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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Marinduque v. Workmen’s (1956)

G.R. No. L-8110  June 30, 1956.
Lessons Applicable: Degrees of Negligence (Torts and Damages)

  • August 23, 1951 6:00 am: In Marinduque, the deceased Mamador together with other laborers of the Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc. rode a truck driven by its employee Procopio Macunat and on its way to the mine camp at Talantunan, while trying to overtake another truck on the company road, it turned over and hit a coconut tree, resulting in the death of Mamador and injury to the others
  • In a criminal case, Procopio Macunat was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to indemnify the heirs of the deceased but has paid nothing
  • Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc. questions by certiorari the order of the Workmen’s Compensation Commissioner confirming the referee’s award of compensation to the heirs of Pedro Mamador for his accidental death
    • Marinduque Iron Mines Agents Inc. maintains that this claim is barred by section 6 of the Workmen’s Compensation Law because 
      • (a) Macunat was prosecuted and required to indemnify the heirs of the deceased
        • for the sum of 150 pesos, Mamador’s widow promised “to forgive Macunat for the wrong committed and not to bring him before the authorities for prosecution
      • (b) an amicable settlement was concluded between said heirs and Macunat
        • Nava vs. Inchausti Co.: indemnity granted the heirs in a criminal prosecution of the “other person” does not affect the liability of the employer to pay compensation
ISSUE: W/N Mamador having violated the employer’s prohibition against laborers riding the haulage trucks was notorious negligence thereby precluding recovery

HELD: NO. award of compensation is hereby affirmed
  • under the circumstance, the laborer could not be declared to have acted with negligence since the prohibition had nothing to do with personal safety of the riders
    • Getting or accepting a free ride on the company’s haulage truck couldn’t be gross negligence - no danger or risk was apparent
  • “notorious” negligence = “gross” negligence
    • conscious indifference to consequences 
    • pursuing a course of conduct which would naturally and probably result in injury
    • utter disregard of consequences 
Seperate Opinion by Montemayor:
  • Injury was not in the course of the employment but was not raised on the lower courts or in the appeal