Tuesday, February 21, 2012

E. Merritt vs. Government of the Philippine Islands

Facts: When riding a motorcycle, plaintiff E. Meritt, who is a contractor, had a collision with the General Hospital Ambulance without any sound of whistle or horn. By reason of the collision, the plaintiff was severely injured which resulted him to be slightly deaf and had a light weakness in his eyes and in his mental condition. In addition, the accident affected his work as a contractor because, prior to the collision, the plaintiff’s mental and physical condition was excellent. The plaintiff is seeking a certain amount for permanent injuries and the loss of wages during he was incapacitated from pursuing his occupation. By authority of the United States, an Act was enacted in favor of the plaintiff, authorizing the latter to bring suit against the Government of the Philippine Islands and authorizing Attorney-General of said Islands to appear in said court.

Issue: Whether or not the Government is legally liable for damages resulting therefrom and, if so, could it be extended to any case not previously recognized

Held: According to Art. 1903, Par. 5 of the Civil Code, in a damage case, the responsibility of the State is limited to that which it contracts through a special agent. The evidence showed that the chauffeur, who acted negligently, of the ambulance was not such an agent. The court held that the judgment must be reversed and herein case rests solely with the Legislature and not with the Court.

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