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033 Layugan v. IAC

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  033 PEDRO T. LAYUGAN, petitioner, vs. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, GODOFREDO ISIDRO, and TRAVELLERS MULTI-INDEMNITY CORPORATION, respondents. [G.R. No. 73998 November 14, 1988] TOPIC : PONENTE : SARMIENTO, J. AUTHOR  : Kikoy  NOTES: (if applicable) FACTS: - Plaintiff Pedro Layugan testified that while in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, he and a companion were repairing the tire of their cargo truck which was parked along the right side of the National Highway. Defendant's truck driven recklessly by Daniel Serrano bumped the plaintiff, that as a result, plaintiff was injured and hospitalized. Due to said injuries, his left leg was amputated so he had to use crutches to walk. - Defendant Godofredo Isidro admitted his ownership of the vehicle involved in the accident driven by Daniel Serrano. Defendant said that the plaintiff was merely a bystander, not a truck helper being a brother-in-law law of the driver of said truck; that the truck allegedly being repaired was parked, occupying almost half of the right lane towards Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, right after the curve; that the proximate cause of the incident was the failure of the driver of the parked truck in installing the early warning device, - Daniel Serrano, defendant driver, said that he knew the responsibilities of a driver; that before leaving, he checked the truck. The truck owner used to instruct him to be careful in driving. He bumped the truck being repaired by Pedro Layugan, plaintiff, while the same was at a stop position. From the evidence presented, it has been established clearly that the injuries sustained by the plaintiff was caused by defendant's driver, Daniel Serrano. Serrano also testified that, “When I was a few meters away, I saw the truck which was loaded with round logs. I stepped on my foot brakes but it did not function with my many attempts. I have (sic) found out later that the fluid pipe on the rear right was cut that's why the  breaks did not function.”   - Plaintiff points to the negligence of the defendant driver while Isidro points to the driver of parked truck as negligent, and says that absent such proof of care, it would, under the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur, evoke the presumption of negligence on the part of the driver of the parked cargo truck as well as his helper, the petitioner herein, who was fixing the flat tire of the said truck.   ISSUE(S) :   1. WON defendant driver Serrano was negligent - NO 2. WON the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur applies in this case - NO RATIO : 1 NO - (Procedural) Ratio Findings of fact are entitled to great respect and will not ordinarily be disturbed by this Court unless it falls down under the exceptions provided by the Court to merit review of the facts. Reasoning - This is a question of fact. But this case is an exception since: 1) the finding are grounded entirely on speculation, surmise, or conjecture; 2) the inference made is manifestly mistaken, 3) the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; 4) CA findings are contrary to those of the trial court; 5) the said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; and 6) when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence and are contradicted on record. Hence, SC entertained review of the factual question. - (Substantive) Ratio The test by which to determine the existence of negligence in a particular case may be stated as follows: Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily  prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence. Reasoning [1] Negligence defined. Negligence is the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a  prudent and reasonable man would not do [2] Applying the definition and the test, it is clear that the absence or want of care of Daniel Serrano has been established  by clear and convincing evidence. Whether cargo truck was parked along the road or on half the shoulder of the road is immaterial taking into account the warning device consisting of the lighted kerosene lamp placed 3-4m from the back of the truck. But despite this warning, the Isuzu truck driven by Serrano, still bumped the rear of the parked cargo truck. As a  direct consequence of such accident Layugan sustained injuries on his left forearm and left foot. 2. NO  Note that for our purposes this was not raised as an issue in this case. Therefore this only Obiter Dicta. But as far as we’r  e concerned and relevant to our discussion in the outline, I formulated it in an issue-type. This is what the Court actually said in the case to prove its just obiter, and its relevant to the main issue on negligence: “At this juncture, it may be enlighte ning and helpful in the proper resolution of the issue of negligence to examine the doctrine of Res ipsa loquitur. “  Obiter [1] What is the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur? Two ways to put it: (a) This doctrine is stated thus: Where the thing which causes injury is shown to be under the management of the defendant, and the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not happen if those who have the management use proper care, it affords reasonable evidence, in the absence of an explanation by the defendant, that the accident arose from want of care, and (b) According to Black’s Law dictionary, “Res ipsa loquitur. The thing speaks for itself Rebuttable presumption or inference that defendant was negligent, which arises upon proof that instrumentality causing injury was in defendant's exclusive control, and that the accident was one which ordinarily does not happen in absence of negligence. Res ipsa loquitur is rule of evidence whereby negligence of alleged wrongdoer may be inferred from mere fact that accident happened provided character of accident and circumstances attending it lead reasonably to belief that in absence of negligence it would not have occurred and that thing which caused injury is shown to have been under management and control of alleged wrongdoer.” [2] In our jurisdiction, and the way we apply it in cases, particularly in the law of negligence: Res ipsa loquitur as a rule of evidence is peculiar to the law of negligence which recognizes that prima facie negligence may be established without direct proof and furnishes a substitute for specific proof of negligence. The doctrine is not a rule of substantive law but merely a mode of proof or a mere procedural convenience. The doctrine merely determines and regulates what shall be  prima facie evidence thereof and facilitates the burden of plaintiff of proving a breach of the duty of due care. The doctrine can be invoked when and only when, under the circumstances involved, direct evidence is absent and not readily available. So, it is inapplicable where plaintiff has knowledge and testifies or presents evidence as to the specific act of negligence which is the cause of the injury, or where there’s direct evidence as to the precise cause of the accident and all the facts and circumstances attendant on the occurrence clearly appear. And once the actual cause of injury is established beyond controversy, no presumptions will be involved and the doctrine becomes inapplicable when the circumstances show that no inference of defendant's liability can reasonably be made, whatever the source of the evidence. In this case it is inapplicable because it was established by clear and convincing evidence the negligence of the defendant driver. Disposition Petition GRANTED with costs against private respondents. CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE : DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S) :

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Jul 23, 2017

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