because the said note was never presented in court.

ISSUE 1: Whether or not Air France is liable for damages and on what basis.
HELD 1: Yes. It appears that Air Frances liability is based on culpa-contractual and on culpa
aquiliana.

Culpa Contractual

There exists a contract of carriage between Air France and Carrascoso. There was a contract to
furnish Carrasocoso a first class passage; Second, That said contract was breached when Air
France failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok; and Third, that there was bad faith
when Air Frances employee compelled Carrascoso to leave his first class accommodation
berth after he was already, seated and to take a seat in the tourist class, by reason of which he
suffered inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing him mental anguish,
serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation, resulting in moral damages.

The Supreme Court did not give credence to Air Frances claim that the issuance of a first class
ticket to a passenger is not an assurance that he will be given a first class seat. Such claim is
simply incredible.

Culpa Aquiliana

Here, the SC ruled, even though there is a contract of carriage between Air France and
Carrascoso, there is also a tortuous act based on culpa aquiliana. Passengers do not contract
merely for transportation. They have a right to be treated by the carriers employees with
kindness, respect, courtesy and due consideration. They are entitled to be protected against
personal misconduct, injurious language, indignities and abuses from such employees. So it is,
that any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a passenger gives the
latter an action for damages against the carrier. Air Frances contract with Carrascoso is one
attended with public duty. The stress of Carrascosos action is placed upon his wrongful
expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the Air France a case of quasi-delict. Damages
are proper.