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  Tort vs. Quasi-delict MARIA BENITA A. DULAY, in her own behalf and in behalf of the minor children KRIZTEEN ELIZABETH, BEVERLY MARIE and NAPOLEON II, all surnamed DULAY, petitioners, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS, Former Eighth Division, HON. TEODORO P. REGINO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court National Capital Region, Quezon City, Br. 84, SAFEGUARD INVESTIGATION AND SECURITY CO., INC., and SUPERGUARD SECURITY CORPORATION, respondents. Keywords: Barilan sa “Big Bang sa Alabang”; liability of company for a criminal act done deliberately while on duty FACTS:   An altercation occurred between Atty. Napoleon Dulay (deceased) and Benigno Torzuela, the security guard on duty, and the latter shot and killed  Atty. Dulay with a .38 caliber revolver belonging to his employers, Safeguard Investigation and Security Co., Inc. (Safeguard) and/or Superguard Security Corp. (Superguard)   Maria Benita A. Dulay, widow of the deceased, filed an action for damages against Benigno Torzuela, Safeguard and Superguard (as alternative defendants) o  The complaint alleged that the incident was due to the concurring negligence    Torzuela’s wanton and reckless discharge of the firearm issued to him    Safeguard and/or Superguard’s failure to exercise the diligence of a good father in the supervision and control of its employee o  Maria Dulay prayed for actual, compensatory, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees.   Superguard filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the complaint does not state a valid cause of action.   Safeguard also filed a motion praying that it be excluded as defendant on the ground that defendant Torzuela is not one of its employees.   Maria Dulay opposed both motions, stating that their cause of action is based upon their liability under Article 2180 of the New Civil Code: o  The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. x x x Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or an industry  . x x x   Meanwhile, an Information, charging Benigno Torzuela with homicide,was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Makati.   RTC Judge Rgino —granted Safeguard’s motion to dismiss and Superguard’s motion for exclusion.   CA —  Affirmed. ISSUE: WoN Maria Dulay has cause of action against Safeguard and/or Superguard to hold them liable for the criminal act of Torzuela. HELD:  YES. RATIO   Although Torzuela is being prosecuted for homicide, Maria Dulay still has the right to file in independent civil action to recover damages for the fatal shooting of Atty. Dulay. o  Section 1, of Rule 111 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure 1  that a civil action may be separately instituted when the party expressly reserves the right to do so or when it is instituted prior to the criminal action. o  Yakult Philippines v. Court of Appeals: The filing of an independent civil action before the prosecution in the criminal action presents evidence is even far better than a compliance with the requirement of express reservation.   This is precisely what the Maria Dulay opted to do. However, the Safeguard and/or Superguard opposed the civil action on the ground that the same is founded on a delict and not on a quasi-delict as the shooting was not attended by negligence.   There is no justification for limiting the scope of Article 2176 of the Civil Code 2  to acts or omissions resulting from negligence. 1   Sec. 1.  Institution of criminal and civil actions. When a criminal action is instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil action , reserves his right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused. 2    Art. 2176.  Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the  o  Elcano v. Hill (echoed by Andamo v. Intermediate Appellate Court): Fault or negligence, covers not only acts not punishable by law but also acts criminal in character.  A separate civil action lies against the offender, whether or not he is criminally prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is not allowed to recover damages on both scores.   Private respondents further aver that Article 33 of the Civil Code 3  applies only to injuries intentionally committed 4  and that the actions for damages allowed thereunder are ex-delicto . o   “Physical injuries”  is discussed in jurisprudence, to wit:   It includes bodily injuries causing death 5 .   It is not the crime of physical injuries defined in the Revised Penal Code.   It includes not only physical injuries but also consummated, frustrated, and attempted homicide. 6   o  Marcia V. CA: No independent civil action may be filed under  Article 33 where the crime is the result of criminal negligence.   However, since Torzuela is charged with homicide, and not with reckless imprudence, a civil action based on  Article 33 lies.   Safeguard and/or Superguard further contend that they are not liable for Torzuela's act which is beyond the scope of his duties as a security guard.  And their liability (if any) would only be subsidiary under the Revised Penal Code.   Layugan v. Intermediate Appellate Court: Under Article 2180  of the New Civil Code 7   when an injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a  presumption of law  that   there was  negligence on the part of the master or employer   either in the selection of the servant or employee,  or in supervision over him after selection  or both.   o  The liability  of the employer under Article 2180 is direct and immediate ; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of such parties is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter. 3    Art. 33.  In cases of defamation, fraud, and physical injuries, a civil action for damages, entirely separate and distinct from the criminal action, may be brought by the injured party. Such civil action shall proceed independently of the criminal prosecution, and shall require only a preponderance of evidence. 4  Marcia v. CA 5  Capuno v. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of the Philippines 6  Madeja v. Caro 7    Art. 2180.  The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is responsible. xxx Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or an industry. employee. 8     Therefore, it is incumbent upon Safeguar and/or Superguard  to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employee.      [Side issue]  Whether the complaint states a sufficient cause of action o  General rule: allegations in a complaint are sufficient to constitute a cause of action against the defendants if, admitting the facts alleged, the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer therein. o  Elements of a cause of action:   A right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created;   An obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such right; and   An act or omission on the part of such defendant violative of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of damages.   The Court finds, that the complaint sufficiently alleged an actionable breach on the part of the defendant Torzuela and Safeguard and/or Superguard. o  This does not operate however, to establish that the defendants below are liable. Such question would be better resolved after trial on the merits. 8  Kapalaran Bus Lines v. Coronado    Quasi-Delict and Contract AIR FRANCE,  petitioner, vs. RAFAEL CARRASCOSO and the HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS,  respondents. In March 1958, Rafael Carrascoso and several other Filipinos were tourists en route to Rome from Manila. Carrascoso was issued a first class round trip ticket by Air France. But during a stop-over in Bangkok, he was asked by the plane manager of Air France to vacate his seat because a white man allegedly has a ―better right‖ than him. Carrascoso protested but when things got heated and upon advise of other Filipinos on board, Carrascoso gave up his seat and was transferred to the plane’s tourist class.  After their tourist trip when Carrascoso was already in the Philippines, he sued Air France for damages for the embarrassment he suffered during his trip. In court, Carrascoso testified, among others, that he when he was forced to take the tourist class, he went to the plane’s pantry where he was approached by a plane purser who told him that he noted in the plane’s journal the following:   First-class passenger was forced to go to the tourist class against his will, and that the captain refused to intervene The said testimony was admitted in favor of Carrascoso. The trial court eventually awarded damages in favor of Carrascoso. This was affirmed by the Court of Appeals.  Air France is assailing the decision of the trial court and the CA. It avers that the issuance of a first class ticket to Carrascoso was not an assurance that he will be seated in first class because allegedly in truth and in fact, that was not the true intent between the parties.  Air France also questioned the admissibility of Carrascoso’s testimony regarding the note made by the purser because the said note was never presented in court. ISSUE 1: Whether or not Air France is liable for damages and on what basis. ISSUE 2: Whether or not the testimony of Carrasoso regarding the note which was not presented in court is admissible in evidence. HELD 1: Yes. It appears that Air France’s liability is based on culpa -contractual and on culpa aquiliana. Culpa Contractual   There exists a contract of carriage between Air France and Carrascoso. There was a contract to furnish Carrasocoso a first class passage; Second  , That said contract was breached when Air France failed to furnish first class transportation at Bangkok; and Third,   that there was bad faith when Air France’s employee compelled Carrascoso to leave his first class accommodation berth “after   he was already, seated”   and to take a seat in the tourist class, by reason of which he suffered inconvenience, embarrassments and humiliations, thereby causing him mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings and social humiliation, resulting in moral damages. The Supreme Court did not give credence to Air France’s claim that the issuance of a first class ticket to a passenger is not an assurance that he will be given a first class seat. Such claim is simply incredible. Culpa Aquiliana  Here, the SC ruled, even though there is a contract of carriage between Air France and Carrascoso, there is also a tortuous act based on culpa aquiliana. Passengers do not contract merely for transportation. They have a right to be treated by the carrier’s employees with kindness, respect, courtesy and due consideration. They are entitled to be protected against personal misconduct, injurious language, indignities and abuses from such employees. So it is, that any rule or discourteous conduct on the part of employees towards a passenger gives the latter an action for damages against the carrier. Air France’s cont ract with Carrascoso is one attended with public duty. The stress of Carrascoso’s action is placed upon his wrongful expulsion. This is a violation of public duty by the Air France —  a case of quasi-delict. Damages are proper. HELD: 2:  Yes. The testimony of Carrascoso must be admitted based on res gestae. The subject of inquiry is not the entry, but the ouster incident. Testimony on the entry does not come within the proscription of the best evidence rule. Such testimony is admissible.   Besides, when the dialogue between Carrascoso and the purser happened, the impact of the startling occurrence was still fresh and continued to be  felt. The excitement had not as yet died down. Statements then, in this environment, are admissible as part of the res gestae . The utterance of the purser regarding his entry in the notebook was spontaneous, and related to the circumstances of the ouster incident. Its trustworthiness has been guaranteed. It thus escapes the operation of the hearsay rule. It forms part of the res gestae.

d31pt Unit 4

Jul 23, 2017

SSRN-id2445601s

Jul 23, 2017
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