Civil Law

La Mallorca and Pampanga Bus Company vs Valentin De Jesus

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G.R. No. L-21486 – 17 SCRA 22 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Negligence; Tire blow out is not a fortuitous event

In October 1959, Lolita de Jesus was riding a bus owned by La Mallorca and Pampanga Bus Company which had a head on collision against a freight truck. Apparently, the bus had a tire blow out which resulted to the accident. Lolita died and so her father, Valentin de Jesus, filed a civil case for damages against La Mallorca. The lower court rendered judgment in favor of De Jesus and ordered La Mallorca to pay for actual, compensatory, and moral damages including attorney’s fees. This decision was affirmed by the Court of Appeals. La Mallorca assailed the decision as it argued that a tire blow out is a fortuitous event and should not be taken as negligence.

ISSUE: Whether or not a tire blow out is a fortuitous event.

HELD: No. As found by the lower court, the tire blow out in this case was due to the fact that the inner circle of the wheel of the bus was pressed so closely to the rim which caused it to eventually explode. This mechanical defect in the installation of the wheel could have been easily discovered had the bus been subjected to a thorough check up before it was allowed to hit the road. La Mallorca is therefore negligent and the tire explosion is not a fortuitous event for it could have been avoided had the bus been properly maintained.

The Supreme Court also emphasized in this case that moral damages are recoverable by reason of the death of a passenger caused by the breach of contract of a common carrier, as provided in Article 1764, in relation to Article 2206, of the Civil Code.

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