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S.D. Martinez and his wife, Carmen Ong de Martinez, plaintiffs and appellees, vs.

William Van Buskirk, defendant and appellant Facts: Both parties agree that on the 11th day of September, 1908, Carmen Ong de Martinez, was riding a carromata in Ermita, Manila. When a delivery wagon owned by the defendant which was used for the transportation of fodder and to which two horses are attached, was coming from the opposite direction, the carromata in which the plaintiff was seated went close to the sidewalk in order to let the delivery wagon pass by. However, instead of passing by, the horses ran into the carromata occupied by the plaintiff with her child and overturned it, causing a serious cut upon the plaintiffs head and injuring the carromata. However, the defendant contends that the cochero, who was driving his delivery wagon at the time of the accident, was actually a good servant and was considered a safe and reliable cochero. He also claims that the cochero was tasked to deliver some forage at Calle Herran, and for that purpose the defendants employee tied the driving lines of the horses to the front end of the delivery wagon for the purpose of unloading the forage to be delivered. However, a vehicle passed by the driver and made noises that frightened the horses causing them to run. The employee failed to stop the horses since he was thrown upon the ground. From the stated facts, the court ruled that the defendant was guilty of negligence. The court specifically cited a paragraph of Article 1903 of the Civil Code: Finally, masters of directors or arts and trades are liable for the damages caused by their pupils or apprentices while they are under their custody. Hence, this is appeal to reverse such decision. Issue: Whether or not the employer, who has furnished a gentle and tractable team (of horses) and a trusty and capable driver, is liable for the negligence of such driver. Held: It was held that the cochero of the defendant was not negligent in leaving the horses in the manner described by the evidence in this case. It is believed that acts or performances which, in a long time, have not been destructive and which are approved by the society, are considered as custom. Hence, they cannot be

considered as unreasonable or imprudent. The reason why they have been permitted by the society is that they are beneficial rather that prejudicial. One could not easily hold someone negligent because of some act that led to an injury or accident. It would be unfair therefore to render the cochero negligent because of such circumstances. The court holds that it is a universal practice of merchants during that time to deliver products through horse-drawn vehicles; and it is also considered universal practice to leave the horses in the manner in which they were left during the accident. It has been practiced for a long time and generally has not been the cause of accidents or injuries The judgment is therefore reversed.