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TORTS AND DAMAGES

1. Fausto Barredo vs Severino Garcia


G.R. No. 48006 - 08 July 1942
Facts:
 A head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate Taxicab driven by
Pedro Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Pedro Dimapilis. The
carretela was overturned, and one of its passengers, 16-year-old boy
Faustino Garcia, suffered injuries from which he died two days later. A
criminal action was filed against Fontanilla and was convicted. The
court in the criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a
separate civil action be reserved. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
sentence of the lower court in the criminal case.
 Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario, parents of the deceased, brought
an action in the Court of First Instance against Fausto Barredo as the
employer of Pedro Fontanilla.
Issue:
 Whether or not the liability of Fausto Barredo is governed by the
Revised Penal Code; hence, his liability is only subsidiary.
Held:
 A quasi-delict or "culpa aquiliana" is a separate legal institution under
the Civil Code, with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is
entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime. Upon this
principle, and on the wording and spirit of article 1903 of the Civil Code,
the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely
anchored.
 A distinction exists between the civil liability arising from a crime and the
responsibility for cuasi-delitos or culpa extra-contractual. The same
negligent act causing damages may produce civil liability arising from a
crime under article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, or create an action
for cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual under articles 1902-1910 of
the Civil Code.
 The Revised Penal Code punishes not only reckless but also simple
negligence; if it should be held that articles 1902-1910, Civil Code,
apply only to negligence not punishable by law, culpa aquiliana would
have very little application in actual life.
 There are numerous cases of criminal negligence which can not be
shown beyond reasonable doubt, but can be proved by a
preponderance of evidence.

2. Ramon Farolan vs Solmac Marketing Corporation


G.R. No. 83589 - 13 March 1991
Facts:
 Upon application for entry of the subject importation, the BOC asked
Respondent for its authority from any government agency to import the
goods described in the bill of lading. Respondent SOLMAC presented a
Board of Investment (BOI) authority for polypropylene film scrap.
However, upon examination of the shipment by the National Institute of
Science and Technology (NIST), it turned out that the fibers of the
importation were oriented in such a way that the materials were
stronger than OPP film scrap. 6 In other words, the Clojus shipment
was not OPP film scrap, as declared by the assignee respondent
SOLMAC to the Bureau of Customs and BOI Governor Lilia R. Bautista,
but oriented polypropylene the importation of which is restricted, if not
prohibited. Considering that the shipment was different from what had
been authorized by the BOI and by law, petitioners Parayno and
Farolan withheld the release of the subject importation.
 Petitioner Ramon Farolan was then the Acting Commissioner of
Customs while petitioner Guillermo Parayno was then the Acting Chief,
Customs Intelligence and Investigation Division. They were thus sued in
their official capacities as officers in the government for the detention of
the goods owned by SMC allegedly for being irregular and devoid of
legal basis, hence, not done in the regular performance of official duty.
 Later, counsel of private respondent wrote to petitioner Commissioner
Farolan of Customs asking for the release of the importation. The
importation was not released, however, on the ground that holes had to
be drilled on them first.
Issue:
 Whether or not the petitioners, who acted in good faith, can be held
liable.
Held:
 Good faith is always presumed and it is upon him who alleges the
contrary that the burden of proof lies. Whatever damage they may have
caused as a result of such an erroneous interpretation, if any at all, is in
the nature of a damnum absque injuria (loss or damage without injury).
Mistakes concededly committed by public officers are not actionable
absent any clear showing that they were motivated by malice of gross
negligence amounting to bad faith.
 Even granting that the petitioners committed a mistake in withholding
the release of the subject importation because indeed it was composed
of OPP films scraps, 20 contrary to the evidence submitted by the
National Institute of Science and Technology that the same was pure
oriented OPP, nonetheless, it is the duty of the Court to see to it that
public officers are not hampered in the performance of their duties or in
making decisions for fear of personal liability for damages due to honest
mistake.

3. Julian Singson vs BPI


G.R. No. L-24837 - 27 June 1968
Facts:
 A civil case was filed against Singson in which judgment had been
rendered sentencing him and his codefendants to pay to the plaintiff
therein Phil. Mining Co. Singson and Lobregat had seasonably
appealed from said judgment, but not Villa-Abrille & Co., as against
which said judgment, accordingly, became final and executory. In due
course, a writ of garnishment was subsequently served upon BPI — in
which the Singsons had a current account — insofar as Villa-Abrille’s
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 plaintiff in the title of the Writ of Garnishment as
a party defendant, without further reading the body of the said
garnishment and informing himself that said garnishment was merely
intented for the deposits of defendant Villa-Abrille & Co., Valentin Teus,
Fernando F. de Villa-Abrille and Joaquin Bona.
 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. Believing that the plaintiff Singson had no more control
over the balance of his deposits in the said bank, the checks were
dishonored and were refused payment by the said bank. After the first
check was returned by the bank to the B.M. Glass Service, the latter
wrote plaintiff Julian C. Singson advising him that his check was not
honored by the bank for the reason that his account therein had already
been garnished.
 Consequently, Singson commenced the present action against the
Bank and its president, Freixas, for damages in consequence of said
illegal freezing of plaintiffs’ account.
Issue:
 Whether or not Defendants may be held liable despite the existence of
a contract between them and the plaintiff.
Held:
 The existence of a contract between the parties does not bar the
commission of a tort by the one against the other and the consequent
recovery of damages. Where the act that breaks the contract may also
be a tort, the contractual relation of the parties does not bar the
recovery of damages.

4. Pedro Elcano vs Reginald Hill


G.R. No. L-24803 - 26 May 1977
Facts:
 For the killing of the son, Agapito, of plaintiffs-appellants, defendant-
appellee Reginald Hill was prosecuted. After due trial, he was acquitted
on the ground that his act was not criminal because of "lack of intent to
kill, coupled with mistake.”
Issue:
 Whether or not the principles of quasi-delicts, Articles 2176 to 2194 of
the civil code, are inapplicable in criminal cases or intentional acts.
Held:
 Article 2176 includes intentional acts. The concept of culpa aquiliana
includes acts which are criminal in character or in violation of the penal
law, whether voluntary or negligent.
 Under Article 2180, The obligation imposed by article 2176 is
demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those
of persons for whom one is responsible. The father and, in case of his
death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible. The father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the
damages caused by the minor children who live in their company." In
the instant case, it is not controverted that Reginald, although married,
was living with his father and getting subsistence from him at the time of
the occurrence in question. Factually, therefore, Reginald was still
subservient to and dependent on his father, a situation which is not
unusual.
 It must be borne in mind that, according to Manresa, the reason behind
the joint and solidary liability of presuncion with their offending child
under Article 2180 is that is the obligation of the parent to supervise
their minor children in order to prevent them from causing damage to
third persons. 5 On the other hand, the clear implication of Article 399,
in providing that a minor emancipated by marriage may not,
nevertheless, sue or be sued without the assistance of the parents, is
that such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter into
transactions or do any act that can give rise to judicial litigation. And
surely, killing someone else invites judicial action. Otherwise stated, the
marriage of a minor child does not relieve the parents of the duty to see
to it that the child, while still a minor, does not give answerable for the
borrowings of money and alienation or encumbering of real property
which cannot be done by their minor married child without their consent.
(Art. 399; Manresa, supra.)

5. US vs Segundo Barias
G.R. No. L-7567 - 12 November 1912
Facts:
 Segundo Barias was a motorman of the Manila Electric Railroad and
Light Company who was under obligation to run the same with due care
and diligence to avoid any accident that might occur to vehicles and
pedestrians who were traveling; said accused, while was driving his car
and stopped it near an intersection to take on some passengers. When
the car stopped, the defendant looked backward, presumably to note
whether all the passengers were aboard, and then started his car. At
that moment Fermina Jose, a child about 3 years old, walked or ran in
front of the car. She was knocked down and dragged some little
distance underneath the car, and was left dead upon the track. The
motorman proceeded with his car to the end of the track, some distance
from the place of the accident, and apparently knew nothing of it until
his return, when he was informed of what happened.
Issue:
 Whether or not the evidence shows such carelessness or want of
ordinary care on the part of the defendant as to amount to reckless
negligence.
Held:
 Reckless negligence consists of the failure to take such precautions or
advance measures in the performance of an act as the most prudence
would suggest whereby injury is caused to persons or to property.
 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.
 The evidence shows that the thoroughfare on which the incident
occurred was a public street in a densely populated section of the city.
The hour was six in the morning, or about the time when the residents
of such streets begin to move about. Under such conditions a motorman
of an electric street car was clearly charged with a high degree of
diligence in the performance of his duties. He was bound to know and
to recognize that any negligence on his part in observing the track over
which he was running his car might result in fatal accidents. He had no
right to assume that the track before his car was clear. It was his duty to
satisfy himself of that fact by keeping a sharp lookout, and to do
everything in his power to avoid the danger which is necessarily incident
to the operation of heavy street cars on public thoroughfares in
populous sections of the city.
 In the general experience of mankind, accidents apparently avoidable
and often inexplicable are unfortunately too frequent to permit us to
conclude that some one must be criminally liable for negligence in every
case where an accident occurs. It is the duty of the prosecution in each
case to prove by competent evidence not only the existence of criminal
negligence, but that the accused was guilty thereof.

6. C.S. Gilchrist v. E.A. Cuddy


G.R. No. L-9356 - 18 February 1915
Facts:
 Cuddy was the owner of the film Zigomar. He rented it to C. S. Gilchrist
for a week for P125. A few days prior to this, Cuddy sent the money
back to Gilchrist, which he had forwarded to him in Manila, saying that
he had made other arrangements with his film. The other arrangements
was the rental to these defendants Espejo and his partner for P350 for
the week and the injunction was asked by Gilchrist against these parties
from showing it for the week.
Issue:
 Whether or not a stranger to a contract may be held liable for damages.
Held:
 The person responsible (tortfeasor) is liable even if he does not know
the identity of the victim. An action for damages can be maintained
against a stranger to a contract wrongfully interfering in its performance.

7. Tomas Bernal vs House and Tacloban Electric


G.R. No. 30741 - 30 January 1930
Facts:
 Fortunata Enverso with her daughter Purificacion Bernal went to attend a
religious celebration. After the procession was over, the woman and her
daughter, accompanied by two other persons by the names of Fausto
and Elias, passed along a public street. The little girl was allowed to get a
short distance in advance of her mother and her friends. When in front of
the offices of the Tacloban Electric & Ice Plant, Ltd., an automobile
appeared from the opposite direction which frightened the child that she
turned to run, with the result that she fell into the street gutter. At that
time there was hot water in this gutter or ditch coming from the Electric &
Ice Plant of J. V. House. When the mother and her companions reached
the child, they found her face downward in the hot water. Her clothes
were immediately removed and then covered with a garment. The girl
was taken to the provincial hospital. Despite efforts to save her, the child
died that same night.
 The doctor who attended the child certified that the cause of death was
"Burns, 3rd Degree, Whole Body," and that the contributory causes were
"Congestion of the Brain and visceras of the chest & abdomen." The
treatment record of the attending nurse was much to the same effect.
Issue:
 Whether or not the Plaintiffs are barred from recovering damages from
the Defendant.
Held:
 If the PROXIMATE cause was still the negligence of the defendant, the
plaintiff can still recover damages, BUT the amount of damages will be
mitigated due to his contributory negligence. The contributory
negligence of the child and her mother, if any, does not operate as a
bar to recovery, but in its strictest sense could only result in reduction of
the damages.

8. Teodora Astudillo vs Manila Electric Co.


G.R. No. 33380 - 17 December 1930
Facts:
 In the street of Intramuros is an electric light pole with the corresponding
wires. The pole presumably was located by the municipal authorities
and conforms in height to the requirements of the franchise of the
Manila Electric Company. The feeder wires are of the insulated type,
known as triple braid weather proof, required by the franchise. The pole
was located close enough to the public place where persons come to
stroll, to rest, and to enjoy themselves. An employee of the City of
Manila, a number of years ago, put up some wire to keep persons from
dirtying the premises, but this wire has fallen down and is no obstacle to
those desiring to make use of the place. No prohibitory signs have been
posted.
 A group of boys or young men came to this public place. Two of them
named Juan Diaz Astudillo and Alejo Ponsoy sauntered over to where
the electric post was situated. They were there looking out towards
Intramuros. For exactly what reason, no one will ever know, but Juan
Diaz Astudillo, placing one foot on a projection, reached out and
grasped a charged electric wire. Death resulted almost instantly.
Issue:
 Whether or not the Defendant company should be held liable.
Held:
 It is well established that the liability of electric light companies for
damages for personal injuries is governed by the rules of negligence.
Such companies are, however, not insurers of the safety of the public.
But considering that electricity is an agency, subtle and deadly, the
measure of care required of electric companies most 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. The poles must be so erected and the wires and
appliances must be so located that persons rightfully near the place will
not be injured. Particularly must there be proper insulation of the wires
and appliances in places where there is probable likelihood of human
contact therewith.

9. Sofia Fernando vs Court of Appeals


G.R. No. 92087 - 08 May 1992
Facts:
 Bibiano Morta, market master of the Agdao Public Market filed a
requisition request with the Chief of Property of the City Treasurer’s
Office for the re-emptying of the septic tank. An invitation to bid was
issued where Feliciano Bascon won. Before signing the purchase order,
however one of the bidders, Bertulano with four other companions were
found dead inside the septic tank. The City Engineer’s office
investigated the case and learned that the five victims entered the
septic tank without clearance from it nor with the knowledge and
consent of the market master. In fact, the septic tank was found to be
almost empty and the victims were presumed to be the ones who did
the re-emptying. Dr. Juan Abear of the City Health Office autopsied the
bodies and in his reports, put the cause of death of all five victims as
`asphyxia’ caused by the diminution of oxygen supply in the body
working below normal conditions. The lungs of the five victims burst,
swelled in hemmorrhagic areas and this was due to their intake of toxic
gas, which, in this case, was sulfide gas produced from the waste
matter inside the septic tank.
Issue:
 Whether or not Respondent Davao City guilty of negligence, and if so, is
such negligence the immediate and proximate cause of deaths of the
victims.
Held:
 To be entitled to damages for an injury resulting from the negligence of
another, a claimant must establish the relation between the omission
and the damage. He must drove under Article 2179 of the New Civil
Code that the defendant’s negligence was the immediate and proximate
cause of his injury. Proximate cause has been defined as 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 (Vda. de Bataclan, Et. Al. v. Medina, 102 Phil.
181, 186). Proof of such relation of cause and effect is not an arduous
one if the claimant did not in any way contribute to the negligence of the
defendant.

10. Preciolita Corliss vs Manila Railroad Co.


G.R. No. L-21291 - 28 March 1969
Facts:
 Ralph W. Corliss Jr., an air police of the Clark Air Force Base was
driving his jeep one midnight to return, together with a P.C. soldier, to
the Base. Upon reaching a railroad, the said jeep collided with a
locomotive of Defendant Manila Railroad Co.
 Teodorico Capili, "\who was at the engine at the time of the mishap
testified that before the locomotive, which had been previously
inspected and found to be in good condition approached, the crossing,
that is, about 300 meters away, he blew the siren and repeated it in
compliance with the regulations until he saw the jeep suddenly spurt
and that although the locomotive was running between 20 and 25
kilometers an hour and although he had applied the brakes, the jeep
was caught in the middle of the tracks.
Issue:
 Whether or not Defendant Manila Railroad Company should be held
liable for the death of Ralph Corliss, the husband of herein Plaintiff.
Held:
 A person in control of an automobile who crosses a railroad, even at a
regular road crossing, and who does not exercise that precaution and
that control over it as to be able to stop the same almost immediately
upon the appearance of a train, is guilty of criminal negligence,
providing a collision occurs and injury results. The accident was caused
by the negligence of the Plaintiff’s husband and she was not allowed to
recover.

11. Jose Amadora vs Court of Appeals


G.R. No. L-47745 - 15 April 1988
Facts:
 During the commencement ceremony of their son, Alfredo Amadora, a
classmate, Pablito Daffon, fired a gun that mortally hit Alfredo which
caused his death. Daffon was convicted of homicide thru reckless
imprudence. Additionally, the herein petitioners, as the victim’s parents,
filed a civil action for damages under Article 2180 of the Civil Code
against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector, the high school
principal, the dean of boys, and the physics teacher, together with
Daffon and two other students, through their respective parents. On
appeal to the respondent court, however, the decision was reversed
and all the defendants were completely absolved. The respondent court
found that Article 2180 was not applicable as the Colegio de San Jose-
Recoletos was not a school of arts and trades but an academic
institution of learning. It also held that the students were not in the
custody of the school at the time of the incident as the semester had
already ended, that there was no clear identification of the fatal gun,
and that in any event the defendants had exercised the necessary
diligence in preventing the injury.
Issue:
 Whether or not the Appellate Court erred in absolving the Defendants
for the death of Alfredo Amadora.
Held:
 The provision in Article 2180 of the Civil Code should apply to all
schools, academic as well as non-academic. Where the school is
academic rather than technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for
the tort committed by the student will attach to the teacher in charge of
such student, following the first part of the provision. This is the general
rule. In other words, teachers in general shall be liable for the acts of
their students except where the school is technical in nature, in which
case it is the head thereof who shall be answerable. There is really no
substantial distinction between the academic and the non-academic
schools insofar as torts committed by their students are concerned. The
same vigilance is expected from the teacher over the students under his
control and supervision, whatever the nature of the school where he is
teaching.
 The student is in the custody of the school authorities as long as he is
under the control and influence of the school and within its premises,
whether the semester has not yet begun or has already ended. As long
as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in
pursuance of a legitimate student objective, in the exercise of a
legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate
student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student
privilege, the responsibility of the school authorities over the student
continues.

12. Radio Communication of the Philippines vs Court of Appeals


G.R. No. L-44748 - 29 August 1986
Facts:
 Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the business of
receiving and transmitting messages. A civil case for damages was filed
against them for libellous matters which were incorporated into the
telegram sent to him. Defendant-corporation as a defense, alleges that
the additional words in Tagalog was a private joke between the sending
and receiving operators and that they were not addressed to or
intended for plaintiff and therefore did not form part of the telegram and
that the Tagalog words are not defamatory. Nobody other than the
operator manned the teletype machine which automatically receives
telegrams being transmitted. The said telegram was detached from the
machine and placed inside a sealed envelope and delivered to plaintiff,
obviously as is. The additional words in Tagalog were never noticed
and were included in the telegram when delivered.
Issue:
 Whether or not RCPI should be held accountable for the damage done
by its employee.
Held:
 To hold that the petitioner is not liable directly for the acts of its
employees in the pursuit of petitioner’s business is to deprive the
general public availing of the services of the petitioner of an effective
and adequate remedy. In most cases, negligence must be proved in
order that plaintiff may recover. However, since negligence may be hard
to substantiate in some cases, we may apply the doctrine of RES IPSA
LOQUITUR (the thing speaks for itself), by considering the presence of
facts or circumstances surrounding the injury.

13. Air France vs Rafael Carrascoso


G.R. No. L-21438 – 28 September 1966
Facts:
 Defendant, Air France, through its authorized agent, Philippine Air
Lines, Inc., issued to plaintiff a ’first class’ round trip airplane ticket from
Manila to Rome. From Manila to Bangkok, plaintiff traveled in ’first
class’, but at Bangkok, the Manager of the defendant airline forced
plaintiff to vacate the ’first class’ seat that he was occupying because, in
the words of the witness Ernesto G. Cuento, there was a ’white man’,
who, the Manager alleged, had a ’better right to the seat. When asked
to vacate his ’first class’ seat, the plaintiff, as was to be expected,
refused, and told defendant’s Manager that his seat would be taken
over his dead body; a commotion ensued, and, according to said
Ernesto G. Cuento, many of the Filipino passengers got nervous in the
tourist class; when they found out that Mr. Carrascoso was having a hot
discussion with the white man [manager], they came all across to Mr.
Carrascoso and pacified Mr. Carrascoso to give his seat.
Issue:
 Whether or not there is sufficient averment in the complaint to justify an
award for moral damages.
Held:
 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. Neglect or malfeasance of the
carrier’s employees, naturally, could give ground for an action for
damages.