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Light Rail Transit Authority & Roman v. Navidad, et.al.

GR No. 145804
Feb 6, 2003

VITUG, J.:

FACTS:
Nicanor Navidad (Nicanor), then drunk, entered the EDSA LRT and purchased a token and stood
on the platform near the LRT tracks. Junelito Escartin (Escartin) was a security guard and approached
Nicanor, however they got into a misunderstand which then resulted to a fist fight. While the train was
incoming as operated by Rodolfo Roman (Roman) Nicanor fell onto the tracks and died.
Majorie Navidad (Majorie) along with her children, filed a complaint for damages against
Escartin, Roman, and the LRTA, the Metro Transit Organization, Inc. (Metro Transit), and Prudent
Security Agency (Prudent).
The RTC ruled in favor of Majorie and declared Prudent and Escartin liable. The CA modified the
decision and exonerated Prudent from any liability from the death of Nicanor, and held LRTA and Roman
liable.

ISSUE:
1) Whether LRTA/Roman Is Liable
2) Whether Prudent/ Escartin is Liable
3) Whether the damages awarded were proper

RULING:
1) YES. LRTA is liable under the contract of carriage established between the passenger and
common carrier.

A common carrier is required by these above statutory provisions to use utmost


diligence in carrying passengers with due regard for all circumstances. This obligation exists
not only during the course of the trip but for so long as the passengers are within its premises
where they ought to be in pursuance to then contract of carriage.

Art. 1763 renders a common carrier liable for death of or injury to passengers (a)
through the negligence or wilful acts of its employees or (b) on account of willful acts or
negligence of other passengers or of strangers if the common carrier’s employees through
theexercise of due diligence could have prevented or stopped the act or omission. In case of
such death or injury, a carrier is presumed to have been at fault or been negligent, and by
simple proof of injury, the passenger is relieved of the duty to still establish the fault or
negligence of the carrier or of its employees and the burden shifts upon the carrier to prove
that the injury is due to an unforeseen event or to force majeure

2) NO, Fault was not established. Liability will be based on tort based on Art 2176 of the New
Civil Code.

If Prudent is to be held liable, it would be for a tort under Art. 2176 in conjunction
with Art. 2180. Once the fault of the employee Escartin is established, the employer, Prudent,
would be held liable on the presumption that it did not exercise the diligence of a good father
of the family in the selection and supervision of its employees.
3) NO, the award of nominal damages along with actual damages is improper as they cannot be
awarded at the same time. Nominal damages are adjudicated in order that a right of the
plaintiff, which has been violated or invaded by the defendant, may be vindicated or
recognized, and not for the purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered by him.
It is an established rule that nominal damages cannot co-exist with compensatory damages.
NOTE:
Relationship between contractual and non-contractual breach – How then must the liability of the
common carrier, on the one hand, and an independent contractor, on the other hand, be described? It
would be solidary. A contractual obligation can be breached by tort and when the same act or omission
causes the injury, one resulting in culpa contractual and the other in culpa aquiliana, Article 2194 of the
Civil Code can well apply. In fine, a liability for tort may arise even under a contract, where tort is that
which breaches the contract. Stated differently, when an act which constitutes a breach of contract would
have itself constituted the source of a quasi-delictual liability had no contract existed between the parties,
the contract can be said to have been breached by tort, thereby allowing the rules on tort to apply.
a) P44,830.00 as actual damages;
b) P50,000.00 as nominal damages;
c) P50,000.00 as moral damages;
d) P50,000.00 as indemnity for the death of the deceased; and
) P20,000.00 as and for attorney’s fees.

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