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SOUTHERN LINES INC vs CA

and CITY OF ILOILO


FACTS:

- The City of Iloilo requisitioned for rice from the National Rice and Corn Corporation (NARIC).
- NARIC shipped 1,726 sacks of rice consigned to the City of Iloilo on board of SS General Wright
belong to Southern Lines.
- The City of Iloilo received the shipment and paid the amount stated in the bill of lading (around
Php 63K).
- However, at the bottom of the bill of lading, it was noted that City of Iloilo received the
merchandise in the same condition as when shipped, except that it received only 1,685 sacks.
- Upon actual weighing, it was discovered that the shortage was equal to 41 sacks of rice.
- Thus, the City of Iloilo filed a complaint against NARIC and Southern Lines for the recovery of the
value of the shortage of the shipment of rice (Php 6,486.35).
- The lower court absolved NARIC but sentenced Southern Lines to pay the amount.
- CA affirmed.
- Hence, this petition for review.
- Southern Lines claims exemption from liability by contending that the shortage in the shipment of
rice was due to such factors as shrinkage, leakage or spillage of the rice on account of the bad
condition of the sacks at the time it received the same and negligence of the agents of City of Iloilo in
receiving the shipment.

ISSUES:

- Whether Southern Lines is liable for the loss or shortage of the rice shipped.YES
- Whether the City of Iloilo is precluded from filing an action for damages on account of its failure to
present a claim within 24 hours from receipt of the shipment as stated in the bill of lading.NO

HELD:

- YES. The SC held that the contention of Southern Lines with respect to the improper packing is
untenable.Under Art. 361 of the Code of Commerce, the carrier, in order to free itself from liability,
was only obliged to prove that the damages suffered by the goods were “by virtue of the nature or
defect of the articles.” Under Art. 362, the plaintiff, in order to hold the defendant liable, was obliged
to prove that the damages to the goods is by virtue of their nature, occurred on account of its
negligence or because the defendant did not take the precaution adopted by careful persons.It held
that if the fact of improper packing is known to the carrier or his servants, or apparent upon ordinary
observation, but it accepts the goods notwithstanding such condition, it is not relieved of liability for
loss or injury resulting therefrom.
- NO. The SC noted that Southern Lines failed to plead this defense in its answer to City of Iloilo’s
complaint and, therefore, the same is deemed waived and cannot be raised for the first time.The SC
also cited the finding of the CA that City of Iloilo filed the action within a reasonable time; that the
action is one for the refund of the amount paid in excess, and not for damages or the recovery of
shortage; the bill of lading does not at all limit the time for the filing of action for the refund of money
paid in excess.

Ganzon V. CA (1988)
G.R. No. L-48757 May 30, 1988
Lessons Applicable: Actionable Document
Laws Cited: Art. 1736,Art. 1734

FACTS: Gelacio > Ganzon (via Capt. Niza) > Lighter “Batman” (common
carrier) (loaded half)
 November 28, 1956: Gelacio Tumambing (Gelacio) contracted the services of of
Mauro B. Ganzon to haul 305 tons of scrap iron from Mariveles, Bataan, to the port
of Manila on board the light LCT “Batman”
 December 1, 1956: Gelacio delivered the scrap iron to Filomeno Niza, captain of the
lighter, for loading which was actually begun on the same date by the crew of the
lighter under the captain’s supervisor.
 When about half of the scrap iron was already loaded, Mayor Jose Advincula of
Mariveles, Bataan arrived and demanded P5000 from Gelacio
 Upon resisting, the Mayor fired at Gelacio so he had to be taken to the hospital
 Loading of the scrap iron was resumed
 December 4, 1956: Acting Mayor Basilio Rub (Rub), accompanied by 3 policemen,
ordered captain Filomeno Niza and his crew to dump the scrap iron where the
lighter was docked
 Later on Rub had taken custody of the scrap iron
 RTC: in favor of Gelacio and against Ganzon
ISSUE: W/N Ganzon should be held liable under the contract of carriage

HELD: YES. Petition is DENIED.


 Ganzon thru his employees, actually received the scraps is freely admitted.
 Pursuant to Art. 1736, such extraordinary responsibility would cease only upon the
delivery, actual or constructive, by the carrier to the consignee, or to the person
who has a right to receive them.
 The fact that part of the shipment had not been loaded on board the lighter did not
impair the said contract of transportation as the goods remained in the custody and
control of the carrier, albeit still unloaded.
 failed to show that the loss of the scraps was due to any of the following causes
enumerated in Article 1734 of the Civil Code, namely:

(1) Flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or calamity;


(2) Act of the public enemy in war, whether international or civil;
(3) Act or omission of the shipper or owner of the goods;
(4) The character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers;
(5) Order or act of competent public authority.
Hence, the petitioner is presumed to have been at fault or to have acted negligently.
 By reason of this presumption, the court is not even required to make an express
finding of fault or negligence before it could hold the petitioner answerable for the
breach of the contract of carriage.
 exempted from any liability had he been able to prove that he observed
extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods in his custody, according to
all the circumstances of the case, or that the loss was due to an unforeseen event or
to force majeure. As it was, there was hardly any attempt on the part of the
petitioner to prove that he exercised such extraordinary diligence.
 We cannot sustain the theory of caso fortuito - "order or act of competent public
authority"(Art. 1174 of the Civil Code)
 no authority or power of the acting mayor to issue such an order was given in
evidence. Neither has it been shown that the cargo of scrap iron belonged to the
Municipality of Mariveles.
 Ganzon was not duty bound to obey the illegal order to dump into the sea the scrap
iron.
 Moreover, there is absence of sufficient proof that the issuance of the same order
was attended with such force or intimidation as to completely overpower the will of
the petitioner's employees. The mere difficulty in the fullfilment of the obligation is
not considered force majeure.

Del Prado v. Meralco


Facts:

Teodorico Florenciano, Meralco’s motorman, was driving the company’s street car
along Hidalgo Street. Plaintiff Ignacio Del Prado ran across the street to catch the
car. The motorman eased up but did not put the car into complete stop. Plaintiff was
able to get hold of the rail and step his left foot when the car accelerated. As a result,
plaintiff slipped off and fell to the ground. His foot was crushed by the wheel of the
car. He filed a complaint for culpa contractual.

Issues:

(1) Whether the motorman was negligent

(2) Whether Meralco is liable for breach of contract of carriage

(3) Whether there was contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff

Held:
(1) We may observe at the outset that there is no obligation on the part of a street
railway company to stop its cars to let on intending passengers at other points than
those appointed for stoppage. Nevertheless, although the motorman of this car was
not bound to stop to let the plaintiff on, it was his duty to do no act that would have
the effect of increasing the plaintiff's peril while he was attempting to board the car.
The premature acceleration of the car was, in our opinion, a breach of this duty.

(2) The relation between a carrier of passengers for hire and its patrons is of a
contractual nature; and a failure on the part of the carrier to use due care in carrying
its passengers safely is a breach of duty (culpa contractual). Furthermore, the duty
that the carrier of passengers owes to its patrons extends to persons boarding the
cars as well as to those alighting therefrom.

Where liability arises from a mere tort (culpa aquiliana), not involving a breach of
positive obligation, an employer, or master, may exculpate himself by proving that
he had exercised due diligence to prevent the damage; whereas this defense is not
available if the liability of the master arises from a breach of contractual duty (culpa
contractual). In the case before us the company pleaded as a special defense that it
had used all the diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage suffered
by the plaintiff; and to establish this contention the company introduced testimony
showing that due care had been used in training and instructing the motorman in
charge of this car in his art. But this proof is irrelevant in view of the fact that the
liability involved was derived from a breach of obligation.

(3) It is obvious that the plaintiff's negligence in attempting to board the moving car
was not the proximate cause of the injury. The direct and proximate cause of the
injury was the act of appellant's motorman in putting on the power prematurely.
Again, the situation before us is one where the negligent act of the company's servant
succeeded the negligent act of the plaintiff, and the negligence of the company must
be considered the proximate cause of the injury. The rule here applicable seems to be
analogous to, if not identical with that which is sometimes referred to as the doctrine
of "the last clear chance." In accordance with this doctrine, the contributory
negligence of the party injured will not defeat the action if it be shown that the
defendant might, by the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the
consequences of the negligence of the injured party. The negligence of the plaintiff
was, however, contributory to the accident and must be considered as a mitigating
circumstance.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-19161 April 29, 1966

MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY, petitioner,


vs.
MACARIA BALLESTEROS, TIMOTEO CAMAYO, JOSE REYES and JULIAN MAIMBAN,
JR., respondents.

Gov't Corp. Counsel S. M. Gopengco and Atty. R. G. Fernando, for petitioner.


George G. Arbolario, for respondents.

MAKALINTAL, J.:

In civil case No. 45968 of the Court of First Instance of Manila (Macaria Ballesteros, Timoteo
Camayo, Jose Reyes and Julian Maimban, Jr. vs. Manila Railroad Company) the defendant was
adjudged to pay damages in the following amounts: P2,400 to Macaria Ballesteros; P4,000 to
Timoteo Camayo; P3,000 to Jose Reyes: and P2,000, plus P1,000 as attorney's fees, to Julian
Maimban, Jr.

The defendant appealed from the judgment, but upon motion by the plaintiffs, the trial court, by order
dated October 14, 1961, dismissed the appeal on the ground that it was "manifestly and palpably
frivolous and interposed ostensibly to delay the settlement of the just and reasonable claims of the
herein plaintiffs, which have been pending since 1958." The defendant moved to reconsider, and
upon denial of its motion instituted in this Court the instant petition for mandamus to set aside the
order of dismissal and to order respondent court to give due course to the appeal.

In filing the petition directly with this Court, petitioner evidently intended to raise only questions of law
in the appeal contemplated, since under Rule 41, section 15, "when erroneously a motion to dismiss
an appeal is granted or a record on appeal is disallowed by the trial court, a proper petition
for mandamus may be filed in the appellate court;" and under section 17(6) of the Judiciary Act this
Court may review on appeal only questions of law in civil cases decided by inferior courts unless the
value in controversy exceeds P200,000. 1äwphï1.ñët

The fact that an appeal is frivolous and interposed only for purposes of delay has been recognized
as a valid ground to deny issuance of the writ of mandamus to compel the trial court to approve and
certify the appeal. In De la Cruz vs. Blanco and Quevedo, 73 Phil. 596, We held:

And where as in the instant case, the dismissal has been ordered by the trial court, it would
not be disturbed in the Appellate Court if the latter finds the appeal to have been interposed
ostensibly for delay. It has been held that a frivolous appeal is one presenting no justiciable
question or one so readily cognizable as devoid of merit on the face of the record that there
is little, if any, prospect that it can over succeed. The instant case is one such instance in
which the appeal is evidently without merit, taken manifestly for delay.

And in Paner vs. Yatco, 87 Phil. 271, We denied the writ prayed for and held that "while strictly and
legally speaking the petition may be granted, we may, before acting thereon, inquire into the facts
involved in order to determine whether once the writ is granted and the case is brought up here on
appeal the appellant has any chance, even possibility, of having the basic decision of the trial court
set aside or modified; for if the appellant has not that prospect or likelihood then the granting of the
writ and the consequent appeal would be futile and would mean only a waste of time to the parties
and to this Court."

The material facts, as found by respondent court in its decision, are as follows: Private respondents
here, plaintiffs below, were passengers on petitioner's bus, the driver of which was Jose Anastacio.
In Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, Anastacio stopped the bus and got off to replace a defective spark
plug. While he was thus engaged, one Dionisio Abello, an auditor assigned to defendant company
by the General Auditing Office, took the wheel and told the driver to sit somewhere else. With Abello
driving, the bus proceeded on its way, from time to time stopping to pick up passengers. Anastacio
tried twice to take the wheel back but Abello would not relinquish it. Then, in the language of the trial
court, "while the bus was negotiating between Km. posts 328 and 329 (in Isabela) a freight truck ...
driven by Marcial Nocum ... bound for Manila, was also negotiating the same place; when these two
vehicles were about to meet at the bend of the road Marcial Nocum, in trying to evade several holes
on the right lane, where his truck was running, swerved his truck towards the middle part of the road
and in so doing, the left front fender and left side of the freight truck smashed the left side of the bus
resulting in extensive damages to the body of the bus and injuries to seventeen of its passengers, ...
including the plaintiffs herein."

In rejecting petitioner's contention that the negligence of Marcial Nocum could not be imputed to it
and relieved it from liability, the trial court found that Dionisio Abello "was likewise reckless when he
was driving the bus at the rate of from 40 to 50 kilometers per hour on a bumpy road at the moment
of the collision."

Another defense put up by petitioner is that since Abello was not its employee it should not be held
responsible for his acts. This defense was correctly overruled by the trial court, considering the
provisions of Article 1763 of the Civil Code and section 48 (b) of the Motor Vehicle Law, which
respectively provide as follows:

Art. 1763. A common carrier is responsible for injuries suffered by a passenger on account of
the wilfull acts or negligence of other passengers or of strangers, if the common carrier's
employees through the exercise of the diligence of a good father of a family could have
prevented or stopped the act or omission.

Sec. 48(b). No professional chauffeur shall permit any unlicensed person to drive the motor
vehicle under his control, or permit a person, sitting beside him or in any other part of the car,
to interfere with him in the operation of the motor vehicle, by allowing said person to take
hold of the steering wheel, or in any other manner take part in the manipulation or control of
the car.

It appears further, and so the trial court found, that there were negotiations between the parties to
compromise the case, as a result of which respondents herein, plaintiffs below, considerably
reduced their claims to the amounts subsequently awarded in the judgment; that petitioner had in
fact settled the claims of the other passengers who were also injured in the same accident and even
the claim for damages filed in another action by the owner of the freight truck; and that the
Government Corporate Counsel himself, who represents herein petitioner, rendered two separate
opinions (Op. No. 86, May 19, 1960; and Op. No. 99, series of 1961) wherein, after analyzing the
facts and the law applicable, he reached the conclusion that the acts of the bus personnel,
particularly "in allowing Mr. Abello to drive despite two occasions when the bus stopped and the
regular driver could have taken over, constitute reckless imprudence and wanton injurious conduct
on the part of the MRR employees." On the basis of those opinions the Government Corporate
Counsel advised petitioner that the offer of the claimants was reasonable and should be accepted.
His advice, however, was not favorably acted upon, petitioner obviously preferring to litigate.

The issues proposed to be taken up on appeal, as set forth in the petition, are whether or not
Dionisio Abello acted with reckless negligence while driving petitioner's bus at the time of the
accident, and whether or not petitioner may be held liable on account of such negligence,
considering that he was not its employee. These are no longer justiciable questions which would
justify our issuing the peremptory writ prayed for. The first is a question of fact on which the
affirmative finding of respondent court is not reviewable by Us; and the second is one as to which
there can be no possible doubt in view of the provisions of the Civil Code and of the Motor Vehicle
Law hereinbefore cited. There would be no point in giving the appeal due course.

The writ prayed for is denied, with costs against petitioner.

PAL v. Court of Appeals 226 SCRA 423

Facts:

Zapatos purchased a ticket from Philippine Air Lines (PAL) wherein it was agreed that the
latter would transport him to Ozamiz City. The plane’s route was from Cebu-Ozamiz-
Cotabato. However, due to unfavoarable weather conditions and the fact that PAL did not
have an all-weather airport, PAL had bypassed Ozamiz City. PAL then informed Zapatos of
his options, to return to Cebu on the same day, or take the next flight to Cebu the following
day, or to take the next available flight to Ozamiz City. Zapatos chose to return to Ozamiz
City on the same day. However, there were only six (6) seats available and, the seats were
given to the passengers according to their check-in sequence at Cebu. Consequently,
Zapatos was stranded in Cotabato City, where a battle between the government and the
Muslims was ongoing.

During his stay in Cotabato City, PAL also failed to provide accomodations for Zapatos. It
also refused to have the latter hitch a ride with its employees on a ford truck bound for the
City. It also failed to return Zapatos’ luggage.

This prompted Zapatos to file a complaint for damages against Philippine Air Lines for
breach of contract.

PAL claimed that it should not be charged with the task of looking after the passengers'
comfort and convenience because the diversion of the flight was due to a fortuitous event,
and that if made liable, an added burden is given to PAL which is over and beyond its duties
under the contract of carriage.

Issue:

w/n the occurrence of a fortuitous event extinguished PAL’s duty to observe extraordinary
diligence towards its passengers?

Ruling:
No. The SC ruled in favor of Zapatos.

The contract of air carriage is a peculiar one. Being imbued with public interest, the law
requires common carriers to carry the passengers safely as far as human care and foresight
can provide, using the utmost diligence of very cautious persons, with due regard for all the
circumstances. 20 In Air France v. Carrascoso, 21 we held that —

A contract to transport passengers is quite different in kind and degree from


any other contractual relation. And this, because of the relation which an air
carrier sustains with the public. Its business is mainly with the travelling
public. It invites people to avail of the comforts and advantages it offers. The
contract of air carriage, therefore, generates a relation attended with a public
duty . . . . ( emphasis supplied).

The position taken by PAL in this case clearly illustrates its failure to grasp the exacting
standard required by law. Undisputably, PAL's diversion of its flight due to inclement
weather was a fortuitous event. Nonetheless, such occurrence did not terminate
PAL's contract with its passengers. Being in the business of air carriage and the
sole one to operate in the country, PAL is deemed equipped to deal with situations
as in the case at bar. What we said in one case once again must be stressed, i.e., the
relation of carrier and passenger continues until the latter has been landed at the
port of destination and has left the carrier's premises. 22 Hence, PAL necessarily
would still have to exercise extraordinary diligence in safeguarding the comfort,
convenience and safety of its stranded passengers until they have reached their
final destination. On this score, PAL grossly failed considering the then ongoing battle
between government forces and Muslim rebels in Cotabato City and the fact that the private
respondent was a stranger to the place.