Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil 607

Facts: On May 3, 1936, there was a head-on collision between a taxi of the Malate taxicab driven by Fontanilla and a carretela guided by Dimapilis. The carretela was over-turned, and a passenger, a 16-year old boy, Garcia, suffered injuries from which he died. A criminal action was filed against Fontanilla, and he was convicted. The court in the criminal case granted the petition to reserve the civil action. Garcia and Almario, parents of the deceased, on March 7, 1939, filed a civil action against Barredo, the proprietor of the Malate Taxicab and employer of Fontanilla, making him primarily and directly responsible under culpa acquiliana of Article 2180 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. It is undisputed that Fontanilla’s negligence was the cause of the accident, as he was driving on the wrong side of the road at high speed, and there was no showing that Barredo exercised the diligence of a good father of a family, a defense to Article 2180 of the said Code. Barredo’s theory of defense is that Fontanilla’s negligence being punished by the Revised Penal Code, his liability as employer is only subsidiary, but Fontanilla, was not sued for civil liability. Hence, Barredo claims that he cannot be held liable.

Issue: Whether or not Barredo, as employer is civilly liable for the acts of Fontanilla, his employee.

Held:  Quasi-delict or culpa acquiliana is a separate legal institution under the Civil Code of the Philippines is entirely distinct and independent from a delict or crime under the Revised Penal Code. In this jurisdiction, the same negligent act causing damage may produce civil liability (subsidiary) arising from a crime under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines; or create an action for quasi-delicto or culpa aquiliana under Articles 2179 and 2180 of the Civil Code and the parties are free to choose which course to take. And in the instant case, the negligent act of Fontanilla produces two (2) liabilities of Barredo: First, a subsidiary one because of the civil liability of Fontanilla arising from the latter’s criminal negligence under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, and second, Barredo’s primary and direct responsibility arising from his presumed negligence as an employer under Article 2180 of the Civil Code. Since the plaintiffs are free to choose what remedy to take, they preferred the second, which is within their rights. This is the more expedious and effective method of relief because Fontanilla was either in prison or just been released or had no property. Barredo was held liable for damages.

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1 comments: on "Barredo vs. Garcia, 73 Phil 607"

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