Civil Law

Prospero Sabido et al vs Carlos Custodio et al

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G.R. No. L-21512 – 124 Phil. 516 – 17 SCRA 1088 – Civil Law – Torts and Damages – Quasi-Delict – Persons Liable

One morning in June 1955, Aser Lagunda was driving a truck going up an uphill road in Lumban, Laguna. His truck was not carrying any cargo but inside the truck were three helpers and the truck owner Prospero Sabido. Lagunda was driving fast and when they were at a sharp curve, Lagunda’s truck sideswiped an overloaded bus going the opposite direction. Lagunda’s truck hit Agripino Custodio, a passenger who was hanging at the left side of the bus. The bus was driven by Nicasio Mudales and owned by the Laguna-Tayabas Bus Company.

The heirs of Agripino sued the bus company, the bus driver, the truck driver, and the truck owner for damages. The trial court and the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Custodios.

ISSUE: Whether or not the bus company, the bus driver, the truck driver, and the truck owner are liable for damages.

HELD: Yes. The bus driver and the bus owner violated their contract of carriage with Agripino. They should not have overloaded the bus and should not have allowed any passenger to hang on the bus. The truck driver and the truck owner were guilty of quasi-delict. The driver was overspeeding. Although the negligence of the carrier and its driver is independent, in its execution, of the negligence of the truck driver and its owner, both acts of negligence are the proximate cause of the death of Agripino. In fact, the negligence of the bus driver and the owner would not have produced the mishap without the negligence of the truck driver and the owner.

But why are they solidarily liable if the obligation of the bus arose from contract and the other was from quasi-delict?

Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omission of two or more persons, although acting independently of each other, are, in combination, the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, and it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury, either is responsible for the whole injury, even though his act alone might not have caused the entire injury, or the same damage might have resulted from the acts of the other tortfeasor.

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