Case Digests

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Yamada vs. Manila Railroad & Bachrach Garage 33 Phil. 11 (source)Facts: The plaintiffs with three companions hired an automobile from the defendant Bachrach Garage & Taxicab Co. for a trip to Cavite Viejo. The automobile was hired by the driver of the taxicab company. On the return trip to Manila, while crossing the tracks of the railroad company, the automobile was struck by the train and the plaintiffs were injured. Plaintiffs sued both the railroad and the taxicab companies. The lower court absolved the railroad company and condemned the taxicab company to pay damages to the plaintiff. The question was whether the driver of the car was negligent and in the affirmative whether the employer owner of the car was responsible in damages to the plaintiffs. Held: The driver was negligent when he did not reduce his speed upon nearing the railroad crossing to determine whether there was an oncoming train.

The defendant also contended that even if the driver was negligent, still it was not liable since it had performed its duty to the plaintiffs when it furnished a suitable and proper car and selected a driver who had been with the company for five or six years and who had not had an accident or misadventure before. The Supreme Court, however, held that it was the duty of the company not only to furnish a suitable and proper care and select a competent operator, but also to supervise and, where necessary, instruct him properly.

Defendant taxicab company was held liable to the plaintiffs.

Barredo vs. Garcia and Almario 73 Phil. 607 (source)Facts: A head-on collision between a taxicab owned by Barredo and a carretela occurred. The carretela was overturned and one of its passengers, a 16-year old boy, the son of Garcia and Almario, died as a result of the injuries which he received. The driver of the taxicab, a employee of Barredo, was prosecuted for the crime and was convicted. When the criminal case was instituted, Garcia and Almario reserved their right to institute a separate civil action for damages. Subsequently, Garcia and Almario instituted a civil action for damages against Barredo, the employer of the taxicab driver. Held: The pivotal question in this case is whether the plaintiffs may bring this separate civil action against Fausto Barredo thus making him primarily and directly responsible under Article 1903 of the Civil Code as an employer of Pedro Fontanilla. The defendant maintains that Fontanillas negligence being punishable by the Penal Code, his (defendants) liability as an employer is only subsidiary, according to said Penal Code, but Fontanilla has not been sued in a civil action and his property has not been exhausted. To decide the main issue, we must cut thru the tangle that has, in the minds of many, confused and jumbled together delitos and cuasi delitos, or crimes under the Penal Code and fault or negligence under Articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. This should be done because justice may be lost in a labyrinth, unless principles and remedies are distinctly envisaged. Fortunately, we are aided in our inquiry by the luminous presentation of this perplexing subject by renowned jurists and we are likewise guided by the decisions of this Court in previous cases as well as by the solemn clarity of the considerations in several sentences of the Supreme Tribunal of Spain. Authorities support the proposition that a quasi-delict or culpa aquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code, with a substantivity all its own, and individuality that is entirely apart and independent from a delict or crime. Upon this principle, and on the wording and spirit of Article 1903 of the Civil Code, the primary and direct responsibility of employers may be safely anchored. x x x x x QUASI-DELICTS 23

It will thus be seen that while the terms of Article 1902 of the Civil Code seem to be broad enough to cover the drivers negligence in the instant case, nevertheless Article 1903 limits cuasi-delitos to acts or omissions not punishable by law. But inasmuch as Article 365 of the Revised Penal Code punishes not only reckless but even simple imprudence or negligence, the fault or negligence under Article 1902 of the Civil Code has apparently been crowded out. It is this overlapping that makes the confusion worse confounded. However, a closer study shows that such a concurrence of scope in regard to negligent acts does not destroy the distinction between the civil liability arising from a crime and the responsibility for cuasi-delitos or culpa extra-contractual. The same negligent act causing damages may produce civil liability arising from a crime under Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; or create an action for cuasi-delito or culpa extracontractual under Articles 1902-1910 of the Civil Code. The individuality of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual looms clear and unmistakable. This legal institution is of ancient lineage, one of its early ancestors being the Lex Aquilia in the Roman Law. In fact, in Spanish legal terminology, this responsibility is often referred to as culpa aquiliana. The Partidas also contributed to the genealogy of the present fault or negligence under the Civil Code: x x x . The distinctive nature of cuasi-delitos survives in the Civil Code. According to Article 1089, one of the five sources of obligations is the legal institution of cuasi-delito or culpa extra-contractual: los actos . En que inteervenga cualquier genero de culpa o negligencia. Then Article 1093 provides that this kind of obligation shall be governed by Chapter 11 of Title XVI of Book IV, meaning Articles 1902-1910. This portion of the civil Code is exclusively devoted to the legal institution of culpa aquiliana. Some of the differences between crimes under the Penal Code are: 1. That crimes affect the public interest, while quasi-delitos are only of private concern. 2. That consequently, the Penal Code punishes or corrects the criminal act, while the Civil Code, by means of indemnification, merely repairs the damage. 3. That delicts are not as broad as quasi-delicts, because for the former are punished only if there is a penal law clearly covering them, while the latter, cuasidelitos, include all acts in which any kind of fault or negligence intervenes. However, it should be noted that not all violations of the penal law produce civil responsibility, such as begging 24 TORTS

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in contravention of ordinances, violation of the game laws, infraction of the rules of traffic when nobody is hurt. xxxxx The foregoing authorities clearly demonstrate the separate individuality of cuasidelitos or culpa aquiliana under the Civil Code. Specifically they show that there is a distinction between civil liability arising from criminal negligence (governed by the Penal Code) and responsibility for fault or negligence under Articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for fault or negligence under Articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code, and that the same negligent act may produce either a civil liability arising from a crime under the Penal Code, or a separate responsibility for fault or negligence under Articles 1902 to 1910 of the Civil Code. Still more concretely the authorities above cited render it inescapable to conclude that the employer in this case the defendant-petitioner is primarily in this case the defendant-petitioner is primarily and directly liable under Article 1903 of the Civil Code.

The Barredo case was decided by the Supreme Court prior to the present Civil Code. However, the principle enunciated in said case that responsibility for fault or negligence as quasi-delict is distinct and separate from negligence penalized under the Revised Penal Code, is now specifically embodied in Art. 2177 of the Civil Code.

Elcano vs. Hill 77 SCRA 98Facts: Reginald Hill, a minor son of defendant Marvin Hill, was criminally prosecuted for killing Agapito Elcano, son of the plaintiffs. Hill was acquitted on the ground that there was lack of intent to kill coupled with mistake. The Elcanos brought a civil action against Hill and his father to recover damages for the death of their son. Hill moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the civil action was barred by the prior judgment acquitting Hill of the crime. The Court dismissed the complaint and the Elcanos brought the case to the Supreme Court on appeal. Held: ...In other words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule 111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as a quasi-delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration In the criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We hold, in reiteration of Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may be punishable by law. It results, therefore, that the acquittal of Reginald Hill in the criminal case has not extinguished his liability for quasi-delict, hence that acquittal is not a bar to the instant action against him. (pp. 106107).

Order appealed from reversed and the trial court was ordered to proceed with the case.

Garcia vs. Florido 52 SCRA 420Facts: On August 4, 1971 Garcia and his wife took a PU car from Oroquieta City to Zamboanga City. While negotiating a slight curve along the national highway at Barrio Guisukan, Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte the car collided with an oncoming passenger bus owner by Mactan Transit Co. driven by Pedro Tumala. Garcia and his wife were injured and hospitalized. Garcia and his wife filed an action for damages in the Court of First Instance of Misamis Occidental against the owners and drive