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Cebu Shipyard v.

William Lines (Short title) - CSEW avers that since the fire experts were one in their opinion
GR # 132607 | May 5, 1999 that the fire did not originate in the area where the JNB workers
Petitioner: Cebu Shipyard and Engineering Works, Inc. were doing hotworks but on the crew accommodation cabins, the
Respondent: William Lines, Inc. and Prudential Guarantee and Assurance courts should have given weight to such finding based on the
Company, Inc. testimonies of fire experts.
(Rule 130, Section 49)
ISSUE/S
FACTS 1. W/N CA committed a reversible error in ruling CSEW's expert evidence
1. M/V Manila City is a luxury passenger-cargo vessel owned by as inadmissible or of no probative value.
William Lines, Inc and was insured with Prudential for P45M for hull
and machinery which ncluded an Additional Perils Clause covering PROVISION
loss of or damage through the negligence of ship repairmen. Rule 130
2. Cebu Shipyard and Engineering Works, Inc. (CSEW) was also Section 49. Opinion of expert witness. — The opinion of a witness on a
insured by Prudential for 3rd party liability under a Shiprepairers matter requiring special knowledge, skill, experience or training which he
Legal Liability Insurance Policy for P10M. shown to posses, may be received in evidence.
3. William Lines, Inc. brought M/V Manila City to the Cebu Shipyard in
Lapu-lapu City for annual dry-docking and repair. RULING & RATIO
4. An arrival conference was held between representatives of William 1. No.
Lines, Inc. and CSEW to discuss the work to be undertaken. 1. Courts are not bound by the testimonies of expert witnesses.
5. While the M/V Manila City was undergoing dry-docking and repairs Although they may have probative value, reception in evidence of
within the premises of CSEW, the master, officers and crew of M/V expert testimonies is within the discretion of the court.
Manila City stayed in the vessel, using their cabins as living 2. The word 'may' signifies that the use of opinion of an expert
quarters while employees hired by William Lines to work on the witness as evidence is a prerogative of the courts.
vessel were also present during the dry-docking. 3. It is never mandatory for judges to give substantial weight to expert
6. Subsequently, after the vessel was transferred to the docking quay, testimonies if from the facts and evidence on record, a conclusion
it caught fire and sank. is readily ascertainable.
7. William Lines, Inc. then filed a complaint for damages against 4. In the present case, the testimonies of the fire experts were not the
CSEW, alleging that the fire was caused by CSEWs negligence. only available evidence on the probable cause and origin of the fire.
8. Later, an Amended Complaint was filed impleading Prudential as 5. There were witnesses who were actually on board the vessel when
co-plaintiff, after the latter had paid William Lines, Inc. the value of the fire occurred so between the testimonies of the fire experts and
the hull and machinery insurance and as a result, Prudential was the testimonies of those present during the fire, the latter are of
subrogated to the claim of P45 million. more probative value.
9. RTC rendered a judgment against CSEW which appealed to CA.
10. During the pendency of the appeal, CSEW and William Lines DISPOSITION
presented a Joint Motion for Partial Dismissal with prejudice, on the WHEREFORE, for want of merit, the petition is hereby DENIED and the
basis of an amicable settlement. decision, dated September 3, 1997, and Resolution, dated February 13,
11. CA ordered the partial dismissal of the case insofar as CSEW and 1998, of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.
William Lines were concerned and latter affirmed the order of the SO ORDERED.
RTC for CSEW to pay Prudential, the subrogee.
12. Hence this petition.

Contention of CSEW with regard to expert testimony


- CSEW contends that the CA erroneously ruled on the
inadmissibility of the expert testimonies it introduced on the
probable cause and origin of the fire.