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PEDRO T. LAYUGAN vs.

INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE
COURT, GODOFEDRO ISIDRO
and TRAVELLERS MULTI-
INDEMNITY CORP.
GR No. 73998, Nov. 14, 1988
FACTS

On May 15, 1979 while at Baretbet, Bagabag,


Nueva Vizcaya, the Plaintiff (Layuga) and his
companion were repairing the tire of their cargo
truck which was parked along the right side of
the National Highway when the defendant's
truck, driven by Daniel Serrano bumped the
parked truck and as a result, plaintiff was injured
and hospitalized where he incurred and will incur
more expenses as he recuperates from said
injuries. Plaintiff's right leg was amputated and
that because of said injuries he would be
deprived of a lifetime income.

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FACTS

To free themselves from liability, defendants


Godofedro Isidro (Owner) and Serrano (Driver)
averred that the latter knows his responsibilities
as a driver and further contends that it was the
negligence of plaintiff that was the proximate
cause of the accident. They posited that any
immobile object along the highway, like the
parked truck, poses serious danger to a moving
vehicle which has a right to be on the highway.
They alleged that plaintiff did not park his truck
with extreme care to forewarn motorist nor did
he did place any early warning device.

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RULING OF THE RTC AND CA

The RTC ruled in favor of Layuga granting


the plaintiff indemnification. However, the CA
reversed the decision stating that it is the
petitioners who were negligent since they did
not exercise caution by putting warning signs
that their truck is park on the shoulder of the
highway.

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? ISSUE
Is the CA correct in holding that the Plaintiff was
negligent under the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur?

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RULING OF THE SC

No, the SC held that the CA erroneously


appreciated the evidence. It was proven during
the trial by the very testimony of the defendant-
respondent’s driver that the plaintiff-petitioner
placed a warning sign within 3-4 meters from
their truck in the form of a lighted kerosene
lamp. He further stated that when he saw a
parked truck, he kept on stepping on the brake
pedal but it did not function.

Thus despite this warning signs, the truck


recklessly driven by driver Serrano and owned by
defendant-respondent Isidro bumped the truck
of petitioner.
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DOCTRINE OF RES IPSA LOQUITUR

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 any explanation by the
defendant, that the accident arose
from want of care.

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The doctrine of 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. It 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
only be invoked when and only when, under
the circumstances involved, direct evidence
is absent and not readily available.
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From its finding that the parked truck was loaded
with ten (10) big round logs the IAC inferred that
because of its weight the truck could not have
been driven to the shoulder of the road and
concluded that the same was parked on a portion
of the road at the time of the accident.
Consequently, the respondent court inferred that
the mishap was due to the negligence of the driver
of the parked truck. The inference or conclusion is
manifestly erroneous. In a large measure, it is
grounded on speculation, surmise, or conjecture.

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It is clear from the facts of the case that that the
absence or want of care of driver Daniel Serrano
has been established by clear and convincing
evidence. The admission by the driver as well as
the lack of proof that the defendant exercised the
diligence of a good father in the supervision of his
employee, as well as the maintenance of the road
worthiness of his truck, proves negligence. It
follows that in stamping its imprimatur upon the
invocation by respondent Isidro of the doctrine of
Res Ipsa Loquitur to escape liability for the
negligence of his employee, the respondent court
committed reversible error.

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Once the actual cause of injury is
established beyond controversy, whether
by the plaintiff or by the defendant, no
presumptions will be involved and the
doctrine becomes inapplicable when the
circumstances have been so completely
eludicated that no inference of defendant's
liability can reasonably be made, whatever
the source of the evidence.

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END

RES IPSA
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