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RAKES v ATLANTIC [G.R. No. 1719. January 23, 1907.] M. H.

, RAKES, plaintiff-
appellee, vs. THE ATLANTIC, GULF AND PACIFIC COMPANY, defendant-
appellant.

FACTS:
he plaintiff, one of a gang of eight negro laborers in the employment of the defendant,
was at work transporting iron rails from a barge in the harbor to the company's yard
near the malecon in Manila. Plaintiff claims that but one hand car was used in this
work. The defendant has proved that there were two immediately following one
another, upon which were piled lengthwise seven rails, each weighing 560 pounds, so
that the ends of the rails lay upon two crosspieces or sills secured to the cars, but
without side pieces or guards to prevent them from slipping off. According to the
testimony of the plaintiff, the men were either in the rear of the car or at its sides.
According to that defendant, some of them were also in front, hauling by a rope. At a
certain spot at or near the water's edge the track sagged, the tie broke, the car either
canted or upset, the rails slid off and caught the plaintiff, breaking his leg, which was
afterwards amputated at about the knee.

ISSUE:
Whether the company is liable

RULING:
Yes. The negligence of the plaintiff, contributing to the accident, to what extent it
existed in fact and what legal effect is to be given it. In two particulars is he charged
with carelessness:
First. That having noticed the depression in the track he continued his work; and
Second.That he walked on the ends of the ties at the side of the car instead of along
the boards, either before or behind it.
The Court ruled that His lack of caution in continuing at his work after noticing the
slight depression of the rail was not of so gross a nature as to constitute negligence,
barring his recovery under the severe American rule. While the plaintiff and his
witnesses swear that not only were they not forbidden to proceed in this way, but
were expressly directed by the foreman to do so, both the officers of the company and
three of the workmen testify that there was a general prohibition frequently made
known to all the gang against walking by the side of the car, and the foreman swears
that he repeated the prohibition before the starting of this particular load. On this
contradiction of proof we think that the preponderance is in favor of the defendant's
contention to the extent of the general order being made known to the workmen. If so,
the disobedience of the plaintiff in placing himself in danger contributed in some
degree to the injury as a proximate, although not as its primary cause.

Distinction must be between the accident and the injury, between the event itself,
without which there could have been no accident, and those acts of the victim not
entering into it, independent of it, but contributing under review was the displacement
of the crosspiece or the failure to replace it. this produced the event giving occasion
for damages — that is, the sinking of the track and the sliding of the iron rails.

1. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES. — In order to enforce the liability of an employer


for injuries to his employee, it is not necessary that a criminal action be first
prosecuted against the employer or his representative primarily chargeable with the
accident. No criminal proceeding having been taken, the civil action may proceed to
judgment.

2. LIABILITY OF EMPLOYER TO WORKMEN. — The responsibility of an employer to


his employee of a fellow-servant of the employee injured, is not adopted in Philippine
jurisprudence.

3. FELLOW-SERVANT RULE. — Sua cuique culpa nocet. The doctrine known as the
"Fellow-servant rule," exonerating the employer where the injury was incurred through
the negligence of a fellow-servant of the employee injured, is not adopted in Philippine
jurisprudence.
Del Prado vs. Meralco (GR 29462, 7 March 1929)

Facts: The Manila Electric Company, is engaged in operating street cars in the City of Manila
for the conveyance of passengers; and on the morning of 18 November 1925, one Teodorico
Florenciano, as Meralco’s motorman, was in charge of Car 74 running from east to west on R.
Hidalgo Street, the scene of the accident being at a point near the intersection of said street
and Mendoza Street. After the car had stopped at its appointed place for taking on and
letting off passengers, just east of the intersection, it resumed its course at a moderate speed
under the guidance of the motorman. The car had proceeded only a short distance, however,
when Ignacio del Prado ran across the street to catch the car, his approach being made from
the left. The car was of the kind having entrance and exit at either end, and the movement of
del Prado was so timed that he arrived at the front entrance of the car at the moment when
the car was passing. Del Prado, upon approaching the car, raised his hand as an indication to
the motorman of his desire to board the car, in response to which the motorman eased up a
little, without stopping. Upon this, del Prado seized, with his left hand, the front
perpendicular handpost, at the same time placing his left foot upon the platform. However,
before del Prado’s position had become secure, and even before his raised right foot had
reached the platform, the motorman applied the power, with the result that the car gave a
slight lurch forward. This sudden impulse to the car caused del Prado’s foot to slip, and his
hand was jerked loose from the handpost. He therefore fell to the ground, and his right foot
was caught and crushed by the moving car. The next day the member had to be amputated in
the hospital.

An action was instituted in the CFI of Manila by Ignacio del Prado to recover damages in the
amount of P50,000 for personal injuries alleged to have been caused by the negligence of
Meralco in the operation of one of its street cars in the City of Manila. Upon hearing the
cause the trial court awarded to del Prado the sum of P10,000, as damages, with costs of suit.
Meralco appealed.

ISSUE: WON There is absence or presence of Contributory Negligence.

SC Ruling: The Supreme Court affirmed the appealed judgment with the modification that the
sum to be recovered reduced to P2,500; with costs against Meralco.

1. No obligation on the part of a street railway company to stop cars at points other
than appointed for stoppage. There is no obligation on the part of a street railway company
to stop its cars to let on intending passengers at other points than those appointed for
stoppage. It would be impossible to operate a system of street cars if a company engaged in
this business were required to stop any and everywhere to take on people who are too
indolent, or who imagine themselves to be in too great a hurry, to go to the proper places for
boarding the cars.

2. Duty of the motorman of the car. Although the motorman of the car was not
bound to stop to let the passenger on, it was his duty to do no act that would have the effect
of increasing the passenger’s peril while he was attempting to board the car. The premature
acceleration of the car was a breach of this duty.

3. Nature of relation between a carrier of passengers for hire and its patrons; Duty of
the carrier. The relation between a carrier of passengers for hire and its patrons is of a
contractual nature; and a failure on the part of the carrier to use due care in carrying its
passengers safely is a breach of duty (culpa contractual) under articles 1101, 1103, and 1104
of the Civil Code. Furthermore, the duty that the carrier of passengers owes to its patrons
extends to persons boarding the cars as well as to those alighting therefrom.

4. Relevance of distinction between Culpa Contractual and Culpa Aquiliana as to


defenses available. The distinction between the two sorts of negligence is important in this
jurisdiction, for the reason that where liability arises from a mere tort (culpa aquiliana), not
involving a breach of positive obligation, an employer, or master, may exculpate himself,
under the last paragraph of article 1903 of the Civil Code, by proving that he had exercised
due diligence to prevent the damage; whereas this defense is not available if the liability of
the master arises from a breach of contractual duty (culpa contractual).

5. Training of motorman irrelevant in breach of obligation under Article 1101 of the


Civil Code. Herein, the company pleaded as a special defense that it had used all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent the damage suffered by del Prado; and to
establish this contention the company introduced testimony showing that due care had been
used in training and instructing the motorman in charge of this car in his art. This proof is
irrelevant in view of the fact that the liability involved was derived from a breach of
obligation under article 1101 of the Civil Code and related provisions.

6. Relevance of distinction between negligence arising under Article 1902 and 1101
as to mitigation of liability. Another practical difference between liability for negligence
arising under article 1902 of the Civil Code and liability arising from negligence in the
performance of a positive duty, under article 1101 and related provisions of the Civil Code, is
that, in dealing with the latter form of negligence, the court is given a discretion to mitigate
liability according to the circumstances of the case (art 1103). No such general discretion is
given by the Code in dealing with liability arising under article 1902; though possibly the same
end is reached by courts in dealing with the latter form of liability because of the latitude of
the considerations pertinent to cases arising under this article.

7. Contributory negligence a mitigating circumstance under Article 1103 Civil Code.


As to the contributory negligence of del Prado, as in Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co. (7
Phil., 359), it is treated as a mitigating circumstance under article 1103 of the Civil Code.
Herein, the negligence of del Prado was contributory to the accident and must be considered
as a mitigating circumstance.

8. Proximate cause. Del Prado’s negligence in attempting to board the moving car
was not the proximate cause of the injury. The direct and proximate cause of the injury was
the act of Meralco’s motorman in putting on the power prematurely. A person boarding a
moving car must be taken to assume the risk of injury from boarding the car under the
conditions open to his view, but he cannot fairly be held to assume the risk that the
motorman, having the situation in view, will increase his peril by accelerating the speed of
the car before he is planted safely on the platform. Again, the situation is one where the
negligent act of the company’s servant succeeded the negligent act of the passenger, and the
negligence of the company must be considered the proximate cause of the injury.

9. Rule analogous to the doctrine of “the last clear chance”. The rule applicable
seems to be analogous to, if not identical with that which is sometimes referred to as the
doctrine of “the last clear chance.” In accordance with this doctrine, the contributory
negligence of the party injured will not defeat the action if it be shown that the defendant
might, by the exercise of reasonable care and prudence, have avoided the consequences of
the negligence of the injured party.