Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hidalgo Enterprises vs. Balandan, et.al.

Facts: Guillermo Balandan and his wife is claiming damages in the sum of P2,000 for the death of their son, Mario.

Petitioner was the owner of an Ice plant, who had in their premises 2 tanks filled of water, 9 feet deep. The factory was fenced but Ingress and egress was easily made because the gates were always open and there was no guard assigned in the said gate. Also the tanks didn’t have any barricade or fence. One day when Mario was playing with his friend, they saw the tank inside the factory and began playing and swimming inside it. While bathing, Mario sank to the bottom of the tank, only to be fished out later, already as a cadaver, having died of ‘asphyxia secondary to drowning.’ The lower decided in the favor of the parents saying that the petitioner is liable for damages due to the doctrine of attractive nuisance.

Issue: Whether or not the doctrine of attractive nuisance is applicable in this case

Held: NO. The doctrine of attractive nuisance states that “One who maintains on his premises dangerous instrumentalities or appliances of a character likely to attract children in play, and who fails to exercise ordinary care to prevent children from playing therewith or resorting thereto, is liable to a child of tender years who is injured thereby, even if the child is technically a trespasser in the premises. American Jurisprudence shows us that the attractive nuisance doctrine generally is not applicable to bodies of water, artificial as well as natural, in the absence of some unusual condition or artificial feature other than the mere water and its location. In the case bar, the tanks themselves cannot fall under such doctrine thus the petitioners cannot be held liable for Mario’s death. 

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