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David Taylor vs Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company

David Taylor was a 15 year old boy who spent time as a cabin boy at sea; he was also able
to learn some principles of mechanical engineering and mechanical drawing from his dads
office (his dad was a mechanical engineer); he was also employed as a mechanical
draftsman earning P2.50 a day all said, Taylor was mature well beyond his age.
One day in 1905, he and another boy entered into the premises of Manila Electric power
plant where they found 20-30 blasting caps which they took home. In an effort to explode
the said caps, Taylor experimented until he succeeded in opening the caps and then he
lighted it using a match which resulted to the explosion of the caps causing severe injuries
to his companion and to Taylor losing one eye.
Taylor sued Manila Electric alleging that because the company left the caps exposed to
children, they are liable for damages due to the companys negligence.
ISSUE: Whether or not Manila Electric is liable for damages.
HELD: No. The SC reiterated the elements of quasi delict as follows:
(1) Damages to the plaintiff.
(2) Negligence by act or omission of which defendant personally, or some person for whose
acts it must respond, was guilty.
(3) The connection of cause and effect between the negligence and the damage.
In the case at bar, it is true that Manila Electric has been negligent in disposing off the caps
which they used for the power plant, and that said caps caused damages to Taylor.
However, the causal connection between the companys negligence and the injuries
sustained by Taylor is absent. It is in fact the direct acts of Taylor which led to the explosion
of the caps as he even, in various experiments and in multiple attempts, tried to explode the
caps. It is from said acts that led to the explosion and hence the injuries.
Taylor at the time of the accident was well-grown youth of 15, more mature both mentally
and physically than the average boy of his age; he had been to sea as a cabin boy; was
able to earn P2.50 a day as a mechanical draftsman thirty days after the injury was
incurred; and the record discloses throughout that he was exceptionally well qualified to
take care. The evidence of record leaves no room for doubt that he well knew the explosive
character of the cap with which he was amusing himself. The series of experiments made
by him in his attempt to produce an explosion admit of no other explanation. His attempt to
discharge the cap by the use of electricity, followed by his efforts to explode it with a stone
or a hammer, and the final success of his endeavors brought about by the applications of a

match to the contents of the cap, show clearly that he knew what he was about. Nor can
there be any reasonable doubt that he had reason to anticipate that the explosion might be
dangerous.
The just thing is that a man should suffer the damage which comes to him through his own
fault, and that he cannot demand reparation therefor from another.

Salud Villanueva Vda. De Bataclan vs Mariano Medina


Pass-midnight in September 1952, Juan Bataclan rode a bus owned by Mariano Medina
from Cavite to Pasay. While on its way, the driver of the bus was driving fast and when he
applied the brakes it cause the bus to be overturned. The driver, the conductor, and some
passengers were able to free themselves from the bus except Bataclan and 3 others. The
passengers called the help of the villagers and as it was dark, the villagers brought torch
with them. The driver and the conductor failed to warn the would-be helpers of the fact that
gasoline has spilled from the overturned bus so a huge fire ensued which engulfed the bus
thereby killing the 4 passengers trapped inside. It was also found later in trial that the tires of
the bus were old.
ISSUE: Whether or not the proximate cause of the death of Bataclan et al was their burning
by reason of the torches which ignited the gasoline.
HELD: No. The proximate cause was the overturning of the bus which was caused by the
negligence of the driver because he was speeding and also he was already advised by
Medina to change the tires yet he did not. Such negligence resulted to the overturning of the
bus. The torches carried by the would-be helpers are not to be blamed. It is just but natural
for the villagers to respond to the call for help from the passengers and since it is a rural
area which did not have flashlights, torches are the natural source of lighting. Further, the
smell of gas could have been all over the place yet the driver and the conductor failed to
provide warning about said fact to the villagers.
WHAT IS PROXIMATE CAUSE?
Proximate cause is that cause, which, in natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any
efficient intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have
occurred.
And more comprehensively, the proximate legal cause is that acting first and producing the
injury, either immediately or by setting other events in motion, all constituting a natural and
continuous chain of events, each having a close causal connection with its immediate
predecessor, the final event in the chain immediately effecting the injury as a natural and

probable result of the cause which first acted, under such circumstances that the person
responsible for the first event should, as an ordinary prudent and intelligent person, have
reasonable ground to expect at the moment of his act or default that an injury to some
person might probably result therefrom.
SOFIA FERNANDO, in her behalf and as the legal guardian of her minor
children, namely: ALBERTO & ROBERTO, all surnamed FERNANDO, ANITA
GARCIA, NICOLAS LIAGOSO, ROSALIA BERTULANO, in her behalf and as
the legal guardian of her minor children, namely: EDUARDO, ROLANDO,
DANIEL, AND JOCELYN, all surnamed BERTULANO, PRIMITIVA FAJARDO
in her behalf and as legal guardian of her minor children, namely: GILBERT,
GLEN, JOCELYN AND JOSELITO, all surnamed FAJARDO, and EMETERIA
LIAGOSO, in her behalf and as guardian ad litem, of her minor
grandchildren, namely: NOEL, WILLIAM, GENEVIEVE and GERRY, all
surnamed LIAGOSO, petitioners, vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS AND CITY OF DAVAO, respondents.

FACTS:

November 7, 1975: Bibiano Morta, market master of the Agdao Public Market
filed a requisition request with the Chief of Property of the City Treasurer's Office for
the re-emptying of the septic tank in Agdao wherein Bascon won

November 22, 1975: bidder Bertulano with four other companions namely
Joselito Garcia, William Liagoso, Alberto Fernando and Jose Fajardo, Jr. were found
dead inside the septic tank.

The bodies were removed by a fireman.

The body of Joselito Garcia, was taken out by his uncle, Danilo Garcia
and taken to the Regional Hospital but he expired there.

The City Engineer's office investigated the case and learned they entered the
septic tank without clearance from it nor with the knowledge and consent of the market
master.

Since the septic tank was found to be almost empty, they were
presumed to be the ones who did the re-emptying.

Dr. Juan Abear of the City Health Office found them to have died from "asphyxia"
- diminution of oxygen supply in the body and intake of toxic gas

November 26, 1975: Bascon signed the purchase order

RTC: Dismissed the case

CA: Reversed - law intended to protect the plight of the poor and the needy, the
ignorant and the indigent
ISSUE: W/N Davao city is negligent and its negligence is the proximate cause therefore can
be liable for damages

HELD: NO. CA affirmed.

test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case:

Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that
reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in
the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence

standard supposed to be supplied by the imaginary


conduct of the discreet pater familias of the Roman law

Conduct is said to be negligent when a prudent man in the position of the


tortfeasor would have foreseen that an effect harmful to another was sufficiently
probable warrant his foregoing the conduct or guarding against its consequences

The question as to what would constitute the conduct of a prudent


man in a given situation must of course be always determined in the light of human
experience and in view of the facts involved in the particular case

Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the


suggestion born of this provision, is always necessary before negligence can be held
to exist

Distinction must be made between the accident and the injury

Where he contributes to the principal occurrence, as one of its


determining factors, he can not recover

Where, in conjunction with the occurrence, he contributes only to his


own injury, he may recover the amount that the defendant responsible for the event
should pay for such injury, less a sum deemed a suitable equivalent for his own
imprudence

Toilets and septic tanks are not nuisances per se as defined in Article 694 of the
New Civil Code which would necessitate warning signs for the protection of the public

While the construction of these public facilities demands utmost


compliance with safety and sanitary requirements, the putting up of warning signs is
not one of those requirements

accident such as toxic gas leakage from the septic tank is unlikely to happen
unless one removes its covers

Considering the nature of the task of emptying a septic tank especially one which
has not been cleaned for years, an ordinarily prudent person should undoubtedly be
aware of the attendant risks. The victims are no exception; more so with Mr. Bertulano,
an old hand in this kind of service, who is presumed to know the hazards of the job.
His failure, therefore, and that of his men to take precautionary measures for their
safety was the proximate cause of the accident.

proximate and immediate cause of the death of the victims was due to their own
negligence. Consequently, the petitioners cannot demand damages from the public
respondent.
SANITARY STEAM LAUNDRY, INC., petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS,
NICANOR BERNABE III, JOSEFINA BERNABE, in their individual capacities
and as HEIRS OF JASON BERNABE, JOHN JOSEPH BERNABE, VICTOR
IGNACIO, JULIETA ENRIQUEZ and RAMON ENRIQUEZ, RENE TABLANTE,
LEOMAR MACASPAC, JR., CHARITO ESTOLANO, NENITA SALUNOY, in
their individual capacities and as HEIRS OF DALMACIO SALUNOY,
respondents.