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Plaintiff’s negligence to proximate cause

 If the act of the person causes damage to another and it is the proximate
cause of the damage done, there is no question that he is liable. For he should
see the consequences of his wrongful act.
 Article 2179: When the plaintiff’s own negligence was the immediate
and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages. But if his
negligence is contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the
injury being the defendant’s lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover
damages, but the courts shall mitigate the damages to be awarded.

Juan Bernardo vs. Legaspi ( December 23, 1914, G.R. No. L- 9308)

Facts: Plaintiff filed an action to recover damages for injuries sustained by plaintiff’s
automobile by reason of defendant’s negligence in causing the collision between his
automobile and that of plaintiff. Plaintiff also filed cross-complaint filed by the defendant
alleging that the injuries sustained by defendant’s automobile in the collision, as well as
those to plaintiff’s machine, were caused by the negligence of the plaintiff. The RTC
dismissed all these.

Ruling: The ruling of the RTC should be affirmed. The court found out that plaintiff and
defendant were negligent in handling their automobiles and that said negligence was of
such character and extent on the part of both as to prevent either from recovering. Where
the plaintiff in a negligence action, by his own carelessness contributes to the principal
occurrence, that is, to the accident, as one of the determining causes thereof, he cannot
recover. This is equally true of the defendant; and as both of them, of their negligent acts,
contributed to the determining cause of the accident, neither can recover.

PLDT vs. CA ( September 29, 1989, G.R. No. L- 67079)

FACTS: On July 30, 1968, spouses Antonio and Gloria Esteban, while riding their jeepney,
fell and ran over a mound of earth and fell into an open trench, an excavation allegedly
undertaken by PLDT for the installation of its underground conduit system. As a result,
Gloria, allegedly sustained injuries on her arms, legs, and face, leaving a permanent scar on
her cheek, while the husband suffered cut lips. In addition, the windshield of the jeep was
shattered. PLDT denies liability and contented that the injuries sustained by the spouses
were the result of their own negligence and that the entity should be held liable is L.R
Barte and Company, an independent contractor which undertook the construction of the
manhole and the conduit system. PLDT filed a third-party complaint against Barte, alleging
their terms of agreement that PLDT should in no manner be liable for negligence of Barte
and its employees. Barte answered that it was not aware nor it was notified of the accident
and they also allegedly installed necessary and appropriate standard signs in the work site.
Trial court ruled in favor of private respondents. PLDT and private respondents appealed,
the latter, as to the amount of damages. The CA then reversed the decision and dismissed
the complaint of the spouses and absolved PLDT from damages. Respondents filed an MR
but it was denied. Respondents filed a second MR and it was granted. The CA then affirmed
the ruling of the lower court.

ISSUE: Whether PLDT should be held liable?

RULING: No. The court considered the following matters:

1. If it had remained on the inside lane, it would not have hit the accident mound. The
accident was not due to the absence of warning signs, but to the unexplained abrupt
swerving of the jeep from the inside lane;
2. The ditches on Lacson Street was covered but not in such a way to allow the outer
lane to be freely and conveniently passable to vehicles;
3. The jeep must have been running for more than 25km per hour, if not, he could have
braked the moment it struck the accident mound;
4. The plaintiff-husband had not exercised the diligence of a good father of a family to
avoid the accident.

These findings show that the negligence of respondent Antonio Estaban was not only
contributory to his injuries and those of his wife but goes to the very cause of the
occurrence of the accident and thereby precludes their right to recover damages. The perils
of the road were known to, hence, appreciated and presumed by respondents. By
exercising reasonable care and prudence, respondents Estaban could have avoided the
injurious consequences of his act. It is basic that private respondent’s cannot charge PLDT
for their injuries where their own failure to exercise due and reasonable care was the cause
thereof. As a resident of Lacson Street, he passed on that street almost everyday and had
knowledge of the presence and location of the excavation there. It was his negligence that
exposed him and his wife to danger; hence he is solely responsible for the consequence of
his imprudence.

MANILA ELECTRIC CO. vs SOTERO REMOQUILLO ( May 18, 1956, G.R. No. L- 8328)

FACTS: On August 22, 1950, Efren Magno went to the house of Antonio Penaloza, his
stepbrother, to repair a “media agua” said to be in a leaking condition. Standing on said
“media agua”, Magno received from his son thru that window a galvanized iron sheet to
cover the leaking portion, turned around and in doing so the lower end of the iron sheet
came into contact with the electric wire of the Manila Electric Company, causing his death
by electrocution. His widow and children filed suit to recover damages from the company.
The trial court rendered judgment in their favor. It was appealed to the CA but it affirmed
the judgment but it reduced the attorney’s fees .

ISSUE: Whether the company should be held liable?

RULING: No. The court failed to see how the company could be held guilty of negligence or
as lacking due diligence. Although the city ordinance called for a distance of 3-feet of its
wires from any building, there was actually a distance of 7-feet and 2 ¾ inches of the wires
from the side of the house of Penaloza. Even considering said regulation distance of 3-feet
as referring not to the side of a building, but to any projecting part thereof such as a “media
agua”, had the house owner followed the terms of the permit given him by the city for the
construction of his “media agua”, namely, one meter or 39 inches wide, the distance from
the wires to the edge of said “media agua” would have been 3 feet and 11 3/8 inches. The
company cannot be expected to be always on the lookout for any illegal construction which
reduces the distance between its wires and said construction. In this present case, the
violation of the permit for the construction of the “media agua” was not the direct cause of
the accident. It merely contributed to it. Had said “media agua” been only one meter wide
as allowed by the permit, there would be no accident.

The real cause of the accident or death was the negligent or reckless act of Magno himself.
When he was called to repair the “media agua”, it is to be presumed that dues to his age and
experience he was qualified to do so. So he could not have been entirely a stranger to
electric wires and the danger lurking in them. But unfortunately, his training and
experience failed him. It is clear to the court that the principal and proximate cause of the
electrocution was not the electric wire, evidently a remote cause, but rather the reckless
and negligent act of Magno in turning around and swinging the galvanized iron sheet
without taking any precaution, such as looking back toward the street, and at the wire to
avoid its contacting said iron sheet.

FACTS: On October 31, 1998, around 9p.m , a motorcycle, driven by Camilo Tangonan,
Rapanan and Erwin Coloma figured in a mishap along the National Highway of Buguey,
Cagayan. Camilo died, while the two sustained injuries. Rapanan and Camilo’s common law
wife, Mary filed a complaint alleging that while they were traversing the national highway
they were struck and electrocuted by a live tension wire from one of the lectric posts
owned by the petitioner. They contended that mishap was due to petitioners negligence
when it had failed to fix and change said live tension wire. Petitioner alleged that they
cannot be faulted for negligence if there were electric wires dangling along the national
road since they were caused by typhoons which are fortuitous events. It also alleged that it
was able to clear the said areas of fallen electric poles and dangling high tension wires
immediately after the typhoons. It likewise contended that the proximate cause of the
mishap was the victims negligence and imprudence in operating and driving the
motorcycle. The RTC rendered its decision in favor of petitioner. It held that the proximate
cause of the incident is the negligence and imprudence of Camilo. However, the CA
reversed the decision and held petitioner liable for quasi-delict. The CA found that one fact
was consistent- the protruding/ dangling CAGELCO wire to which the victims were
strangled or trapped. It nevertheless ruled that the victims were partly responsible for the
injuries they sustained. They were over-speeding and were not wearing protective helmets.
Moreover, the single motorcycle being driven carried three persons. While said
circumstances were not the proximate cause of Camilo’s death and Rapanan’s injuries, they
contributed to the occurrence of the unfortunate event.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner’s negligence in maintenance of its facilities the proximate cause
of the death of C amilo and the injuries of Rapanan?

Ruling: No. The Court took note of the elements necessary to establish a quasi-delict:

a) Damages to the plaintiff; b) negligence, by act or omission of the defendant; c) the

connection of cause and effect between such negligence and the damages. The first
element is undisputed but the second and third element are lacking. Petitioner’s
employee testified that their electric poles along the highways, including the one
where the mishap took place, were erected about four to five meters from the
shoulder of the road. The excerpt from the police blotter states that at the time of
the mishap, the wires were quietly sitting on the shoulder of the road, far enough
from the concrete portion so as not to pose any threat to passing motor vehicles and
pedestrians. The court also concluded that the motorcycle was probably running too
fast that it lost control which it tilted and slid, the passengers were thrown off to the
shoulder where the electric wires were. Had Camilo driven the motorcycle at an
average speed, there would be no accident. Moreover, it was also negligent of
Camilo to have allowed two person to ride with him. This most likely even aggrated
the situation because the motorcycle was overloaded which made it harder to arrive
and control. When the plaintiffs own negligence was the immediate and proximate
cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages.

PRESCRIPTION- it is the period of time within which a right must be exercised, unless the
right is extinguished.

ARTICLE 1146: The following actions must be instituted within four (4) years:

1. Upon an inquiry to the rights of the plaintiff;

2. Upon a quasi-delict.

KRAMER vs CA ( October 18, 1989, G.R No. 83524)

FACTS: On April 8, 1976, F/B Marjeole, a fishing boat owned by spouses Kramer, while
navigating, figured into a collision with M/V Asia Philippines. The F/B Marjeole sank,
taking with its fish catch. Both vessels filed their respective marine protests with the Board
of Marine Inquiry of the Philippine Coast Guard. On October 9, 1981, the Board concluded
that the loss of the F/B Marjeole and its fish catch was attributable to the negligence of the
employees of the private respondent who were on board the M/V Asia Philippines. On May
30, 1985, petitioners then instituted a complaint for damages against private respondents.
Private respondents filea a Motion seeking the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of
prescription. Raising Article 1146, he maintained that the petitioners should have filed
their complaint within 4 years from the date when their cause of action have accrued which
should be on April 8, 1976. The petitioners argued that the running of the prescriptive
period was tolled by the filing of the marine protest and that their cause of action accrued
only on April 29, 1982. Their motion was denied by the RTC stating that the four-year
prescriptive period should begin to run only from April 29, 1982. It was elevated to the CA
wherein it ordered the trial court to dismiss the complaint. Petitioners filed an MR but was

ISSUE: Whether petitioner’s complaint has already prescribed?

RULING: Yes. The Supreme Court stated that the prescriptive period begins from the day
the quasi-delict is commited. The prescriptive period must be counted when the last
element occurs or takes place, that is, the time of the commission of an act or omission
violative of the right of the plaintiff, which is the time when the cause of action arises. The
aggrieved party need not to wait for a determination by an administrative body like a
Board of Marine Inquiry, that the collision was caused by the fault or negligence of the
other party before he can file an action for damages. Immediately after the collision the
aggrieved party can seek relief from the courts by alleging such negligence or fault of the
owners, agents or personnel of the other vessel.