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Republic v.

Luzon Stevedoring Corporation

G.R. No. L-21749 | 29 September 1967 | Reyes, JBL, J.

Fortuitous events must be those which are impossible to foresee or avoid. The mere difficulty to foresee the
happening is not impossibility to foresee the same.

1. Barge L-1892 (boat), owned by Luzon Stevedoring Corp. or LSC (defendant) was being towed down
the Pasig River by two tugboats also owned by LSC. The barge rammed against one of the wooden
piles of Nagtahan bailey bridge, smashing the posts and causing the bridge to tilt.
2. During this time, there was heavy rain and the river’s current was swift.
3. The Republic (plaintiff) sued LSC seeking that defendant be ordered to pay the actual cost of the
bridge’s repair.
4. Lower court held LSC liable for damages.
5. LSC disclaimed liability, and stressed that precautions were taken by it and that the incident was
caused by a fortuitous event
6. Precautions done by LSC:
a. Assigned two of its most powerful tugboats to tow down the barge
b. Assigned its most competent and experienced patrons to do the task
c. Double checked and inspected the towlines, equipment and engines
d. Instructed its patrons to take extra precautions

W/N the collision of LSC’s barge was caused by a fortuitous event? – NO.

SC held that fortuitous events are extraordinary events not foreseeable or avoidable, “events that could
not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen were inevitable. It must be one that is impossible to foresee
or avoid, and that mere difficulty to foresee the event is not impossibility to foresee the same.

The precautions taken by LSC is proof that the possibility of danger was not only foreseeable but was
actually foreseen by the defendant, thus, it was not a fortuitous event. LSC knew the danger that was
impending considering the state of the river, yet it voluntarily entered such a situation. By doing this, it
assumed the risk and therefore cannot shed itself of any responsibility.

Further, SC noted that the Nagtahan bridge was an immovable which provided adequate openings for
passage of water crafts. It is clear that if LSC observed proper care and diligence the incident could have
been avoided.

Decision of lower court is AFFIRMED.

Relevant Provisions: