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Transportation Case Digest: Cangco v. MRR (1918)

G.R. No. L-12191             October 14, 1918
Lessons Applicable: Legal Effect (Transportation)

  • January 20, 1915 around 7 to 8 p.m.: Jose Cangco arose from his seat in the 2nd class-car where he was riding and, making, his exit through the door, took his position upon the steps of the coach, seizing the upright guardrail with his right hand for support
  • As the train slowed down another passenger and also an employee of the railroad company Emilio Zuñiga got off the same car alighting safely at the point where the platform begins to rise from the level of the ground.
  • When the train had proceeded a little farther Cangco stepped off but 1 or both of his feet came in contact with a sack of watermelons so his feet slipped from under him and he fell violently on the platform. 
    • His body rolled from the platform and was drawn under the moving car, where his right arm was badly crushed and lacerated. 
      • the car moved forward possibly 6 meters before it came to a full stop
  • He was bought to the hospital in the city of Manila where an examination was made and his arm was amputated
    • operation was unsatisfactory so he had second operation at another hospital was performed and the member was again amputated higher up near the shoulder expending a total of P790.25 
  • It is customary season for harvesting these melons and a large lot had been brought to the station for the shipment to the market
  • CFI: favored Manila Railroad Co. (MRR)- Cangco had failed to use due caution in alighting from the coach and was therefore precluded form recovering
ISSUE: W/N MRR should be held liable.

HELD: YES. lower court is reversed, and judgment is hereby rendered plaintiff for the sum of P3,290.25
  • It can not be doubted that the employees of the railroad company were guilty of negligence. It necessarily follows that the defendant company is liable for the damage thereby occasioned unless recovery is barred by the plaintiff's own contributory negligence. 
  • In resolving this problem it is necessary that each of these conceptions of liability, to-wit, the primary responsibility of the defendant company and the contributory negligence of the plaintiff should be separately examined
  • Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations arising ex contractu, but only to extra-contractual obligations — or to use the technical form of expression, that article relates only to culpa aquiliana and not to culpa contractual
    • article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to acts of negligence which constitute the breach of a contract
  • two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused by the negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the selection, or both; and (2) that that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and consequently, may be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the presumption is overcome and he is relieved from liability.
  • As a general rule . . . it is logical that in case of extra-contractual culpa, a suing creditor should assume the burden of proof of its existence, as the only fact upon which his action is based; while on the contrary, in a case of negligence which presupposes the existence of a contractual obligation, if the creditor shows that it exists and that it has been broken, it is not necessary for him to prove negligence.
  • The test by which to determine whether the passenger has been guilty of negligence in attempting to alight from a moving railway train, is that of ordinary or reasonable care. It is to be considered whether an ordinarily prudent person, of the age, sex and condition of the passenger, would have acted as the passenger acted under the circumstances disclosed by the evidence. This care has been defined to be, not the care which may or should be used by the prudent man generally, but the care which a man of ordinary prudence would use under similar circumstances, to avoid injury.
    • Women, it has been observed, as a general rule are less capable than men of alighting with safety under such conditions, as the nature of their wearing apparel obstructs the free movement of the limbs. Again, it may be noted that the place was perfectly familiar to the plaintiff as it was his daily custom to get on and of the train at this station. There could, therefore, be no uncertainty in his mind with regard either to the length of the step which he was required to take or the character of the platform where he was alighting. Our conclusion is that the conduct of the plaintiff in undertaking to alight while the train was yet slightly under way was not characterized by imprudence and that therefore he was not guilty of contributory negligence.
  • at the time of the accident, was earning P25 a month as a copyist clerk, and that the injuries he has suffered have permanently disabled him from continuing that employment. Defendant has not shown that any other gainful occupation is open to plaintiff. His expectancy of life, according to the standard mortality tables, is approximately thirty-three years. We are of the opinion that a fair compensation for the damage suffered by him for his permanent disability is the sum of P2,500, and that he is also entitled to recover of defendant the additional sum of P790.25 for medical attention, hospital services, and other incidental expenditures connected with the treatment of his injuries.