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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Julian del Rosario v. Manila Electric Co (1932)

G.R. No. L-35283             November 5, 1932
Lessons Applicable: Good Father of a Family (Torts and Damages)

  • August 4, 1930 2 pm: trouble developed in a wire used by Manila Electric Company on Dimas-Alang Street for the purpose of conducting electricity used in lighting the City of Manila and its suburbs
  • Jose Noguera, who had charge of a tienda nearby, first noticed that the wire was burning and its connections smoking
    • the wire parted and one of the ends of the wire fell to the ground among some shrubbery close to the way
    • Noguera went to the nearby garage and asked Jose Soco, the timekeeper, to telephone the Malabon station of the Manila Electric Company
  • 2.25 p.m.: Soco transmitted the message and the station told him that they would send an inspector 
  • 4 p.m.: neighborhood school was dismissed and the children went home
    • Saturnino Endrina made a motion as if it touch the wire
    • Jose Salvador, happened to be the son of an electrician and his father had cautioned him never to touch a broken electrical wire, as it might have a current
    • Alberto del Rosario said that "I have for some time been in the habit of touching wires" and so feeling challenged put out his index finger and touch the wire
      • He immediately fell face downwards, exclaiming "Ay! madre"
      • The end of the wire remained in contact with his body which fell near the post
      • A crowd soon collected, and some one cut the wire and disengaged the body
        • Upon arrival at St. Luke's Hospital he was pronounced dead.
  • Trial Court: absolved Manila Electric Company
ISSUE: W/N Manila Electric Company should be held liable for negligence that caused the death of Alberto

HELD: YES. judgment appealed from is therefore reversed and the plaintiff will recover of the defendant the sum of P1,250, with costs of both instances
  • The engineer of the company says that it was customary for the company to make a special inspection of these wires at least once in six months, and that all of the company's inspectors were required in their daily rounds to keep a lookout for trouble of this kind.
  • presumption of negligence on the part of the Manila Electric Company from the breakage of this wire has not been overcome, and it is in our opinion responsible for the accident 
  • It is doubtful whether contributory negligence can properly be imputed to the deceased, owing to his immature years and the natural curiosity which a child would feel to do something out of the ordinary, and the mere fact that the deceased ignored the caution of a companion of the age of 8 years does not, in our opinion, alter the case. But even supposing that contributory negligence could in some measure be properly imputed to the deceased, — a proposition upon which the members of the court do not all agree, — yet such negligence would not be wholly fatal to the right of action in this case, not having been the determining cause of the accident.