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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Preciolita V. Corliss v. The Manila Railroad Co. (1969)

G.R. No. L-21291               March 28, 1969
Lessons Applicable: Pater familias (Torts and Negligence)

  • Feb 21, 1957 near midnight: although the conductor applied the brakes Ralph W. Corliss' jeep collided with a locomotive of Manila Railroad Company 
    • in his eagerness to beat, despite the tooting of the horn and the oncoming locomotive, took the risk and attempted to reach the other side, but unfortunately he became the victim of his own miscalculation
  • Case was filed by Preciolita V. Corliss, 21 year old widow
ISSUE: W/N the Manila Railroad Co. is negligent

HELD: NO. Decision is affirmed
  • negligence - The failure to observe for the protection of the interests of another person that degree of care, precaution and vigilance which the circumstance justly demand whereby such other person suffers injury.
  • Negligence is want of the care required by the circumstances. It is a relative or comparative, not an absolute term and its application depends upon the situation of the parties and the degree of care and vigilance which the circumstances reasonably require. Where the danger is great, a high degree of care is necessary, and the failure to observe it is a want of ordinary care under the circumstances.
  • The weight of authorities is to the effect that a railroad track is in itself a warning or a signal of danger to those who go upon it, and that those who, for reasons of their own, ignore such warning, do so at their own risk and responsibility
  • Corliss Jr., who undoubtedly had crossed the checkpoint frequently, if not daily, must have known that locomotive engines and trains usually pass at that particular crossing where the accident had taken place
  • it was incumbent upon him to avoid a possible accident — and this consisted simply in stopping his vehicle before the crossing and allowing the train to move on.  A prudent man under similar circumstances would have acted in this manner