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, and NEW
G.R. No. 119197. May 16, 1997


Sacks of grains were loaded on board a vessel owned by North Front Shipping (common carrier); the
consignee: Republic Floor Mills. The vessel was inspected by representatives of the shipper prior to the
transport and was found fitting to carry the cargo; it was also issued a Permit to Sail. The goods were
successfully delivered but it was not immediately unloaded by the consignee. There were a shortage of
23.666 metric tons and some of the merchandise was already moldy and deteriorating. Hence, the
consignee rejected all the cargo and demanded payment of damages from the common carrier. Upon
refusal, the insurance companies (petitioners) were obliged to pay. Petitioners now allege that there
was negligence on the part of the carrier. The trial court ruled that only ordinary diligence was required
since the charter-party agreement converted North Front Shipping into a private carrier.


WON North Front Shipping is a common carrier. If indeed, did it fail to exercise the required diligence
and thus should be held liable?


North Front Shipping is a common carrier. Thus, it has the burden of proving that it
observed extraordinary diligence in order to avoid responsibility for the lost cargo.
The charter-party agreement between North Front Shipping Services, Inc., and Republic Flour Mills
Corporation did not in any way convert the common carrier into a private carrier. A charter-party is
defined as a contract by which an entire ship, or some principal part thereof, is let by the owner to
another person for a specified time or usex x x

Having been in the service since 1968, the master of the vessel would have known at the outset that
corn grains that were farm wet and not properly dried would eventually deteriorate when stored in
sealed and hot compartments as in hatches of a ship. Equipped with this knowledge, the master of the
vessel and his crew should have undertaken precautionary measures to avoid or lessen the cargos
possible deterioration as they were presumed knowledgeable about the nature of such cargo.
But none of such measures was taken.
It did not even endeavor to establish that the loss, destruction or deterioration of the goods was due to
the following: (a) flood, storm, earthquake, lightning, or other natural disaster or calamity; (b) act of the
public enemy in war, whether international or civil; act or omission of the shipper or owner of the
goods; (d) the character of the goods or defects in the packing or in the containers; (e) order or act of
competent public authority. This is a closed list. If the cause of destruction, loss or deterioration is other
than the enumerated circumstances, then the carrier is rightly liable therefor.

However, the destruction, loss or deterioration of the cargo cannot be attributed solely to the carrier.
The consignee Republic Flour Mills Corporation is guilty of contributory negligence. It was seasonably
notified of the arrival of the barge but did not immediately start the unloading operations.
Valenzuela V. CA (1996)

G.R.No. 115024 February 7, 1996


June 24, 1990 2 am: While driving from her restaurant at Araneta avenue towards the direction
of Manila, Ma. Lourdes Valenzuela noticed that she had a flat tire so she parked along the sidewalk
about 1 1/2 feet away, place her emergency lights and seeked help
She was with her companion Cecilia Ramon
While she was pointing her tools to the man who will help her fixed the tires, she was suddenly
hit by another Mitsubishi Lancer driven by Richard Li who was intoxicated and she slammed
accross his windshield and fell to the ground
She was sent to UERM where she stayed for 20 days and her leg was amputated and was
replaced with an artificial one.
Her expenses totalled 147, 000 [120,000 php (confinement) + 27, 000 (aritificial leg)]
RTC: Richard Li guilty of gross negligence and liable for damages under Article 2176 of the Civil
Code. Alexander Commercial, Inc., Lis employer, jointly and severally liable for damages pursuant
to Article 2180 P41,840 actual damages, P37,500 unrealized profits because of the stoppage of
plaintiffs Bistro La Conga restaurant 3 weeks after the accident on June 24, 1990, P20,000 a
month as unrealized profits of Bistro La Conga restaurant, from August, 1990 until the date of this
judgment, P30,000.00, a month, for unrealized profits in 2 Beauty salons, P1,000,000 in moral
damages, P50,000, as exemplary damages, P60,000, as reasonable attorneys fees and costs.
CA: there was ample evidence that the car was parked at the side but absolved Li's employer
Li: 55 kph - self serving and uncorraborated
Rogelio Rodriguez, the owner-operator of an establishment located just across the
scene of the accident: Valenzuelas car parked parallel and very near the sidewalk and Li was
driving on a very fast speed and there was only a drizzle (NOT heavy rain)

1. W/N Li was driving at 55 kph - NO
2. W/N Valenzuela was guilty of contributory negligence - NO
3. W/N Alexander Commercial, Inc. as Li's employer should be held liable - YES
4. W/N the awarding of damages is proper. - YES.

HELD: CA modified with reinstating the RTC decision

1. NO
If Li was running at only about 55 kph then despite the wet and slippery road, he could have
avoided hitting the Valenzuela by the mere expedient or applying his brakes at the proper time and
it was not even necessary for him to swerve a little to the right in order to safely avoid a collision
with the on-coming car since there is plenty of space for both cars, since Valenzuela car was
running at the right lane going towards Manila and the on-coming car was also on its right lane
going to Cubao.

2. NO.
Contributory negligence is conduct on the part of the injured party, contributing as a legal cause
to the harm he has suffered, which falls below the standard to which he is required to conform for
his own protection
emergency rule
an individual who suddenly finds himself in a situation of danger and is required to act
without much time to consider the best means that may be adopted to avoid the impending danger,
is not guilty of negligence if he fails to undertake what subsequently and upon reflection may
appear to be a better solution, unless the emergency was brought by his own negligence
She is not expected to run the entire boulevard in search for a parking zone or
turn on a dark Street or alley where she would likely find no one to help her
She stopped at a lighted place where there were people, to verify whether she
had a flat tire and to solicit help if needed
she parked along the sidewalk, about 1 feet away, behind a Toyota Corona Car

3. YES.
Not the principle of respondeat superior, which holds the master liable for acts of the servant
(must be in the course of business), but that of pater familias, in which the liability ultimately falls
upon the employer, for his failure to exercise the diligence of a good father of the family in the
selection and supervision of his employees
Ordinarily, evidence demonstrating that the employer has exercised diligent supervision of its
employee during the performance of the latters assigned tasks would be enough to relieve him of
the liability imposed by Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the Civil Code.
situation is of a different character, involving a practice utilized by large companies with
either their employees of managerial rank or their representatives.
Moreover, Lis claim that he happened to be on the road on the night of the accident because he
was coming from a social visit with an officemate in Paraaque was a bare allegation which was
never corroborated in the court below. It was obviously self-serving. Assuming he really came from
his officemates place, the same could give rise to speculation that he and his officemate had just
been from a work-related function, or they were together to discuss sales and other work related
Alexander Commercial, Inc. has not demonstrated, to our satisfaction, that it exercised the care
and diligence of a good father of the family in entrusting its company car to Li

4. YES.
As the amount of moral damages are subject to this Courts discretion, we are of the opinion
that the amount of P1,000,000.00 granted by the trial court is in greater accord with the extent and
nature of the injury -. physical and psychological - suffered by Valenzuela as a result of Lis grossly
negligent driving of his Mitsubishi Lancer in the early morning hours of the accident.

the damage done to her would not only be permanent and lasting, it would also be
permanently changing and adjusting to the physiologic changes which her body would normally
undergo through the years. The replacements, changes, and adjustments will require
corresponding adjustive physical and occupational therapy. All of these adjustments, it has been
documented, are painful.
PNR vs.Court of Appeals
(G.R. No. L-55347 October 4, 1985)

Winifredo Tupang, husband of respondent Rosario Tupang, boarded 'Train No. 516 of petitioner at
Libmanan, Camarines Sur, as a paying passenger bound for Manila. Due to some mechanical defect, the
train stopped at Sipocot, Camarines Sur, for repairs, taking some two hours before the train could resume its
trip to Manila. Unfortunately, upon passing Iyam Bridge at Lucena, Quezon, Winifredo Tupang fell off the
train resulting in his death. The train did not stop despite the alarm raised by the other passengers that
somebody fell from the train. Instead, the train conductor Perfecto Abrazado, called the station agent at
Candelaria, Quezon, and requested for verification of the information. Police authorities of Lucena City were
dispatched to the Iyam Bridge where they found the lifeless body of Winifredo Tupang.

Upon complaint filed by the deceased's widow, Rosario Tupang, the then Court of First Instance of Rizal,
after trial, held the petitioner PNR liable for damages for breach of contract of carriage and ordered "to pay
the plaintiff the sum of P12,000,00 for the death of Winifredo Tupang, plus P20,000.00 for loss of his earning
capacity and the further sum of P10,000.00 as moral damages, and P2,000.00 as attorney's fees, and costs.

On appeal, the Appellate Court sustained the holding of the trial court that the PNR did not exercise the
utmost diligence required by law of a common carrier. It further increased the amount adjudicated by the trial
court by ordering PNR to pay the plaintiff an additional sum of P5,000.00 as exemplary damages.

Whether or not petitioner is liable as a common carrier.

The appellate court found, the petitioner does not deny, that the train boarded by the deceased Winifredo
Tupang was so over-crowded that he and many other passengers had no choice but to sit on the open
platforms between the coaches of the train. It is likewise undisputed that the train did not even slow down
when it approached the Iyam Bridge which was under repair at the time, Neither did the train stop, despite
the alarm raised by other passengers that a person had fallen off the train at lyam Bridge.

The petitioner has the obligation to transport its passengers to their destinations and to observe
extraordinary diligence in doing so. Death or any injury suffered by any of its passengers gives rise to the
presumption that it was negligent in the performance of its obligation under the contract of carriage. Thus, as
correctly ruled by the respondent court, the petitioner failed to overthrow such presumption of negligence
with clear and convincing evidence.

But while petitioner failed to exercise extraordinary diligence as required by law, 8 it appears that the
deceased was chargeable with contributory negligence. Since he opted to sit on the open platform between
the coaches of the train, he should have held tightly and tenaciously on the upright metal bar found at the
side of said platform to avoid falling off from the speeding train. Such contributory negligence, while not
exempting the PNR from liability, nevertheless justified the deletion of the amount adjudicated as moral
damages. By the same token, the award of exemplary damages must be set aside. Exemplary damages
may be allowed only in cases where the defendant acted in a wanton, fraudulent, reckless, oppressive or
malevolent manner. There being no evidence of fraud, malice or bad faith on the part of petitioner, the grant
of exemplary damages should be discarded.
WHEREFORE, the decision of the respondent appellate court is hereby modified by eliminating therefrom
the amounts of P10,000.00 and P5,000.00 adjudicated as moral and exemplary damages, respectively. No