We turn then to the liability of private respondent as a common carrier. The precise issue that we address here relates to the specific requirements of the duty of extraordinary diligence
in the vigilance over the goods carried in the specific context of hijacking or armed robbery. As noted earlier, the duty of extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over goods is, under Article 1733, given additional specification not only by Articles 1734 and 1735 but also by Article 1745, numbers 4, 5 and 6, Article 1745 provides in relevant part: Any of the following or similar stipulations shall be considered unreasonable, unjust and contrary to public policy: xxx xxx xxx (5) that the common carrier shall not be responsible for the acts or omissions of his or its employees; (6) that the common carrier's liability for acts committed by thieves, or of robbers who do not act with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force, is dispensed with or diminished; and (7) that the common carrier shall not responsible for the loss, destruction or deterioration of goods on account of the defective condition of the car vehicle, ship, airplane or other equipment used in the contract of carriage. (Emphasis supplied) Under Article 1745 (6) above, a common carrier is held responsible — and will not be allowed to divest or to diminish such responsibility — even for acts of strangers like thieves or robbers, except where such thieves or robbers in fact acted "with grave or irresistible threat, violence or force." We believe and so hold that the limits of the duty of extraordinary diligence in the vigilance over the goods carried are reached where the goods are lost as a result of a robbery which is attended by "grave or irresistible threat, violence or force." In these circumstances, we hold that the occurrence of the loss must reasonably be regarded as quite beyond the control of the common carrier and properly regarded as a fortuitous event. It is necessary to recall that even common carriers are not made absolute insurers against all risks of travel and of transport of goods, and are not held liable for acts or events which cannot be foreseen or are inevitable, provided that they shall have complied with the rigorous standard of extraordinary diligence. FPIC v. CA Held: The test for determining whether a party is a common carrier of goods is: 1. He must be engaged in the business of carrying goods for others as a public employment, and must hold himself out as ready to engage in the transportation of goods for person generally as a business and not as a casual occupation; 2. He must undertake to carry goods of the kind to which his business is confined; 3. He must undertake to carry by the method by which his business is conducted and over his established roads; and 4. The transportation must be for hire.
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- Fall '19
- carrier, common carrier, Commercial item transport and distribution