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Ravina v. Villa Abrille G.R. No.

160708
G.R. No. 160708, October 16, 2009 PATROCINIA RAVINA AND WILFREDO RAVINA VS. MARY ANN P. VILLA ABRILLE, FOR HERSELF AND IN BEHALF OF INGRID DLYN P. VILLA ABRILLE, INGREMARK DWIGHT VILLA ABRILLE, INGRESOLL DIELSVILLA ABRILLE AND INGRELYN DYAN VILLA ABRILLE QUISUMBING, ACTING C.J.: FACTS: Respondent Mary Ann Pasaol Villa Abrille and Pedro Villa Abrille are husband and wife. They have four children, who are also parties to the instant case and are represented by their mother, Mary Ann. In 1982, the spouses acquired a 555-square meter parcel of land denominated as Lot 7, located in Davao City, and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-88674 in their names. Said lot is adjacent to a parcel of land which Pedro acquired when he was still single and which is registered solely in his name under TCT No. T-26471. Through their joint efforts and the proceeds of a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), the spouses built a house on Lot 7 and Pedros lot. The house was finished in the early 1980s but the spouses continuously made improvements, including a poultry house and an annex. In 1991, Pedro got a mistress and began to neglect his family. Mary Ann was forced to sell or mortgage their movables to support the family and the studies of her children. By himself, Pedro offered to sell the house and the two lots to herein petitioners, Patrocinia and Wilfredo Ravina. Mary Ann objected and notified the petitioners of her objections, but Pedro nonetheless sold the house and the two lots without Mary Anns consent, as evidenced by a Deed of Sale[5]. It appears on the said deed that Mary Ann did not sign on top of her name. On July 5, 1991 while Mary Ann was outside the house and the four children were in school, Pedro together with armed members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) and acting in connivance with petitioners [6] began transferring all their belongings from the house to an apartment. When Mary Ann and her daughter Ingrid Villa Abrille came home, they were stopped from entering it. They waited outside the gate until evening under the rain. They sought help from the Talomo Police Station, but police authorities refused to intervene, saying that it was a family matter. Mary Ann alleged that the incident caused stress, tension and anxiety to her children, so much so that one flunked at school. ISSUE: Whether petitioners patrocin[i]a ravina and wilfredo ravina are liable for damages, the same being contrary to law and evidence.[10] RULING: The claim is erroneous to say the least. The manner by which respondent and her children were removed from the family home deserves our condemnation. While respondent was out and her children were in school, Pedro Villa Abrille acting in connivance with the petitioners[21] surreptitiously transferred all their personal belongings to another place. The respondents then were not allowed to enter their rightful home or family abode despite their impassioned pleas. Firmly established in our civil law is the doctrine that: Every person must, in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give everyone his due, and ob serve honesty and good faith.[22]When a right is exercised in a manner that does not conform with such norms and results in damages to another, a legal wrong is thereby committed for which the wrong doer must be held responsible. Similarly, any person who willfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals, good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for the damages caused. [23] It is patent in this case that petitioners alleged acts fall short of these established civil law standards.

Uypitching v. Quiamco G.R. No. 146322


G.R. NO. 146322, DECEMBER 06, 2006 ERNESTO RAMAS UYPITCHING AND RAMAS UYPITCHING SONS, INC., PETITIONERS, VS. ERNESTO QUIAMCO, RESPONDENT . CORONA, J.: FACTS:

Honeste vivere, non alterum laedere et jus suum cuique tribuere. To live virtuously, not to injure others and to give everyone his due. These supreme norms of justice are the underlying principles of law and order in society. In 1982, respondent Ernesto C. Quiamco was approached by Juan Davalan,[2] Josefino Gabutero and Raul Generoso to amicably settle the civil aspect of a criminal case for robbery[3] filed by Quiamco against them. They surrendered to him a red Honda XL-100 motorcycle and a photocopy of its certificate of registration. Respondent asked for the original certificate of registration but the three accused never came to see him again. Meanwhile, the motorcycle was parked in an open space inside respondent's business establishment, Avesco-AVNE Enterprises, where it was visible and accessible to the public. It turned out that, in October 1981, the motorcycle had been sold on installment basis to Gabutero by petitioner Ramas Uypitching Sons, Inc., a family-owned corporation managed by petitioner Atty. Ernesto Ramas Uypitching. To secure its payment, the motorcycle was mortgaged to petitioner corporation.[4] When Gabutero could no longer pay the installments, Davalan assumed the obligation and continued the payments. In September 1982, however, Davalan stopped paying the remaining installments and told petitioner corporation's collector, Wilfredo Verao, that the motorcycle had allegedly been "taken by respondent's men." Nine years later, on January 26, 1991, petitioner Uypitching, accompanied by policemen,[5] went to Avesco-AVNE Enterprises to recover the motorcycle. The leader of the police team, P/Lt. Arturo Vendiola, talked to the clerk in charge and asked for respondent. While P/Lt. Vendiola and the clerk were talking, petitioner Uypitching paced back and forth inside the establishment uttering "Quiamco is a thief of a motorcycle." On learning that respondent was not in Avesco-AVNE Enterprises, the policemen left to look for respondent in his residence while petitioner Uypitching stayed in the establishment to take photographs of the motorcycle. Unable to find respondent, the policemen went back to Avesco-AVNE Enterprises and, on petitioner Uypitching's instruction and over the clerk's objection, took the motorcycle. On February 18, 1991, petitioner Uypitching filed a criminal complaint for qualified theft and/or violation of the Anti-Fencing Law[6] against respondent in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Dumaguete City.[7] Respondent moved for dismissal because the complaint did not charge an offense as he had neither stolen nor bought the motorcycle. The Office of the City Prosecutor dismissed the complaint[8] and denied petitioner Uypitching's subsequent motion for reconsideration. Respondent filed an action for damages against petitioners in the RTC of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, Branch 37. [9] He sought to hold the petitioners liable for the following: (1) unlawful taking of the motorcycle; (2) utterance of a defamatory remark (that respondent was a thief) and (3) precipitate filing of a baseless and malicious complaint. These acts humiliated and embarrassed the respondent and injured his reputation and integrity.

ISSUE:

Whether the filing of a complaint for qualified theft and/or violation of the Anti-Fencing Law in the Office of the City Prosecutor warranted the award of moral damages, exemplary damages, attorney's fees and costs in favor of respondent. Petitioners' suggestion is misleading. They were held liable for damages not only for instituting a groundless complaint against respondent but also for making a slanderous remark and for taking the motorcycle from respondent's establishment in an abusive manner. Correctness of the Findings of the RTC and CA As they never questioned the findings of the RTC and CA that malice and ill will attended not only the public imputation of a crime to respondent[14] but also the taking of the motorcycle, petitioners were deemed to have accepted the correctness of such findings. This alone was sufficient to hold petitioners liable for damages to respondent. Nevertheless, to address petitioners' concern, we also find that the trial and appellate courts correctly ruled that the filing of the complaint was tainted with malice and bad faith. Petitioners themselves in fact described their action as a "precipitate act."[15] Petitioners were bent on portraying respondent as a thief. In this connection, we quote with approval the following findings of the RTC, as adopted by the CA: x x x There was malice or ill-will [in filing the complaint before the City Prosecutor's Office] because Atty. Ernesto Ramas Uypitching knew or ought to have known as he is a lawyer, that there was no probable cause at all for filing a criminal complaint for qualified theft and fencing activity against [respondent]. Atty. Uypitching had no personal knowledge that [respondent] stole the motorcycle in question. He was merely told by his bill collector ([i.e.] the bill collector of Ramas Uypitching Sons, Inc.)[,] Wilfredo Verao[,] that Juan Dabalan will [no longer] pay the remaining installment(s) for the motorcycle because the motorcycle was taken by the men of [respondent]. It must be noted that the term used by Wilfredo Verao in informing Atty. Ernesto Ramas Uypitching of the refusal of Juan Dabalan to pay for the remaining installment was [']taken['], not [']unlawfully taken['] or 'stolen.' Yet, despite the double hearsay, Atty. Ernesto Ramas Uypitching not only executed the [complaint-affidavit] wherein he named [respondent] as 'the suspect' of the stolen motorcycle but also charged [respondent] of 'qualified theft and fencing activity' before the City [Prosecutor's] Office of Dumaguete. The absence of probable cause necessarily signifies the presence of malice. What is deplorable in all these is that Juan Dabalan, the owner of the motorcycle, did not accuse [respondent] or the latter's men of stealing the motorcycle[,] much less bother[ed] to file a case for qualified theft before the authorities. That Atty. Uypitching's act in charging [respondent] with qualified theft and fencing activity is tainted with malice is also shown by his answer to the question of Cupid Gonzaga [16] [during one of their conversations] - "why should you still file a complaint" You have already recovered the motorcycle..."[:] "Aron motagam ang kawatan ug motor." ("To teach a lesson to the thief of motorcycle.")[17] Moreover, the existence of malice, ill will or bad faith is a factual matter. As a rule, findings of fact of the trial court, when affirmed by the appellate court, are conclusive on this Court. We see no compelling reason to reverse the findings of the RTC and the CA. Petitioners Abused Their Right of Recovery as Mortgagee(s) Petitioners claim that they should not be held liable for petitioner corporation's exercise of its right as seller-mortgagee to recover the mortgaged vehicle preliminary to the enforcement of its right to foreclose on the mortgage in case of default. They are clearly

mistaken. True, a mortgagee may take steps to recover the mortgaged property to enable it to enforce or protect its foreclosure right thereon. There is, however, a well-defined procedure for the recovery of possession of mortgaged property: if a mortgagee is unable to obtain possession of a mortgaged property for its sale on foreclosure, he must bring a civil action either to recover such possession as a preliminary step to the sale, or to obtain judicial foreclosure.[18] Petitioner corporation failed to bring the proper civil action necessary to acquire legal possession of the motorcycle. Instead, petitioner Uypitching descended on respondent's establishment with his policemen and ordered the seizure of the motorcycle without a search warrant or court order. Worse, in the course of the illegal seizure of the motorcycle, petitioner Uypitching even mouthed a slanderous statement. No doubt, petitioner corporation, acting through its co-petitioner Uypitching, blatantly disregarded the lawful procedure for the enforcement of its right, to the prejudice of respondent. Petitioners' acts violated the law as well as public morals, and transgressed the proper norms of human relations. The basic principle of human relations, embodied in Article 19 of the Civil Code, provides: Art. 19. Every person must in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, act with justice, give every one his due, and observe honesty and good faith. Article 19, also known as the "principle of abuse of right," prescribes that a person should not use his right unjustly or contrary to honesty and good faith, otherwise he opens himself to liability.[19] It seeks to preclude the use of, or the tendency to use, a legal right (or duty) as a means to unjust ends. There is an abuse of right when it is exercised solely to prejudice or injure another.[20] The exercise of a right must be in accordance with the purpose for which it was established and must not be excessive or unduly harsh; there must be no intention to harm another.[21] Otherwise, liability for damages to the injured party will attach. In this case, the manner by which the motorcycle was taken at petitioners' instance was not only attended by bad faith but also contrary to the procedure laid down by law. Considered in conjunction with the defamatory statement, petitioners' exercise of the right to recover the mortgaged vehicle was utterly prejudicial and injurious to respondent. On the other hand, the precipitate act of filing an unfounded complaint could not in any way be considered to be in accordance with the purpose for which the right to prosecute a crime was established. Thus, the totality of petitioners' actions showed a calculated design to embarrass, humiliate and publicly ridicule respondent. Petitioners acted in an excessively harsh fashion to the prejudice of respondent. Contrary to law, petitioners willfully caused damage to respondent. Hence, they should indemnify him. [22]

NEGLIGENT TORT

MARITER MENDOZA, PETITIONER, VS. ADRIANO CASUMPANG, JENNIFER ADRIANE AND JOHN ANDRE, ALL SURNAMED CASUMPANG, RESPONDENTS.
DECISION

ABAD, J.:
Josephine Casumpang, substituted by her respondent husband Adriano and their children Jennifer Adriane and John Andre, filed an action for damages against petitioner Dr. Mariter Mendoza in 1993 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iloilo City. On February 13, 1993 Josephine underwent hysterectomy and myomectomy that Dr. Mendoza performed on her at the Iloilo Doctors Hospital. After her operation, Josephine experienced recurring fever, nausea, and vomiting. Three months after the operation, she noticed while taking a bath something protruding from her genital. She tried calling Dr. Mendoza to report it but the latter was unavailable. Josephine instead went to see another physician, Dr. Edna Jamandre-Gumban, who extracted a foul smelling, partially expelled rolled gauze from her cervix. The discovery of the gauze and the illness she went through prompted Josephine to file a damage suit against Dr. Mendoza before the RTC of Iloilo City. Because Josephine died before trial could end, her husband and their children substituted her in the case. She was a housewife and 40 years old when she died. On March 7, 2005 the RTC rendered judgment, finding Dr. Mendoza guilty of neglect that caused Josephines illness and eventual death and ordering her to pay plaintiffs heirs actual damages of P50,000.00, moral damages of P200,000.00, and attorneys fees of P20,000.00 plus costs of suit. On motion for reconsideration, however, the RTC reversed itself and dismissed the complaint in an order dated June 23, 2005. On appeal, the Court of Appeals (CA) rendered a decision on March 18, 2011,[1] reinstating the RTCs original decision. The CA held that Dr. Mendoza committed a breach of her duty as a physician when a gauze remained in her patients body after surgery. The CA denied her motion for reconsideration on July 18, 2011, prompting her to file the present petition. Petitioner claims that no gauze or surgical material was left in Josephines body after her surge ry as evidenced by the surgical sponge count in the hospital record. But she raises at this Courts level a question of fact when parties may raise only questions of law before it in petitions for review on certiorari from the CA. With few exceptions, the factual findings of the latter court are generally binding. None of those exceptions applies to this case.[2] As the RTC pointed out, Josephine did not undergo any other surgical operation. And it would be much unlikely for her or for any woman to inject a roll of gauze into her cervix. As the Court held in Professional Services, Inc. v. Agana:[3]

An operation requiring the placing of sponges in the incision is not complete until the sponges are properly removed, and it is settled that the leaving of sponges or other foreign substances in the wound after the incision has been closed is at least prima facie negligence by the operating surgeon. To put it simply, such act is considered so inconsistent with due care as to raise an inference of negligence. There are even legions of authorities to the effect that such act is negligence per se. The Court notes, however, that neither the CA nor the RTC awarded exemplary damages against Dr. Mendoza when, under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to moral damages. Exemplary damages may also be awarded in cases of gross negligence.[4] A surgical operation is the responsibility of the surgeon performing it. He must personally ascertain that the counts of instruments and materials used before the surgery and prior to sewing the patient up have been correctly done. To provide an example to the medical profession and to stress the need for constant vigilance in attending to a patients health, the award of exemplary damages in this case is in order. Further, in view of Josephines death resulting from petitioners negligence, civil indemnity under Article 2206[5] of the Civil Code should be given to respondents as heirs. The amount of P50,000.00 is fixed by prevailing jurisprudence for this kind.[6] The Court also deems it just and equitable under Article 2208 of the Civil Code to increase the award of attorneys fees from P20,000.00 to P50,000.00. WHEREFORE, the Court entirely AFFIRMS the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 18, 2011 with the MODIFICATION ordering petitioner Mariter Mendoza to pay respondents Adriano, Jennifer Adriane and John Andre, all surnamed Casumpang, an additional P50,000.00 as exemplary damages, additional P30,000.00 as attorneys fees and civil indemnity arising from death in the amount of P50,000.00. SO ORDERED.

LOADMASTERS CUSTOMS SERVICES, INC., vs. GLODEL BROKERAGE CORPORATION and R&B INSURANCE CORPORATION, / G.R. No. 179446 / January 10, 2011
FACTS: The case is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court assailing the August 24, 2007 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 82822. On August 28, 2001, R&B Insurance issued Marine Policy No. MN-00105/2001 in favor of Columbia to insure the shipment of 132 bundles of electric copper cathodes against All Risks. On August 28, 2001, the cargoes were shipped on board the vessel "Richard Rey" from Isabela, Leyte, to Pier 10, North Harbor, Manila. They arrived on the same date. Columbia engaged the services of Glodel for the release and withdrawal of the cargoes from the pier and the subsequent delivery to its warehouses/plants. Glodel, in turn, engaged the services of Loadmasters for the use of its delivery trucks to transport the cargoes to Columbias

warehouses/plants in Bulacan and Valenzuela City. The goods were loaded on board twelve (12) trucks owned by Loadmasters, driven by its employed drivers and accompanied by its employed truck helpers. Of the six (6) trucks route to Balagtas, Bulacan, only five (5) reached the destination. One (1) truck, loaded with 11 bundles or 232 pieces of copper cathodes, failed to deliver its cargo. Later on, the said truck, was recovered but without the copper cathodes. Because of this incident, Columbia filed with R&B Insurance a claim for insurance indemnity in the amount ofP1,903,335.39. After the investigation, R&B Insurance paid Columbia the amount ofP1,896,789.62 as insurance indemnity. R&B Insurance, thereafter, filed a complaint for damages against both Loadmasters and Glodel before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 14, Manila (RTC), It sought reimbursement of the amount it had paid to Columbia for the loss of the subject cargo. It claimed that it had been subrogated "to the right of the consignee to recover from the party/parties who may be held legally liable for the loss." On November 19, 2003, the RTC rendered a decision holding Glodel liable for damages for the loss of the subject cargo and dismissing Loadmasters counterclaim for damages and attorneys fees against R&B Insurance. Both R&B Insurance and Glodel appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On August 24, 2007, the CA rendered that the appellee is an agent of appellant Glodel, whatever liability the latter owes to appellant R&B Insurance Corporation as insurance indemnity must likewise be the amount it shall be paid by appellee Loadmasters. Hence, Loadmasters filed the present petition for review on certiorari. ISSUE: Whether or not Loadmasters and Glodel are common carriers to determine their liability for the loss of the subject cargo. RULING: The petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. Judgment is rendered declaring petitioner Loadmasters Customs Services, Inc. and respondent Glodel Brokerage Corporation jointly and severally liable to respondent Under Article 1732 of the Civil Code, common carriers are persons, corporations, firms, or associations engaged in the business of carrying or transporting passenger or goods, or both by land, water or air for compensation, offering their services to the public. Loadmasters is a common carrier because it is engaged in the business of transporting goods by land, through its trucking service. It is a common carrier as distinguished from a private carrier wherein the carriage is generally undertaken by special agreement and it does not hold itself out to carry goods for the general public. Glodel is also considered a common carrier within the context of Article 1732. For as stated and well provided in the case of Schmitz Transport & Brokerage Corporation v. Transport Venture, Inc., a customs broker is also regarded as a common carrier, the transportation of goods being an integral part of its business. Loadmasters and Glodel, being both common carriers, are mandated from the nature of their business and for reasons of public policy, to observe the extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods transported by them according to all the circumstances of such case, as required by Article 1733 of the Civil Code. When the Court speaks of extraordinary diligence, it

is that extreme measure of care and caution which persons of unusual prudence and circumspection observe for securing and preserving their own property or rights. With respect to the time frame of this extraordinary responsibility, the Civil Code provides that the exercise of extraordinary diligence lasts from the time the goods are unconditionally placed in the possession of, and received by, the carrier for transportation until the same are delivered, actually or constructively, by the carrier to the consignee, or to the person who has a right to receive them. The Court is of the view that both Loadmasters and Glodel are jointly and severally liable to R & B Insurance for the loss of the subject cargo. Loadmasters claim that it was never privy to the contract entered into by Glodel with the consignee Columbia or R&B Insurance as subrogee, is not a valid defense. For under ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for ones own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. xxxx Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry. It is not disputed that the subject cargo was lost while in the custody of Loadmasters whose employees (truck driver and helper) were instrumental in the hijacking or robbery of the shipment. As employer, Loadmasters should be made answerable for the damages caused by its employees who acted within the scope of their assigned task of delivering the goods safely to the warehouse. Glodel is also liable because of its failure to exercise extraordinary diligence. It failed to ensure that Loadmasters would fully comply with the undertaking to safely transport the subject cargo to the designated destination. Glodel should, therefore, be held liable with Loadmasters. Its defense of force majeure is unavailing. For the consequence, Glodel has no one to blame but itself. The Court cannot come to its aid on equitable grounds. "Equity, which has been aptly described as a justice outside legality, is applied only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial rules of procedure." The Court cannot be a lawyer and take the cudgels for a party who has been at fault or negligent.

SPOUSES PACIS VS. MORALES G.R. No. 169467 February 25, 2010 FACTS: petitioners filed with the trial court a civil case for damages against respondent Morales.

Petitioners are the parents of Alfred Pacis, a 17-year old student who died in a shooting incident inside the Top Gun Firearms and Ammunitions Store in Baguio City. Morales is the owner of the gun store. On the fateful day, Alfred was in the gun store, with Matibag and Herbolario as sales agents and caretakers of the store while owner Morales was in Manila. The gun which killed Alfred is a gun owned by a store customer which was left with Morales for repairs, which he placed inside a drawer. Since Morales would be going to Manila, he left the keys to the store with the caretakers. It appears that the caretakers took the gun from the drawer and placed it on top of a table. Attracted by the sight of the gun, the young Alfred got hold of the same. Matibag asked Alfred to return the gun. The latter followed and handed the gun to Matibag. It went off, the bullet hitting the young Alfred in the head. A criminal case for homicide was filed against Matibag. Matibag, however, was acquitted of the charge against him because of the exempting circumstance of accident under Art. 12, par. 4 of the RPC. By agreement of the parties, the evidence adduced in the criminal case for homicide against Matibag was reproduced and adopted by them as part of their evidence in the instant case. The trial court rendered its decision in favor of petitioners, ordering the defendant to pay plaintiffs indemnity for the death of Alfred, actual damages for the hospitalization and burial, expenses incurred by the plaintiffs, compensatory damages, MD and AF. Respondent appealed to the CA, which reversed the trial courts Decision and absolved respondent from civil liability under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. MR denied, hence this petition. ISSUE: Was Morales negligent? HELD: Petition granted. The CA decision is set aside and the trial courts Decision reinstated. YES This case for damages arose out of the accidental shooting of petitioners son. Under Article 1161 of the Civil Code, petitioners may enforce their claim for damages based on the civil liability arising from the crime under Article 100 of the RPC or they may opt to file an independent civil action for damages under the Civil Code. In this case, instead of enforcing their claim for damages in the homicide case filed against Matibag, petitioners opted to file an independent civil action for damages against respondent whom they alleged was Matibags employer. Petitioners based their claim for damages under Articles 2176 and 2180 of the Civil Code. ** Unlike the subsidiary liability of the employer under Article 103 of the RPC, the liability of the employer, or any person for that matter, under Article 2176 of the Civil Code is primary and direct, based on a persons own negligence. Article 2176 states: Art. 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 preexisting contractual relation between the parties, is called quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. This case involves the accidental discharge of a firearm inside a gun store. Under PNP Circular No. 9, entitled the Policy on Firearms and Ammunition Dealership/Repair, a person who is in

the business of purchasing and selling of firearms and ammunition must maintain basic security and safety requirements of a gun dealer, otherwise his License to Operate Dealership will be suspended or canceled. Indeed, a higher degree of care is required of someone who has in his possession or under his control an instrumentality extremely dangerous in character, such as dangerous weapons or substances. Such person in possession or control of dangerous instrumentalities has the duty to take exceptional precautions to prevent any injury being done thereby. Unlike the ordinary affairs of life or business which involve little or no risk, a business dealing with dangerous weapons requires the exercise of a higher degree of care. As a gun store owner, respondent is presumed to be knowledgeable about firearms safety and should have known never to keep a loaded weapon in his store to avoid unreasonable risk of harm or injury to others. Respondent has the duty to ensure that all the guns in his store are not loaded. Firearms should be stored unloaded and separate from ammunition when the firearms are not needed for ready-access defensive use. With more reason, guns accepted by the store for repair should not be loaded precisely because they are defective and may cause an accidental discharge such as what happened in this case. Respondent was clearly negligent when he accepted the gun for repair and placed it inside the drawer without ensuring first that it was not loaded. In the first place, the defective gun should have been stored in a vault. Before accepting the defective gun for repair, respondent should have made sure that it was not loaded to prevent any untoward accident. Indeed, respondent should never accept a firearm from another person, until the cylinder or action is open and he has personally checked that the weapon is completely unloaded. For failing to insure that the gun was not loaded, respondent himself was negligent. Furthermore, it was not shown in this case whether respondent had a License to Repair which authorizes him to repair defective firearms to restore its original composition or enhance or upgrade firearms. Clearly, respondent did not exercise the degree of care and diligence required of a good father of a family, much less the degree of care required of someone dealing with dangerous weapons, as would exempt him from liability in this case.

FILIPINAS SYNTHETIC FIBER CORPORATION, PETITIONER, VS. WILFREDO DE LOS SANTOS, BENITO JOSE DE LOS SANTOS, MARIA ELENA DE LOS SANTOS AND CARMINA VDA. DE LOS SANTOS, RESPONDENTS. PERALTA, J.: FACTS: On September 30, 1984, Teresa Elena Legarda-de los Santos, the wife of respondent Wilfredo de los Santos was fetched by Wilfredos brother Armando, husband of respondent Carmina Vda. de los Santos, from Rizal Theater to after Teresas theater performance. Armando drove a 1980

Mitsubishi Galant Sigma, a company car assigned to Wilfredo. Two other members of the cast of production joined Teresa Elena in the Galant Sigma. Around 11:30 p.m., while travelling along the Katipunan Road (White Plains), the Galant Sigma collided with the shuttle bus owned by petitioner and driven by Alfredo S. Mejia (Mejia), an employee of petitioner Filipinas Synthetic Corp. The Galant Sigma was dragged about 12 meters from the point of impact, across the White Plains Road landing near the perimeter fence of Camp Aguinaldo, where the Galant Sigma burst into flames and burned to death beyond recognition all four occupants of the car. A criminal charge for reckless imprudence resulting in damage to property with multiple homicide was brought against Mejia, which was decided in favor of Mejia (shuttle driver). A consolidated civil case was filed by the families of the deceased against Mejia. The RTC ruled in favor of herein respondents. After the denial of the motion for reconsideration, petitioner appealed to the CA and the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Hence this petition stating that the respondent court erred in finding Mejia negligent, such not being supported by evidence on record. ISSUE: Whether Mejia was negligent HELD: Petitioner argues that the RTC admitted that De los Santos made a turn along White Plains Road without exercising the necessary care which could have prevented the accident from happening. According to petitioner, the sudden turn of the vehicle used by the victims should also be considered as negligence on the part of the driver of that same vehicle, thus, mitigating, if not absolving petitioners liability. However, the said argument deserves scant consideration. It was well established that Mejia was driving at a speed beyond the rate of speed required by law, specifically Section 35 of Republic Act No. (RA) 4136. Under the New Civil Code, unless there is proof to the contrary, it is presumed that a person driving a motor vehicle has been negligent if at the time of the mishap, he was violating any traffic regulation. Apparently, in the present case, Mejias violation of the traffic rules does not erase the presumption that he was the one negligent at the time of the collision. Even apart from statutory regulations as to speed, a motorist is nevertheless expected to exercise ordinary care and drive at a reasonable rate of speed commensurate with all the conditions encountered which will enable him to keep the vehicle under control and, whenever necessary, to put the vehicle to a full stop to avoid injury to others using the highway.

A closer study of the Police Accident Report, Investigation Report and the sketch of the accident would reveal nothing but that the shuttle bus was traveling at such a reckless speed that it collided with the car bearing the deceased. WHEREFORE, the Petition for Review is hereby DENIED. Consequently, the Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated August 15, 2001, is hereby AFFIRMED with theMODIFICATION that the moral damages be reduced to P50,000.00.

Dr. Rubi Li vs. Spouses Reynaldo and Lina Soliman as parents/heirs of deceased Angelica Soliman, G.R. No. 165279. June 7, 2011
Post under Civil Law, villarama doctrines at Tuesday, December 06, 2011 Posted by Schizophrenic Mind

Medical malpractice. An integral part of physicians overall obligation to patient is the duty of reasonable disclosure of available choices with respect to proposed therapy and of dangers inherently and potentially involved in each. However, the physician is not obliged to discuss relatively minor risks inherent in common procedures when it is common knowledge that such risks inherent in procedure of very low incidence. Cited as exceptions to the rule that the patient should not be denied the opportunity to weigh the risks of surgery or treatment are emergency cases where it is evident he cannot evaluate data, and where the patient is a child or incompetent. The court thus concluded that the patients right of selfdecision can only be effectively exercised if the patient possesses adequate information to enable him in making an intelligent choice. The scope of the physicians communications to the patient, then must be measured by the patients need, and that need is whatever information is material to the decision. The test therefore

for determining whether a potential peril must be divulged is its materiality to the patients decision. Cobbs v. Grant reiterated the pronouncement in Canterbury v. Spence that for liability of the physician for failure to inform patient, there must be causal relationship between physicians failure to inform and the injury to patient and such connection arises only if it is established that, had revelation been made, consent to treatment would not have been given. There are four essential elements a plaintiff must prove in a malpractice action based upon the doctrine of informed consent: (1) the physician had a duty to disclose material risks; (2) he failed to disclose or inadequately disclosed those risks; (3) as a direct and proximate result of the failure to disclose, the patient consented to treatment she otherwise would not have consented to; and (4) plaintiff was injured by the proposed treatment. The gravamen in aninformed consent case requires the plaintiff to point to significant undisclosed information relating to the treatment which would have altered her decision to undergo it. The element of ethical duty to disclose material risks in the proposedmedical treatment cannot thus be reduced to one simplistic formula applicable in all instances. Further, in a medical malpractice action based on lack of informed consent, the plaintiff must prove both the duty and the breach of that duty through expert testimony. Dr. Rubi Li vs. Spouses Reynaldo and Lina Soliman as

parents/heirs ofdeceased Angelica Soliman, G.R.

No. 165279. June 7, 2011

Mercury V. Huang
If one has the time and resources to dig a deep trench and get ready for a long drawn out war then, by all means, proceed. A prime example of a long-term litigation is the case of Mercury Drug vs. Spouses Huang and Stephen Huang where a Mercury Drug truck collided with Stephen Huangs car resulting in a spinal injury that caused his lower body immobile for life, Eleven years from the accident; 9 years from the time it was promulgated in July 2007 (G.R. No. 172122), the Supreme Court ruled that Mercury Drug, as employer, was legally liable, and ordered it to pay PhP40 Million in damages. As employer, it was responsible for supervising its driver and ensuring that he was fit for the work for which he was hired, and in the courts opinion, Mercury Drug was remiss in that respect.

Filcar v. Espinas
Is the registered owner of a motor vehicle liable for any accident, damage, injury or death caused by the driver of said vehicle even if there is no employer-employee relationship between them? Can the registered owner put up the defense that the driver acted beyond the scope of his authority or that it exercised due diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage as provided in Article 2180 of the Civil Code? These are the issues raised in this case of Ernie. While driving his car along a major street, Ernie proceeded to cross an intersection when the signal light turned green. But when he was already in the middle of the intersection, another car coming from another street traversing the said intersection suddenly hit and bumped his car. As a result of the impact, Ernies car turned clockwise and was badly damaged. The other car escaped from the scene of the incident but Ernie was able to get its plate number. After verifying with the Land Transportation Office, Ernie learned that the owner of the other car was FTS, a transport service company. Ernie thus sent several letters to FTS and its President demanding payment for the damages sustained by his car amounting to P97,910. When his demands were not heeded, he filed a complaint for damages against FTS and its President before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC). In answer, FTS and its President alleged that while it is the registered owner of the car that hit and bumped Ernies car, said car was assigned to Atty. Flores, its Corporate Secretary, and was being driven by Tomas the personal driver of Atty. Flores. So FTS and its President denied liability to Ernie and

claimed that the incident was not due to their fault or negligence since Tomas was not its employee and that they always exercised the due diligence required of a good father of a family in assigning their vehicle to a third party. Were they correct? No. It is well settled that in case of motor vehicle mishaps, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is considered as the employer of the negligent driver, and the actual employer/operator is considered merely as an agent of such owner. Thus, whether there is an employer-employee relationship between the registered owner and the driver is irrelevant in determining the liability of the registered owner who is primarily and directly liable under Article 2176 in relation to Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The main aim of the motor vehicle registration is to identify the owner so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or injury is caused by the vehicle on the public highways and streets, responsibility for such damage or injury or death can be fixed on a definite individual, the registered owner. To a certain extent, the motor vehicle registration law modified Article 2180 of the Civil Code by making the defenses therein provided unavailable to the registered owner of the motor vehicle. So FTS cannot use the defense that it exercised the due diligence of a good father of the family to prevent the damage or that the employee acted beyond the scope of his assigned task. But the liability for damages in this case cannot attach to the President of FTS because the liability of a corporation is not the liability of its corporate officers since it has a separate and distinct personality. While there are exceptions to this rule the circumstances in this case do not fall under said exceptions recognized by law. So FTS should pay Ernie P97, 910. 00 actual damages, with 6% interest from date of filing of complaint; P50, 000 moral damages; P20, 000 exemplary damages; and P20, 000 attorneys fees (Filcar Transport Services vs. Espinas, G.R. 174156, June 29, 2012, 674 SCRA, 117).

NEGLIGENCE

Wright vs. Manila Electirc 28 Phil. 122

Facts: Defendant was operating an electric street railway in the City of Manila and its suburbs, including the municipality of Caloocan. Plaintiffs residence in Caloocan fronted the street along which defendants tracks ran, so that to enter his premises from the street plaintiff was obliged to cross defendants tracks. On the night of

August 8, 1909 plaintiff drove home in a calesa and in crossing the tracks to enter his premises the horse stumbled, leaped forward, and fell causing the vehicle to strike one of the rails with great force. The fall of the horse and the collision of the vehicle with the rails, resulting in a sudden stop, threw plaintiff from the vehicle and caused the injuries complained of. It was found that at the point where plaintiff crossed the tracks on the right in question not only the rails were above-ground, but that the ties upon which the rails rested projected from one-third to one-half of their depth out of the ground, thus making the tops of the rails rise some 5 to6 inches or more above the level of the street.

Held: A street car company which maintains its tracks in the public highway, at a point where they are crossed by travelers, in such condition that the rails and a considerable portion of the ties are above the level of the street, is negligent and is responsible to a person who, having to pass over said tracks at right angles with a vehicle in the nighttime, is injured by reason of the condition of the tracks, he using ordinary care and prudence in making the crossing. Defendant was held liable.

CORLISS vs. MANILA RAILROAD CO.


CORLISS vs. MANILA RAILROAD CO.

Facts: Plaintiffs husband was driving a jeep close to midnight at the railroad crossing in Balobago, Angeles, Pampanga on February 21, 1957. Defendants train was passing by and blew its siren. Plaintiffs husband slowed down his jeep but did not make a full stop. The jeep collided with the locomotive engine of the train. Plaintiffs husband was injured and died asa a result of such injuries. Plaintiff brought an action for damages for the death of her husband.

Issue: WON the plaintiff can recover damages.

Ruling: Complaint Dismissed

Ratio: 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 apperance of a train, is guilty of crominal negligence, providing a collission occurs

and injury results. The accident was caused by the negligence of plaintiffs husband and she was not allowed to recover.

Cangco vs Manila Railroad Co


on August 13, 2011

Download a copy of this digest here.

30 Phil 768 Torts and Damages Distinction of Liability of Employers Under Article 2180 and Their Liability for Breach of Contract
On January 20, 1915, Cangco was riding the train of Manila Railroad Co (MRC). He was an employee of the latter and he was given a pass so that he could ride the train for free. When he was nearing his destination at about 7pm, he arose from his seat even though the train was not at full stop. When he was about to alight from the train (which was still slightly moving) he accidentally stepped on a sack of watermelons which he failed to notice due to the fact that it was dim. This caused him to lose his balance at the door and he fell and his arm was crushed by the train and he suffered other serious injuries. He was dragged a few meters more as the train slowed down. It was established that the employees of MRC were negligent in piling the sacks of watermelons. MRC raised as a defense the fact that Cangco was also negligent as he failed to exercise diligence in alighting from the train as he did not wait for it to stop. ISSUE: Whether or not Manila Railroad Co is liable for damages. HELD: Yes. Alighting from a moving train while it is slowing down is a common practice and a lot of people are doing so every day without suffering injury. Cangco has the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no means so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act would have been in an aged or feeble person. He was also ignorant of the fact that sacks of watermelons were there as there were no appropriate warnings and the place was dimly lit. The Court also elucidated on the distinction between the liability of employers under Article 2180 and their liability for breach of contract [of carriage]:

NOTES: But, if the master has not been guilty of any negligence whatever in the selection and direction of the servant, he is not liable for the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of his employment or not, if the damage done by the servant does not amount to a breach of the contract between the master and the person injured. The liability arising from extra-contractual culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or omission which, without willful intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another. These two fields, figuratively speaking, concentric; that is to say, the mere fact that a person is bound to another by contract does not relieve him from extra-contractual liability to such person. When such a contractual relation exists the obligor may break the contract under such conditions that the same act which constitutes the source of an extra-contractual obligation had no contract existed between the parties. Manresa: Whether negligence occurs an incident in the course of the performance of a contractual undertaking or in itself the source of an extra-contractual undertaking obligation, its essential characteristics are identical. Vinculum Juris: (def) It means an obligation of law, or the right of the obligee to enforce a civil matter in a court of law.

La Mallorca and Pampanga Bus Co. vs. De Jesus, Tolentino and CA


LA MALLORCA and PAMPANGA BUS COMPANY vs. VALENTIN DE JESUS, MANOLO TOLENTINO and COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. L-21486. 14 May 1966. Appeal by Certiorari from the decision of the CA which affirmed that rendered by the CFI Bulacan MAKALINTAL, J.:

Facts: The suit arose by reason of the death of Lolita de Jesus, 20-year old daughter of Valentin de Jesus and wife of Manolo Tolentino, in a head-on collision between petitioner's bus, on which she was a passenger, and a freight truck traveling in the opposite direction, in a barrio in Marilao Bulacan, in the morning of October 8, 1959. The immediate cause of the collision was the fact that the driver of the bus lost control of the wheel when its left front tire suddenly exploded. The court a quo sentenced the defendant, now petitioner, to pay to plaintiffs actual, compensatory, and moral damages; and counsel fees. CA affirmed.

Issues: (1) WON the petitioners are liable for the consequences of the accident. (2) WON petitioners are liable for moral damages.

Ruling: Judgment affirmed. (1) Petitioner maintains that a tire blow-out is a fortuitous event and gives rise to no liability for negligence. Both the CFI and the CA found that the bus was running quite fast immediately before the accident. Considering that the tire which exploded was not new, petitioner describes it as"hindi masyadong kalbo," or not so very worn out, the plea of caso fortuito by petitioner cannot be entertained. The cause of the blow-out was a mechanical defect of the conveyance or a fault in its equipment which was easily discoverable if the bus had been subjected to a more thorough check-up before it took to the road. Hence, petitioners are liable for the accident.

(2) The second issue raised by petitioner is already a settled one. In this jurisdiction moral damages are recoverable by reason of the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract of a common carrier, as provided in Article 1764, in relation to Article 2206, of the Civil Code.

Astudillo vs. Manila Electric Co.


Teodora Astudillo vs. Manila Electric Co. G.R. No. L-33380. 17 December 1930.

Malcolm, J.:

Facts: In August, 1928, a young man by the name of Juan Astudillo met his death through electrocution, when he placed his right hand on a wire connected with an electric light pole situated near Sta Lucia Gate, Intramuros, in the City of Manila. Shortly thereafter, the mother of the deceased instituted an action in the CFI Mla to secure from the defendant, Manila Electric Company, damages. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff.

Issue: WON defendant did not exercise due care and diligence so as to render it liable for damages.

Ruling: The SC concludes that the plaintiff is entitled to damages. 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 must 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. In the case at ber, the cause of the injury was one which could have been foreseen and guarded against. The negligence came from the act of the defendant in so placing its pole and wires as to be w/n proximity to a place frequented by many people, with the possibility ever present of one of them losing his life by coming in contact with a highly charged and defectively insulated wire.

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