You are on page 1of 12


Concept of Torts

Essentially, tort consists in the violation of a right given or the omission of a duty imposed by law. Simply stated, tort is a breach of a legal duty. (Naguiat v. NLRC, G.R. No. 116123, March 3, 1997) The act that breaks the contract may also be a tort (Air France v. Carrascoso, L-21438, September 28, 1996) A. Elements of Torts or Quasi-Delict

Article 2176 provides the elements of a tort or quasi-delict: 1) that there is an act or omission; 2) presence of fault or negligence (lack of due care); 3) damage to another; 4) causal connection between the fault or negligence and the damage; 5) there are no preexisting contractual relations



It is the omission of that degree of diligence, which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponding to the circumstances of the persons, time and place (Art 1173, NCC)


Kinds of Negligence

Culpa Aquiliana (quasi-delict; Article 2176) Culpa Criminal Culpa Contractual D. Quasi-Delict distinguished from other sources of obligation

Article 1178: Sources of obligations: 1) Law 2) Contracts 3) Quasi-contracts 4) Acts or Omissions punished by law 5) Quasi-Delicts


Civil liability in Quasi-Delict vs. Civil liability in Delict Art 2176 NCC vs. Art 365/100 RPC

Civil Code Article 20 Every person who, contrary to law, willfully or negligently causes damage to another, shall indemnify the latter for the same. Article 2176 Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. Article 2177 Responsibility for fault or negligence under the preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from civil liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the plaintiff cannot recover the damages twice for the same act or omission of the defendant. Article 2178 The provisions of Articles 1172 to 1174 are also applicable to a quasi-delict. Article 1173 The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of the persons, of the time, and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of Articles 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply. Article 2201, paragraph 2: In cause of fraud, bad faith, malice or wanton attitude, the obligor shall be responsible for all damages, which may be reasonably attributed to the nonperformance of the obligation. Articles 1170 to 1174 Article 1170 Those who in the performance of their obligations are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay, and those who in any manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages. Article 1171 Responsibility arising from fraud is demandable in all obligations. Any waiver of an action for future fraud is void.

Article 1172

Responsibility arising from negligence in the performance of every kind of obligation is also demandable, but such liability may be regulated by the courts, according to the circumstances. Article 1174 Except in cases expressly specified by the law, or when it is otherwise declared by stipulation, or when the nature of the obligation requires the assumption of risk, no person shall be responsible for those events which, could not be foreseen, or which, though foreseen, were inevitable. Revised Penal Code Article 365 Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. Any person who, by reckless imprudence, shall commit any act which, had it been intentional, would constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its maximum period to prision correccional in its medium period; if it would have constituted a less grave felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum and medium periods shall be imposed; if it would have constituted a light felony, the penalty of arresto menor in its maximum period shall be imposed. Any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall commit an act which would otherwise constitute a grave felony, shall suffer the penalty of arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods; if it would have constituted a less serious felony, the penalty of arresto mayor in its minimum period shall be imposed. When the execution of the act covered by this article shall have only resulted in damage to the property of another, the offender shall be punished by a fine ranging from an amount equal to the value of said damages to three times such value, but which shall in no case be less than twenty-five pesos. A fine not exceeding two hundred pesos and censure shall be imposed upon any person who, by simple imprudence or negligence, shall cause some wrong which, if done maliciously, would have constituted a light felony. In the imposition of these penalties, the court shall exercise their sound discretion, without regard to the rules prescribed in Article sixty-four. The provisions contained in this article shall not be applicable: 1. When the penalty provided for the offense is equal to or lower than those provided in the first two paragraphs of this article, in which case the court shall impose the penalty next lower in degree than that which should be imposed in the period which they may deem proper to apply. 2. When, by imprudence or negligence and with violation of the Automobile Law, to death of a person shall be caused, in which case the defendant shall be punished by prision correccional in its medium and maximum periods. Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but without malice, doing or falling to do an act from which material damage results by reason of inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing of failing to perform such act, taking into consideration his employment or occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition and other circumstances regarding persons, time and place.

Simple imprudence consists in the lack of precaution displayed in those cases in which the damage impending to be caused is not immediate nor the danger clearly manifest. The penalty next higher in degree to those provided for in this article shall be imposed upon the offender who fails to lend on the spot to the injured parties such help as may be in this hand to give. (As amended by R.A. 1790, approved June 21, 1957).


Fausto Barredo v. Severino Garcia and Timotea Almario,

G.R. No. L-48006, July 8, 1942 F: Fausto Barredo ( BARREDO ) was held liable for the death of Faustino Garcia ( GARCIA ) caused by the negligence of his employee, a taxi driver, Pedro Fontanilla ( FONTANILLA ). There was a head-on collision between the taxi driven by FONTANILLA and a carretela. GARCIA was a 16 year-old boy who was one of the passengers of the carretela, who suffered injuries and died two days later. It is undisputed that FONTANILLA S negligence was the cause of the mishap, as he was driving on the wrong side of the road, and at high speed. A criminal action was filed against FONTANILLA and he was convicted. The court in the criminal case granted the petition that the right to bring a separate civil action be reserved. The parents of Faustino Garcia ( THE PARENTS ) brought an action against BARREDO, as the sole proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of FONTANILLA. The Court of First Instance of Manila awarded damages in favor of THE PARENTS for P2,000 plus legal interest from the date of the complaint. The decision was modified by the Court of Appeals by reducing the damages to P1,000 with legal interest from the time the action was instituted. As to BARREDO S responsibility, the Court of Appeals found that FONTANILLA, who had been caught several times for violation of the Automobile Law and speeding, which appears in the records of the Bureau of Public Works, should indemnify THE PARENTS. The defense contends that the liability of BARREDO is governed by the RPC; hence his liability is only subsidiary and as there has been no civil action against FONTANILLA, the person criminally liable, BARREDO cannot be held responsible in this case. The Court of Appeals disagreed with the contention of the defense, rationing that the liability sought to be imposed upon BARREDO is not a civil obligation arising from a felony or a misdemeanor, but an obligation imposed in Article 1903 of the Civil Code by reason of his negligence in the selection or supervision of his servant or employee. I: Whether or not THE PARENTS may bring this separate civil action against BARREDO, thus making him primarily and directly responsible under Article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of FONTANILLA?

H: Yes; Judgment of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED R: The Court distinguished between delitos or delicts and cuasi delitos or quasidelicts. Delicts are crimes punished by the Penal Code, while quasi-delicts are characterized by fault or negligence under Articles 1902-1910 of the Old Civil Code. The Court cited several authorities that support the proposition that 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 delict or crime. Upon this principle and on the wording and spirit article 1903 of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored. The Court outlined the differences between crimes under the Penal Code and the culpa aquiliana or cuasi-delito under the Civil Code: 1) That crimes affect the public interest, while cuasi-delitos are only of private concern; 2) That, consequently the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil Code by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage; 3) That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because the former are punished only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasi-delitos include all acts in which any kind of fault or negligence intervenes. However it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law produce civil responsibility, such as begging in contravention of ordinances, violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt. The Court indicated the foundations of the doctrines that explain the separate and distinct liability under the Penal Code and that under Article 1903. These foundations consist first, of the spirit of the law in Article 365, which the Court insists cannot be limited to fault or negligence that is not punished by law. Second, there are numerous cases of criminal negligence, which cannot be shown beyond reasonable doubt but can be proved by a preponderance of the evidence. In such cases, the defendant can and should be made responsible in a civil action under articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Otherwise, there would be many instances of un-vindicated civil wrongs. Ubi jus ibi remedium. Third, to sue the driver and exhaust his property first, would be tantamount to compelling THE PARENTS to follow a devious and cumbersome method of obtaining relief. This is based on the endeavor of courts to shorten and facilitate the pathways of right and justice. And finally, fourth, the Court stated that it believes it is high time they pointed out and restored the principle of responsibility for fault or negligence under Articles 1902 of the Civil Code to its full rigor. This will, the Court believes, make for the better safeguard of private rights because it re-establishes an ancient and additional remedy and for the further reason that an independent civil action, not depending on the issues, limitations and results of a criminal prosecution, and entirely directed by the party wronged or his counsel, is more likely to secure adequate and efficacious redress. In conclusion, the Court rationed that it is the primary and direct responsibility of employers and their presumed negligence are principles calculated to protect society. Workmen and employees should be carefully chosen and supervised in order to avoid injury to the public. It is the masters or employers who principally reap the profits resulting from the services of these servants and employees. It is but right that they should guarantee the latter s careful conduct for the personnel

and patrimonial safety of others. According to Manresa, It is much more equitable and just that such responsibility should fall upon the principal or director who could have chosen a careful and prudent employee and not upon the injured person who could not exercise such selection and who used such employee because of his confidence in the principal or director. (Vol. 12, p622, 2nd Ed.)

NOTES: The Court cited Maura, an outstanding authority, who explains the separate and distinct liability under the Penal Code and that under Article 1903. Article 1903 says The obligation imposed by the next preceding article is demandable, not only for personal acts and omissions, but also for those of persons for whom another is responsible. Among the persons enumerated are the subordinates and employees of establishments or enterprises, either for acts during their service or on the occasion of their functions. It is for this reason that it happens, and it is so observed in judicial decisions, that the companies or enterprises, after taking part in the criminal cases because of their subsidiary civil responsibility by reason of the crime, are sued and sentenced directly and separately with regard to the obligation before the civil courts. The Court also cited jurist Amandi, who declares that the responsibility of the employer is principal and not subsidiary. The responsibility in question is imposed on the occasion of a crime or fault, but not because of the same, but because of the cuasi-delito, that is to say, the imprudence or negligence of the father, guardian, proprietor or manager of the establishment, of the teacher, etc. Whenever anyone of the persons enumerated in the article referred to (minors, incapacitated persons, employees, apprentices) causes any damage, the law presumes that the father, guardian, teacher, etc. have committed an act of negligence in not preventing or avoiding the damage. It is this fault that is condemned by the law. It is, therefore, only apparent that there is a responsibility for the act of another; in reality the responsibility exacted is for one's own act. The idea that such responsibility is subsidiary is, therefore, completely inadmissible.

Pedro Elcano, et al., v. Reginald Hill et al.,

G.R. No. L-24803, May 26, 1977 F: Petitioner ( ELCANO, ), filed a complaint for recovery of damages against Reginald Hill ( REGINALD ), a minor, who was married, living and getting subsistence from his father Marvin Hill ( ATTY. HILL ) at the time, for the killing of their son Agapito Elcano. REGINALD was acquitted in the criminal case on the ground that his act was not criminal, because of lack of intent to kill, coupled with mistake. REGINALD and ATTY. HILL filed a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the civil action for damages is barred by the acquittal of REGINALD and that Article 2180 of the Civil Code cannot apply because at the time of the occurrence complained of, REGINALD, though a minor, was already legally married. I: Whether or not the present civil action for damages is barred by the acquittal of Reginald in the criminal case wherein the action for civil lability was not reversed? Whether or not Article 2180 (2nd and last paragraphs) of the Civil Code may be

applied against Atty. Hill, notwithstanding the undisputed fact that at the time of the occurrence complained of, Reginald, though a minor, living with and getting subsistence from his father, was already legally married? H: No, it is not barred; yes, it may still be applied; the trial court is ordered to proceed. R: A separate civil action lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the victim does not recover damages on both scores. It results therefore that the acquittal of Reginald Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his liability for quasi-delict. Hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him. The vicarious liability of the parents on account of a delict committed by their minor child is not extinguished by the fact that said child who is living with and dependent upon said parents is married. Pursuant to Article 399, which provides that a minor emancipated by marriage may not, nevertheless, sue or be sued without the assistance of the parents, indicates that such emancipation does not carry with it freedom to enter into transactions or do any act that can give rise to judicial litigation (See Manresa, i.d., Vol. II, pp. 766-767, 776). Killing someone else invites judicial action. Thus, 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 cause to any litigation, in the same manner that the parents are 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 (Article 399; Manresa; supra). However, the Court did acknowledge that inasmuch as it is evident that REGINALD, now of age, as a matter of equity, the liability of ATTY. HILL has become merely subsidiary to that of his son.

Porfirio P. Cinco, v. Hon. Mateo Canonoy et al.,

G.R. No. L-33171, May 31, 1979 F: Porfirio P. Cinco ( CINCO ) filed a complaint in the City Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, for the recovery of damages on account of a vehicular accident involving his automible and a jeepney driven by Romeo Hilot and operated by Valeriana Pepito and Carlos Pepito ( THE PEPITOS ), the last three being the private respondents in this suit. Subsequent thereto, a criminal case was filed against the driver, Romeo Hilot. At the pre-trial in the civil case, counsel for THE PEPITOS moved to suspend the civil action pending the final determination of the criminal suit, invoking Rule 111, Section 3(b) of the Rules of Court which provides (b) After a criminal action has been commenced, no civil action arising from the same offense can be prosecuted and the same shall be suspended, in whatever stage it may be found, until final judgment in the criminal proceeding has been rendered. The City Court of Mandaue City ordered the suspension of the civil case. Hence, this petition by CINCO.

I: Whether or not there can be an independent civil action for damage to property during the pendency of the criminal action? H: Yes; City Court is Ordered to Proceed R: The separate and independent civil action for a quasi-delict is clearly recognized in Section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court: - In the cases provided for in Articles 31, 32, 33, 34, and 2177 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, an independent civil action entirely separate and distinct form the criminal action may be brought by the injured party during the pendency of the criminal case, provided the right is reserved as required in the preceding section. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of the evidence. The civil action referred to in Secs. 3(a) and 3(b) of Rule 111 which was cited by respondent court refers to the civil action that arises from the criminal offense and not the civil action based on the quasi-delict, which is allowed by Section 2, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court previously mentioned. The Court pointed to the relevance in the case at bar of Article 31 of the Civil Code, which provides that when the civil action is based on an obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony, such civil action may proceed independently of the criminal proceedings regardless of the result of the latter. The jural concept of quasi-delict is that of an independent source of obligation not arising from the act or omission complained of as a felony. Article 1157 of the Civil Code bolsters this conclusion when it specifically recognizes that Obligations arise from: (1) Law; (2) Contracts; (3) Quasi-contracts; (4) Acts or omissions punished by law; and (4) Quasi-delicts. Cinco s cause of action is based on quasi-delict, which is enunciated in Article 2176 of the Civil Code and is so broad that it includes not only injuries to persons but also damage to property (Barredo vs. Garcia 73 Phil 607, at 620, supra). It makes no distinctions between damage to persons and damage to property. The Court clarified the word damage which is used in two concepts: the harm done and reparation for the harm done. And with respect to harm it is plain that it includes both injuries to person and property since harm is not limited to personal but also to property injuries. In fact, examples of quasi-delict in the law itself include damage to property. Article 2191(2) of the Civil Code holds proprietors responsible for damages caused by excessive smoke, which may be harmful to persons or property.

Gashem Shookat Baksh v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al.,

G.R. No. 97336, February 19, 1993

F: Private respondent, Marilou T. Gonzales ( MARILOU ) filed a complaint against petitioner ( BAKSH ) for the alleged violation of their agreement to get married. MARILOU was 22 years old, single, a Filipina, and alleged that she was of good moral character and with a reputation duly respected in her community. BAKSH on the other hand, is an Iranian citizen, an exchange student residing in the Philippines. BAKSH allegedly courted MARILOU and proposed to marry her. The two of them allegedly went to MARILOU s parents where BAKSH secured their approval to the marriage. From that point on, MARILOU s parents began preparations for the marriage. MARILOU s parents also allowed the two to live together before their marriage, which led to the alleged maltreatment of MARILOU at the hands of BAKSH. BAKSH eventually repudiated their marriage agreement and asked her not to live with him anymore. The trial court, applying Article 21 of the Civil Code ruled in favor of MARILOU. I: Whether or not damages may be recovered for a breach of promise to marry on the basis of Article 21 of the Civil Code of the Philippines? H: Yes; Petition Denied R: The existing rule is that a breach of promise to marry per se is not an actionable wrong. This notwithstanding, the Civil Code contains a provision, Article 21, which is designed to expand the concept of torts of quasi-delict in this jurisdiction by granting adequate legal remedy for the untold number of moral wrongs which is impossible for human foresight to specifically enumerate and punish in the statute books. The Court referred to the Report of the Code Commission to illustrate their intention to vouchsafe adequate legal remedy for that untold number of moral wrongs which it is impossible for human foresight to provide for specifically in the statutes. The Court distinguished the difference between quasi-delict and tort. Tort is much broader than culpa aquiliana because it includes not only negligence but intentional criminal acts as well such as assault and battery, false imprisonment and deceit. In the general scheme of the Philippine legal system envisioned by the Commission responsible for drafting the New Civil Code, intentional and malicious acts, with certain exceptions, are to be governed by the Revised Penal Code while negligent acts which in the absence of Article 21, would have been beyond redress. Thus, although Article 21 fills that vacuum. It is even postulated together with Articles 19 and 20 of the Civil Code, Article 21 has greatly broadened the scope of the law on cviil wrongs; it has become much more supple and adaptable than the Anglo-American law on torts. In the instant case, respondent Court found that it was the petitioner s fraudulent and deceptive protestations of love for and promise to marry plaintiff that made her surrender her virtue and womanhood to him. In short, the private respondent surrendered her virginity, the cherished possession of every single Filipina, not because of lust but because of moral seduction. The Court cited Tanjanco v. Court of Appeals, The essential feature is seduction, that in law is more than mere sexual intercourse or a breach of a promise of marriage, it connotes essentially the idea of deceit, enticement superior power or

abuse of confidence on the part of the seducer to which the woman has yielded (U.S. vs. Buenaventura 27 Phil 121; U.S. vs. Ariante 9 Phil 595) The Court cited Domalagon vs. Bolifer, 33 Phil 471, moral damages together with actual damages, should there be any, such as the expense for the wedding preparations, may be recovered. The Court found that BAKSH, from the very beginning, was not at all moved by good faith and an honest motive. BAKSH clearly violated the Filipino s concept of morality and so brazenly defied the traditional respect Filipinos have for their women. It can even be said that BAKSH committed such deplorable acts in blatant disrespect of Article 19 of the Civil Code which directs every person to act with justice, give everyone his due and observe honesty and good faith in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his obligations. No foreigner must be allowed to make a mockery of our laws, customs and traditions.

Maria Benita A. Dulay, et al., v. The Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 108017 F: On December 7, 1988 an altercation between Benigno Torzuela ( TORZUELA ) and Atty. Napoleon Dulay ( ATTY. DULAY ) occurred at the Big Bang sa Alabang, Alabang Village, Muntinlupa as a result of which TORZUELA, the security guard on duty at the said carnival shot and killed ATTY. DULAY. Petitioner is the widow of ATTY DULAY, who filed an action for damages against TORZUELA and Safeguard Investigation and Security, Inc., ( SAFEGUARD ) and/or Superguard Security Corp. ( SUPERGUARD ), alleged employers of TORZUELA. TORZUELA is an employee of SAFEGUARD and SUPERGUARD and at the time of the incident complained of, was under their control and supervision. The petitioner insists that TORZUELA s act of shooting ATTY DULAY constitutes a quasi-delict actionable under Article 2176 of the Civil Code. Petitioner also contends that SUPERGUARD AND SAFEGUARD are primarily liable for their negligence either in the selection or supervision of their employees, and that this liability is independent of the employee s own liability for fault or negligence and is distinct from the subsidiary civil liability under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. The petitioner also invokes Article 33 of the civil Code. SUPERGUARD and SAFEGUARD claim that Article 2176 is inapplicable in the case at bar, contending that the provision is limited to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. I: Whether or not Article 2176 of the Civil Code covers not only acts committed with negligence but also acts which are voluntary and intentional? H: Yes; Order REVERSED and SET ASIDE; REMANDED to RTC for trial on the merits. R: Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 of the Civil Code covers not only acts committed with negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional. The Court cited its previous rulings in Elcano v. Hill and Andamo v. Intermediate Appellate Court.

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, when an injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that ther was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after selection or both (Laguyan v. IAC, 167 SCRA 792 [1988]). The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of such employee (Kapalaran Bus Lines v. Coronado, 176 SCRA 792 [1989]). In applying the abovementioned doctrines then, the Court rationed that it is enough that the complaint alleged that TORZUELA shot ATTY DULAY resulting in the latter s death; that the shooting occurred while TORZUELA was on duty; and that either SUPERGUARD and/or SAFEGUARD was TORZUELA s employer and responsible for his acts. Since the petitioner s clearly sustained an injury to their rights under the law, it would be more just to allow them to present evidence of such injury.

Bernabe Castillo et al v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al

G.R. No. 48541 F: car vs. jeep I: H: R: A quasi-delict is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime, hence, acquittal or conviction in a criminal case is entirely irrelevant in the civil case. EXCEPTION: But where the judgment of acquittal contained a declaration that no negligence can be attributed to the accused and that the fact from which the civil action might arise did not exist, such acquittal in the criminal action carried with it extinction of civil responsibility arising therefrom.

Elements of Quasi-Delict German Garcia et al., v.The Hon. Mariano M. Florido et al., G.R. No. L-3509 Natividad V. Andamo, et al., v. Intermediate Appellate Court et al., G.R. No. 74761 David Taylor v. Manila Electric Company and Light Company G.R. No. 4977 Heirs of Pedro Tayag v. Hon. Fernando S. Alcantara, et al. G.R. No. 50959 Negligence

Amado Picart v. Frank Smith G.R. No. L-12219 The state of mind of the actor is not important; good faith or use of sound judgment is immaterial (Picart v. Smith, GR No. L-12219, March 15, 1918). Mr. and Mrs. Amador C. Ong v. Metropolitan Water District G.R. No. L-7664 Civil Aeronautics Administration v. Court of Appeals G.R. No. 51806 Pater familias Preciolita V. Corliss v. The Manila Railroad Co., G.R. No. L-21291