TORTS_and_DAMAGES_CASE_DIGESTS.pdf - TORTS DAMAGES CASE DIGESTS Atty Jerick Sta Barbara Syllabus[Aly Notes TISON vs SPS POMASIN G.R No 173180 PET ALBERT

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Unformatted text preview: TORTS & DAMAGES CASE DIGESTS Atty. Jerick Sta. Barbara Syllabus [Aly Notes] TISON vs. SPS. POMASIN G.R. No. 173180; August 24, 2011 PET: ALBERT TISON and CLAUDIO L. JABON RES: SPS. GREGORIO POMASIN and CONSORCIA PONCE-POMASIN Two vehicles, a tractor-trailer and a jitney, figured in a vehicular mishap along Maharlika Highway in Barangay Agos, Polangui, Albay last 12 August 1994. Laarni Pomasin (Laarni) was driving the jitney towards the direction of Legaspi City while the tractor-trailer, driven by Claudio Jabon (Jabon), was traversing the opposite lane going towards Naga City. Gregorio Pomasin (Gregorio), Laarni’s father, was on board the jitney and seated on the passengers side. He testified that while the jitney was passing through a curve going downward, he saw a tractor-trailer coming from the opposite direction and encroaching on the jitneys lane. The jitney was hit by the tractor-trailer and it was dragged further causing death and injuries to its passengers. On the other hand, Jabon recounted that while he was driving the tractor-trailer, he noticed a jitney on the opposite lane falling off the shoulder of the road. Thereafter, it began running in a zigzag manner and heading towards the direction of the truck. To avoid collision, Jabon immediately swerved the tractor-trailer to the right where it hit a tree and sacks of palay. Multiple death and injuries to those in the jitney resulted. Gregorio was injured and brought to the Albay Provincial Hospital in Legaspi City. His daughter and sister died on the spot. His other daughter Laarni, the jitney driver, and 1 granddaughter expired at the hospital. His wife, and another granddaughter as well as several others sustained injuries. Jabon and one of the passengers in the tractor-trailer were injured. (Tison), the owner of the truck, extended financial assistance to respondents by giving them P1,000.00 each immediately after the accident and P200,000.00 to Cynthia Pomasin (Cynthia), one of Gregorios daughters. Cynthia, in turn, executed an Affidavit of Desistance. respondents filed a complaint for damages against petitioners before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Antipolo. They alleged that the proximate cause of the accident was the negligence, imprudence and carelessness of petitioners. Respondents prayed for indemnification for the heirs: those who perished in the accident, in each hospitalization, medical and burial expenses continuous hospitalization and medical expenses of Spouses moral damages Exemplary damages loss of income of Cynthia attorney’s fees, plus P1,000.00 per court appearance litigation expenses; and cost of suit P50,000.00 P500,000.00 P350,000.00 P1,000,000.00 P250,000.00 P30,000.00 P100,000.00 P50,000.00 In their Answer, petitioners countered that it was Laarnis negligence which proximately caused the accident. They further claimed that Cynthia was authorized by Spouses Pomasin to enter into an amicable settlement by executing an Affidavit of Desistance. Notwithstanding the affidavit, petitioners complained that respondents filed the instant complaint to harass them and profit from the recklessness of Laarni. Petitioners counterclaimed for damages. RTC: rendered judgment in favor of petitioners dismissing the complaint for damages. The trial court considered the testimony of Jabon regarding the incident more convincing and reliable than that of Gregorios, a mere passenger, whose observation and attention to the road is not as focused as that of the driver. The trial court concluded that Laarni caused the collision of the jitney and the tractor-trailer. The trial court likewise upheld the Affidavit of Desistance 1 |AL Y C A B S CA: disagreed with the trial court and ruled that the reckless driving of Jabon caused the vehicular collision. In support of such finding, the Court of Appeals relied heavily on Gregorios testimony that Jabon was driving the tractor-trailer downward too fast and it encroached the lane of the jitney. Based on the gravity of the impact and the damage caused to the jitney resulting in the death of some passengers, the Court of Appeals inferred that Jabon must be speeding. The appellate court noted that the restriction in Jabon’s driver’s license was violated, thus, giving rise to the presumption that he was negligent at the time of the accident. MR denied. ISSUE: The petition for review raises mixed questions of fact and law which lead back to the very issue litigated by the trial court: Who is the negligent party or the party at fault? RULING: We give weight to this findings of the trial court greater than the opposite conclusion reached by the appellate court. The trial court expounded, thus: In the appreciation of the testimony of eye-witnesses, one overriding consideration is their opportunity for observation in getting to know or actually seeing or observing the matter they testify to. This most particularly holds true in vehicular collision or accident cases which oftentimes happen merely momentarily or in the split of a second. In the case of a running or travelling vehicle, especially in highway travel which doubtless involves faster speed than in ordinary roads, the driver is concentrated on his driving continuously from moment to moment even in long trips. While in the case of a mere passenger, he does not have to direct his attention to the safe conduct of the travelling vehicle, as in fact he may converse with other passengers and pay no attention to the driving or safe conduct of the travelling vehicle, as he may even doze off to sleep if he wants to, rendering his opportunity for observation on the precise cause of the accident or collision or immediately preceding thereto not as much as that of the driver whose attention is continuously focused on his driving. While it is logical that a drivers attention to the road travelled is keener than that of a mere passenger, it should also be considered that the logic will hold only if the two are similarly circumstanced, and only as a general rule, so that, it does not necessarily follow that between the opposing testimonies of a driver and a passenger, the former is more credible. Contrary to the observation of the Court of Appeals, the relative positions of a driver and a passenger in a vehicle was not the only basis of analysis of the trial court. Notably, aside from Jabons alleged vantage point to clearly observe the incident, the trial court also took into consideration Gregorios admission that prior to the accident, the jitney was running on the curving and downward portion of the highway. The appellate court, however, took into account the other and opposite testimony of Gregorio that it was their jitney that was going uphill and when it was about to reach a curve, he saw the incoming truck running very fast and encroaching the jitneys lane. We perused the transcript of stenographic notes and found that the truck was actually ascending the highway when it collided with the descending jitney. The declaration of Jabon with respect to the road condition was straightforward and consistent. The recollection of Gregorio veered from curving and downward to uphill. On this point, Jabon and his testimony is more credible. There was no showing that the tractor-trailer was speeding. There is a preponderance of evidence that the tractortrailer was in fact ascending. Clearly, the negligence of Gregorios daughter, Laarni was the proximate cause of the accident. Although at the time of the incident, Jabon was prohibited from driving the truck due to the restriction imposed on his driver’s license. The CA concluded therefrom that Jabon was violating a traffic regulation at the time of the collision. Driving without a proper license is a violation of traffic regulation. Under Article 2185 of the Civil Code, the legal presumption of negligence arises if at the time of the mishap, a person was violating any traffic regulation. However, in Sanitary Steam Laundry, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, we held that a causal connection must exist between the injury received and the violation of the traffic regulation. It must be proven that the violation of the traffic regulation was the proximate or legal cause of the injury or that it substantially contributed thereto. Negligence, consisting in whole or in part, of violation of law, like any other negligence, is without legal consequence unless it is a contributing cause of the injury. 2 |AL Y C A B S Likewise controlling is our ruling in Aonuevo v. Court of Appeals where we reiterated that negligence per se, arising from the mere violation of a traffic statute, need not be sufficient in itself in establishing liability for damages. The rule on negligence per se must admit qualifications that may arise from the logical consequences of the facts leading to the mishap. The doctrine (and Article 2185, for that matter) is undeniably useful as a judicial guide in adjudging liability, for it seeks to impute culpability arising from the failure of the actor to perform up to a standard established by a legal fiat. But the doctrine should not be rendered inflexible so as to deny relief when in fact there is no causal relation between the statutory violation and the injury sustained. Presumptions in law, while convenient, are not intractable so as to forbid rebuttal rooted in fact. In the instant case, no causal connection was established between the tractor-trailer driver’s restrictions on his license to the vehicular collision. Furthermore, Jabon was able to sufficiently explain that the Land Transportation Office merely erred in not including restriction code 8 in his license. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The challenged Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 3 |AL Y C A B S NORMAN GAID vs. PEOPLE G.R. No. 171636; April 7, 2009 Norman A. Gaid was charged with the crime of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide. At around 12:00 noon on 25 October 2001, petitioner was driving his passenger jeepney along a two-lane road where the Laguindingan National High School is located toward the direction of Moog in Misamis Oriental. His jeepney was filled to seating capacity. At the time several students were coming out of the school premises. Meanwhile, a fourteen year-old student, Michael Dayata (Dayata), was seen by eyewitness Artman Bongolto (Bongolto) sitting near a store on the left side of the road. From where he was at the left side of the road, Dayata raised his left hand to flag down petitioner’s jeepney. However, neither did petitioner nor the conductor, Dennis Mellalos (Mellalos), saw anybody flagging down the jeepney to ride at that point. The next thing Bongalto saw, Dayatas feet was pinned to the rear wheel of the jeepney, after which, he laid flat on the ground behind the jeepney. Another prosecution witness, Usaffe Actub (Actub), who was also situated on the left side of the street but directly in front of the school gate, heard a strong impact coming from the jeep sounding as if the driver forced to accelerate in order to hurdle an obstacle. Mellalos heard a shout that a boy was run over, prompting him to jump off the jeepney to help the victim. Petitioner stopped and saw Mellalos carrying the body of the victim. Mellalos loaded the victim on a motorcycle and brought him to the hospital. Dayata was first brought to the Laguindingan Health Center, but it was closed. Mellalos then proceeded to the El Salvador Hospital. Upon advice of its doctors, however, Dayata was brought to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Dr. Tammy Uy issued an autopsy report stating cranio-cerebral injuries as the cause of death. She testified that the head injuries of Dayata could have been caused by having run over by the jeepney. The Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) of Laguindingan found petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime charged. The lower court held petitioner negligent in his driving considering that the victim was dragged to a distance of 5.70 meters from the point of impact. He was also scored for not stopping his vehicle after noticing that the jeepneys left rear tire jolted causing the vehicle to tilt towards the right. On appeal, the RTC affirmed in toto. The CA affirmed the trial courts judgment with modification in that it found petitioner guilty only of simple negligence resulting in homicide. CA exonerated petitioner from the charge of reckless imprudence resulting to homicide on the ground that he was not driving recklessly at the time of the accident. However, the appellate court still found him to be negligent when he failed to promptly stop his vehicle to check what caused the sudden jotting of its rear tire. MR denied. Petitioner submits that the Court of Appeals erred in finding that there is (sic) absolutely lack of precaution on the part of the petitioner when he continued even after he had noticed that the left rear tire and the jeep tilted to its right side. Petitioner stressed that he, in fact, stopped his jeep when its left rear tire bounced and upon hearing that somebody had been ran over. Petitioner asserts that the CA committed a grave abuse of discretion in convicting him of the offense of simple negligence resulting in homicide. Assuming arguendo that he failed to promptly stop his vehicle, petitioner maintains that no prudent man placed in the same situation could have foreseen the vehicular accident or could have stopped his vehicle in time when its left rear tire bounced due to the following reasons: (1) the victim was only a trespasser; (2) petitioners attention was focused on the road and the students outside the schools gate; and (3) the jeepney was fully loaded with passengers and cargoes and it was impossible for the petitioner to promptly stop his vehicle. OSG maintained that petitioner was negligent when he continued to run towards the direction of Moog, Laguindingan, dragging the victim a few meters from the point of impact, despite hearing that a child had been run over ISSUE: WON petitioner was negligent? RULING: Petitioner must be acquitted at least on reasonable doubt. The award of damages must also be deleted pursuant to Article 2179 of the Civil Code which states that when the plaintiffs own negligence was the immediate and proximate cause of his injury, he cannot recover damages. 1ST STAGE: began when Dayata flagged down the jeepney while positioned on the left side of the road and ended when he was run over by the jeepney 4 |AL Y C A B S 2nd STAGE: covered the span between the moment immediately after the victim was run over and the point when petitioner put the jeepney to a halt Reckless imprudence consists of voluntarily doing or failing to do, without malice, an act from which material damage results by reason of an inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the person performing or failing to perform such act. In the instant case, petitioner was driving slowly at the time of the accident, as testified to by two eyewitnesses. Petitioner stated that he was driving at no more than 15 kilometers per hour. It appears from the evidence Dayata came from the left side of the street. Petitioner, who was driving the jeepney on the right lane, did not see the victim flag him down. He also failed to see him go near the jeepney at the left side. Understandably, petitioner was focused on the road ahead. In Dayatas haste to board the jeep which was then running, his feet somehow got pinned to the left rear tire, as narrated by Bongolto. Actub only saw Dayata after he heard a strong impact coming from the jeep. With the foregoing facts, petitioner cannot be held liable during the first stage. Specifically, he cannot be held liable for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, as found by the trial court. The proximate cause of the accident and the death of the victim was definitely his own negligence in trying to catch up with the moving jeepney to get a ride. Petitioner had exercised extreme precaution as he drove slowly upon reaching the vicinity of the school. He cannot be faulted for not having seen the victim who came from behind on the left side. However, the CA found petitioner guilty of simple negligence resulting in homicide for failing to stop driving at the time when he noticed the bouncing of his vehicle. Verily, the appellate court was referring to the second stage of the incident. Negligence has been defined as the failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury. The elements of simple negligence: are (1) that there is lack of precaution on the part of the offender; and (2) that the damage impending to be caused is not immediate or the danger is not clearly manifest The standard test in determining whether a person is negligent in doing an act whereby injury or damage results to the person or property of another is this: could a prudent man, in the position of the person to whom negligence is attributed, foresee harm to the person injured as a reasonable consequence of the course actually pursued? If so, the law imposes a duty on the actor to refrain from that course or to take precautions to guard against its mischievous results, and the failure to do so constitutes negligence. Reasonable foresight of harm, followed by the ignoring of the admonition born of this provision, is always necessary before negligence can be held to exist. In this case, the courts below zeroed in on the fact that petitioner did not stop the jeepney when he felt the bouncing of his vehicle, a circumstance which the appellate court equates with negligence. Assuming arguendo that petitioner had been negligent, it must be shown that his negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. Proximate cause is defined as that which, in the natural and continuous sequence, unbroken by any efficient, intervening cause, produces the injury, and without which the result would not have occurred In order to establish a motorist's liability for the negligent operation of a vehicle, it must be shown that there was a direct causal connection between such negligence and the injuries or damages complained of. Thus, negligence that is not a substantial contributing factor in the causation of the accident is not the proximate cause of an injury Clearly then, the prosecution was not able to establish that the proximate cause of the victims death was petitioners alleged negligence, if at all, even during the second stage of the incident. Petitioner Norman A. Gaid is ACQUITTED of the crime of Simple Negligence Resulting in Homicide as found by the Court of Appeals and of the charge of Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide 5 |AL Y C A B S ST. LUKE'S COLLEGE OF MEDICINE vs, SPOUSES PEREZ & SPOUSES QUINTOS G.R. No. 222740, September 28, 2016 PET: ST. LUKE'S COLLEGE OF MEDICINE-WILLIAM H. QUASHA MEMORIAL FOUNDATION; DR. BRIGIDO L. CARANDANG; and DR. ALEJANDRO P. ORTIGAS RES: SPOUSES MANUEL & ESMERALDA PEREZ and SPOUSES ERIC & JURISITA QUINTOS In February 2010, St. Luke's sent four (4) of its 4th year medical students to the clinic, namely: plaintiffsappellants Spouses Perez's daughter Jessa, plaintiffs-appellants Spouses Quintos' daughter Cecille, Jerillie Ann Murillo (Murillo) and Miguel Rafael Ramos (Ramos). They were tasked to complete a four-week clerkship rotation at the clinic and like the previous batches, they were housed in the second floor of the clinic. According to Ramos, he and his groupmates reported for duty at the Cabiao clinic at approximately 10 o'clock in the morning of February 8, 2010. When their shift ended at 5 o'clock that afternoon, the group went for a jog and returned to the clinic at around 7 o'clock in the evening. They again went out at 9 o'clock in the evening to buy beverages, cooking oil and other items needed for their breakfast the next day and went to sleep some...
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