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G.R. No. 131541 : October 20, 2000 THERMOCHEM INCORPORATED and JEROME O. CASTRO, Petitioners, vs.

LEONORA NAVAL and THE COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.

FACTS: On May 10, 1992, at around 12:00 oclock midnight, Eduardo Edm was driving a Luring Taxi along Ortigas Avenue, near Rosario, Pasig going towards Cainta. Prior to the collision, the taxicab was parked along the right side of Ortigas Avenue, not far from the Rosario Bridge, to unload a passenger. Thereafter, the driver exectued a U-turn to traverse the same road, going to the direction of EDSA. At this point, the Nissan Pathfinder traveling along the same road going to the direction of Cainta collided with the taxicab. The point of impact was so great that the taxicab was hit in the middle portion and was pushed sideward, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The taxicab was then dragged into the nearby Question Tailoring Shop, thus, causing damage to the said tailoring shop, and its driver, Eduardo Edem, sustained injuries as a result of the incident. Private respondent, as owner of the taxi, filed a damage suit against petitioner, Thermochem Incorporated, as the owner of the Nissan Pathfinder, and its driver, petitioner Jerome Castro. ISSUE: WON the Honorable Court of Appeals erred in holding petitioner liable to respondent for actual, compensatory and .exemplary damages as well as attorneys fees and cost of suit. RULING: Yes. The Court finds that the driver of the oncoming Nissan Pathfinder vehicle was liable and the driver of the U-turning taxicab was contributorily liable. The fact that a party had no opportunity to avoid the collision is his own making and this should not relieve him of liability. From petitioner Castros testimonial admissions, it is established that he was driving at a speed faster than 50km/hr because it was a downhill slope coming from the Rosario Bridge. But as he allegedly stepped on the brake, it locked causing his Nissan Pathfinder to skid to the left and consequently hit the taxicab. It is said that malfunction or loss of brake is not a fortuitous event. Even assuming arguendo that loss of brakes is an act of God, by reason of their negligence, the fortuitous event became humanized, rendering the Nissan driver liable for the ensuing damages. As mentioned earlier, the driver of the taxi is contributorily liable. U turns are not generally advisable particularly on major streets. Obviously, there was a lack of foresight on his part, making him contributorily liable. Considering the contributory negligence of the driver of private respondents taxi, the award of 47,850.00, for the repair of the taxi, should be reduced in half. All other awards for damages are deleted for lack of merit.