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Savellano v Northwest Airlines Skipped hotel breakfast; flight to be boarded

won't be direct to Mla; being bumped off made


Petitioners were passengers of respondent airline wife nervous, took valium
and their contract of carriage with the latter was
for the San Francisco-Tokyo(Narita)-Manila
ights. Petitioners claimed, however, that this Northwest failed to show a "case of necessity" for
itinerary was not followed when the aircraft used changing the stopping place from Tokyo to Los
for the first segment of the journey developed Angeles and Seoul. It is a fact that some of the
engine trouble. They had to make a stop to Seattle passengers on the distressed ight continued on to
and stay their overnight. Petitioners likewise the Tokyo (Narita) connecting place. No
claimed that the contents of their baggage which explanation whatsoever was given to petitioners
was not allowed to be placed inside the as to why they were not similarly allowed to do
passengers' baggage compartment were stolen. so. It may be that the Northwest connecting ight
Consequently, petitioners led a case for damages from Seattle to Tokyo to Manila could no longer
which was decided by the trial court in their favor. accommodate them. Yet it may also be that there
On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the were other carriers that could have
decision of the trial court. accommodated them for these sectors of their
journey, and whose route they might have
The change of petitioners' ight itinerary does not preferred to the more circuitous one unilaterally
fall under the situation covered by the phrase chosen for them by respondent.
"may alter or omit stopping places shown in the
ticket in case of necessity." A case of necessity Damages: There is no persuasive evidence that
must rst be proven. The burden of proving it they were maliciously singled out to y the
necessarily fell on respondent. This responsibility Seattle-Los Angeles-Seoul-Manila route. It
it failed to discharge. Respondent failed to show appears that the passengers of the distressed ight
a case of necessity for changing the stopping were randomly divided into two groups. One
place from Tokyo to Los Angeles and Seoul. group was made to take the Tokyo-Manila ight;
Thus, respondent committed a breach of the and the other, the Los Angeles-Seoul-Manila
contract of carriage. ight. The selection of who was to take which
flight was handled via the computer reservation
However, the Court ruled that moral damages system, which took into account only the
cannot be awarded in the case at bar because of passengers' final destination
the absence of bad faith, ill will, malice or wanton
conduct on the part of respondent. Neither are The records show that respondent was impelled
exemplary damages proper in the present case by sincere motives to get petitioners to their nal
because respondent has not been proven to have destination by whatever was the most expeditious
acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, course — in its judgment, if not in theirs. Though
oppressive or malevolent manner. Nevertheless, they claim that they were not accommodated on
the Court awarded nominal damages to Flight 27 from Seattle to Tokyo because
petitioners. Nominal damages are recoverable if respondent had taken on Japanese passengers,
no actual, substantial or speci c damages were petitioners failed to present convincing evidence
shown to have resulted from the breach. to back this allegation. In the absence of
convincing evidence, we cannot find respondent
Things to take note of: Victorino Savellano guilty of bad faith.
(Savellano) was a Cabugao, Ilocos Sur mayor for
many terms, former Chairman of the Commission In the present case, we must consider that
on Elections and Regional Trial Court (RTC) petitioners suffered the inconvenience of having
judge. His wife, [Petitioner] Virginia is a to wake up early after a bad night and having to
businesswoman and operates several rural banks miss breakfast; as well as the fact that they were
in Ilocos Sur. business class passengers. They paid more for
better service; thus, rushing them and making the explosion of the new tire may not be
them miss their small comforts was not a trivial considered a fortuitous event. There are human
thing. We also consider their social and of official factors involved in the situation. The fact that the
status. tire was new did not imply that it was entirely free
from manufacturing defects or that it was
Yobido v CA properly mounted on the vehicle. Neither may the
fact that the tire bought and used in the vehicle is
Tito and Leny Tumboy and their minor children, of a brand name noted for quality, resulting in the
Ardee and Jasmin, boarded at Mangagoy, Surigao conclusion that it could not explode within five
del Sur, a Yobido bus bound for Davao City. days' use. Be that as it may, it is settled that an
Along Picop road in Km. 17, Sta. Maria, Agusan accident caused either by defects in the
del Sur. The winding road it traversed was not automobile or through the negligence of its driver
cemented and was wet due to the rain; it was is not a caso fortuito that would exempt the carrier
rough with crushed rocks. The bus which was full from liability for damages.
of passengers had cargoes on top. Since it was
"running fast," she cautioned the driver to slow Having failed to discharge its duty to overthrow
down but he merely stared at her through the the presumption of negligence with clear and
mirror. At around 3:30 p.m., in Trento, she heard convincing evidence, petitioners are hereby held
something explode and immediately, the bus fell liable for damages. Article 1764 19 in relation to
into a ravine. The left front tire of the bus Article 2206 20 of the Civil Code prescribes the
suddenly exploded. The bus fell into a ravine amount of at least three thousand pesos as
around three (3) feet from the road and struck a damages for the death of a passenger. Under
tree which resulted in the death of Tito Tumboy prevailing jurisprudence, the award of damages
and physical injuries to other passengers. under Article 2206 has been increased to fifty
Thereafter, a complaint for breach of contract of thousand pesos (P50,000.00).
carriage, damages and attorney's fees was filed by
Leny and her children against Alberta Yobido, Moral damages are generally not recoverable in
the owner of the bus, and Cresencio Yobido, its culpa contractual except when bad faith had been
driver in the RTC. After trial, the lower court proven. However, the same damages may be
rendered a decision dismissing the action for lack recovered when breach of contract of carriage
of merit ruling that the cause for the blowout was results in the death of a passenger, 22 as in this
a mystery. Respondents appealed to the Court of case. Exemplary damages, awarded by way of
Appeals, which reversed trial court and awarded example or correction for the public good when
plaintiffs the sum of P50,000.00 for the death of moral damages are awarded, may likewise be
Tito Tumboy, P30,000.00 in moral damages, and recovered in contractual obligations if the
P7,000.00 for funeral and burial expenses.. defendant acted in wanton, fraudulent, reckless,
oppressive, or malevolent manner. 24 Because
Respondents appeal by asserting that the tire petitioners failed to exercise the extraordinary
blowout that caused the death of Tito Tumboy diligence required of a common carrier, which
was a caso fortuito. resulted in the death of Tito Tumboy, it is deemed
to have acted recklessly. As such, private
respondents shall be entitled to exemplary
As a rule, when a passenger boards a common damages. SC affirms + 20k exemplary
carrier, he takes the risks incidental to the mode
of travel he has taken. After all, a carrier is not an Singson v CA
insurer of the safety of its passengers and is not
bound absolutely and at all events to carry them Carlos Singson and his cousin Crescentino
safely and without injury. 9 However, when a Tiongson bought from Cathay Pacific Airways,
passenger is injured or dies, while traveling, the Ltd. (CATHAY), at its Metro Manila ticket outlet
law presumes that the common carrier is two open-dated, identically routed, round trip
negligent. Under the circumstances of this case, plane tickets for the purpose of spending their
vacation in the United States. Each ticket undergone by reason of the defendant's culpable
consisted of six flight coupons corresponding to action. 18 There is no hard-and-fast rule in the
their itinerary. The procedure was that at the start determination of what would be a fair amount of
of each leg of the trip a flight coupon moral damages since each case must be governed
corresponding to the particular sector of the travel by its own peculiar facts.
would be removed from the ticket booklet so that
at the end of the trip no more coupon would be
left in the ticket booklet. After staying in Los
Angeles for about three weeks they decided to Smith Bell
return to the Philippines. While Tiongson easily
got a booking for the flight, Singson was not as Catalino Borja, customs inspector of the Bureau
lucky. It was discovered that there has been a of Customs, was assigned to inspect petitioner's
switch in the flight coupon that was detached in vessel, M/T King Family, which was due to arrive
his ticket booklet which caused delay for his at the port of Manila on September 24, 1987. At
return to Manila. Singson commenced an action about 11 o'clock in the morning on September 24,
for damages against Cathay before the Regional 1987, while the vessel was unloading chemicals
Trial Court of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The trial court unto the two barges owned by respondent ITTC,
rendered a decision in favor of petitioner holding a sudden explosion occurred setting the vessels
that Cathay was guilty of gross negligence afire. Respondent Borja was at that time inside
amounting to malice and bad faith for which it the cabin preparing reports. As a result of the fire
was adjudged to pay petitioner actual damages and explosion, respondent Borja suffered
with interest at the legal rate, moral damages, damages and injuries. His attending physician
exemplary damages, attorney's fees, and, to pay diagnosed respondent Borja to be permanently
the costs. On appeal by Cathay, the Court of disabled. Hence, for injuries suffered, respondent
Appeals reversed the trial court's finding that Borja asked for damages. However, both
there was gross negligence amounting to bad faith petitioner and respondent ITTC denied liabilities
or fraud and, accordingly, modified its judgment and attributed to each other negligence.
by deleting the awards for moral and exemplary Thereafter, the Regional Trial Court found that
damages and attorney's fees the fire and the explosion had originated from
petitioner's vessel. It, therefore, held petitioner
P20,000.00 for actual damages; P500,000.00 for liable for damages and loss of income.
moral damages, P400,000.00 for exemplary
damages, P100,000.00 for attorney's fees, and, to P495,360.00 as actual damages for loss of
pay the costs. earning capacity:
The amount of P100,000.00 for moral damages;
and
The amount of P50,000.00 for and as reasonable
However, the P500,000.00 moral damages and attorney's fees.
P400,000.00 exemplary damages awarded by the
trial court have to be reduced. The well- The Court found the petitioner negligent. While
entrenched principle is that the grant of moral knowing that their vessel was carrying dangerous
damages depends upon the discretion of the court inflammable chemicals — alkyl benzene and
based on the circumstances of each case. 16 This methyl methacrylate monomer — its officers and
discretion is limited by the principle that the crew failed to take all the necessary precautions
"amount awarded should not be palpably and to prevent an accident. The Court held that the
scandalously excessive" as to indicate that it was owner or the person in possession and control of
the result of prejudice or corruption on the part of a vessel and the vessel are liable for all natural
the trial court. 17 Damages are not intended to and proximate damage caused to persons and
enrich the complainant at the expense of the property by reason of negligent management or
defendant. They are awarded only to alleviate the navigation. Hence, the decision of the Court of
moral suffering that the injured party had Appeals was affirmed by the Court, but with
modification with respect to the amount of actual net earnings, not gross earnings, are to be
damages for loss of earning capacity. SEHACI considered; that is, the total of the earnings less
expenses necessary in the creation of such
earnings or income, less living and other
Petitioner insists that Borja is not entitled to the incidental expenses. When there is no showing
full amount of damages awarded by the lower that the living expenses constituted a smaller
courts. It disputes the use of his gross earning as percentage of the gross income, we fix the living
basis for the computation of the award for loss of expenses at half of the gross income
earning capacity. Both courts, in computing the
value of such loss, used the remaining years of the Counsel for Respondent Borja is also correct in
victim as a government employee and the amount saying that life expectancy should not be based on
he had been receiving per annum at the time of the retirement age of government employees,
the incident. which is pegged at 65.In calculating the life
Counsel for Respondent Borja, on the other hand, expectancy of an individual for the purpose of
claims that petitioner had no cause to complain, determining loss of earning capacity under
because the miscomputation had ironically been Article 2206(1) of the Civil Code, it is assumed
in its favor. The multiplier used in the that the deceased would have earned income even
computation was erroneously based on the after retirement from a particular job.
remaining years in government service, instead of
the life expectancy, of the victim.. Borja's counsel Respondent Borja should not be situated
also points out that the award was based on the differently just because he was a government
former's meager salary in 1987, or about 23 years employee. Private employees, given the
ago when the foreign exchange was still P14 to retirement packages provided by their companies,
$1. usually retire earlier than government employees;
yet, the life expectancy of the former is not
Both parties have a point. In determining the pegged at 65 years.Respondent Borja's demise
reasonableness of the damages awarded under earlier than the estimated life span is of no
Article 1764 in conjunction with Article 2206 of moment. For purposes of determining loss of
the Civil Code, the factors to be considered are: earning capacity, life expectancy remains at 80.
(1) life expectancy (considering the health of the Otherwise, the computation of loss of earning
victim and the mortality table which is deemed capacity will never become final, being always
conclusive) and loss of earning capacity; (b) subject to the eventuality of the victim's death.
pecuniary loss, loss of support and service; and The computation should not change even if Borja
(c) moral and mental sufferings. 19 The loss of lived beyond 80 years.
earning capacity is based mainly on the number
of years remaining in the person's expected life Damages in the amount of P320,240 as loss of
span. In turn, this number is the basis of the earning capacity, moral damages in the amount of
damages that shall be computed and the rate at P100,000, plus another P50,000 as attorney's
which the loss sustained by the heirs shall be fees.
fixed.

Petitioner is correct in arguing that it is net


income (or gross income less living expenses)
which is to be used in the computation of the
award for loss of income. he amount recoverable
is not the loss of the entire earning, but rather the
loss of that portion of the earnings which the
beneficiary would have received." Hence, in
fixing the amount of the said damages, the
necessary expenses of the deceased should be
deducted from his earnings.In other words, only