Bar Q and A #45

1. Yes, the action will prosper. The liability of the employer in this case may be based on quasi-delict and is included within the coverage of independent civil action. It is not necessary to enforce the civil liability based on culpa aquiliana that the driver or employee be proven to be insolvent since the liability of the employer for the quasi- delicts committed by their employees is direct and primary subject to the defense of due diligence on their part. (Art. 2176; Art. 2180)

2. Yes, the parents of the boy can enforce the subsidiary liability of the employer in the criminal case against the driver. The conviction of the driver is a condition sine qua non for the subsidiary liability of the employer to attach. Proof must be shown that the driver is insolvent. (Art. 103, RPC)

Yes. Art may be held solidary liable with John, if it was proven that the former could have prevented the misfortune with the use of due diligence. In motor mishaps, the owner is solidary liable with his driver, if the former, who was in the vehicle, could have, by the use of due diligence, prevented the misfortune. (Art. 2184)

1. Yes. It will prosper (Art. 2180) because at the time he drove the vehicle, he was not performing his assigned tasks as provided for by Art. 2180. With respect to SSPA, it is not liable for the acts of Peter because the latter was not an employee as held by Supreme Court in Filamer Christian Institute v. CA, (G.R. No. 75112, August 17, 1991). Peter
belongs to a special category of students who render service to the school in exchange for free tuition fees.

2. I would maintain the same answer because the incident did not occur while the employee was in the performance of his duty as such employee. The incident occurred at nighttime, and in any case, there was no indication in the problem that he was performing his duties as a driver.

3. In the case of Peter, if he were to be considered as employee, the exercise of due diligence in the selection and supervision of peter would not be a material issue since the conviction of Peter would result in a subsidiary liability where the defense would not be available by the employer.

In the case of Paul, since the basis of subsidiary liability is the pater familias rule under Art. 2180, the defense of selection and supervision of the employee would be a valid defense.

The insurance company is not liable because when the accident occurred, Alberto was not acting within the assigned tasks of his employment. It is true that under Art. 2180 (par. 5), employers are liable for damages caused by their employees who were acting within the scope of their assigned tasks. However, the mere fact that Alberto was using a service vehicle of the employer at the time of the  injurious accident does not necessarily mean that he was operating the vehicle within the scope of his employment. In Castilex Industrial Corp. v. Vasquez Jr (G.R. No. 132266, December 21, 1999) the Supreme Court held that notwithstanding the fact that the employee did some overtime work for the company, the former was, nevertheless, engaged in his own affairs or carrying out a personal purpose when he went to a restaurant at 2:00 a.m. after coming out from work. The time of the accident (also 2:00 a. m.) was outside normal working hours.

1. The parents of the 7-year-old boy who caused injury to his playmate are liable under Art. 219, FC, in relation to Art. 2180 of the Civil Code since they exercise parental authority over the person of the boy. (Tamargo v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 85044, June 3, 1992; Elcano v. Hill, G.R. No. L-24803, May 26, 1977)

2. Employer of the domestic helper who slapped a fish vendor. Under Art. 2180, par. 5, "employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even though the former are not engaged in any business or industry."

3. The owner of the construction company. Art. 2180, par. 4 states that "the owners and managers of an establishment or enterprise are likewise responsible for damages caused by their employees in the service of the branches in which the latter are employed or on the occasion of their functions."

4. The school, teacher and administrator as they exercise special parental authority. (Art. 2180, par. 7 of the Civil Code in relation to Art. 218 and Art. 219, FC)

5. The defense that might be available to them is the observance of a good father of the family to prevent the damage. (Last par., Art. 2180)

1. At the time the incident occurred in May 1989, Rozanno was still a minor. Being a minor, Art. 218, (FC) applies. Pursuant to Art. 218, the school, its administrators and teachers shall be liable for the acts of minor Rozanno because of the special parental authority and responsibility that they exercise over him. The authority applies to all authorized activities, whether inside or outside the premises of the school, entity or institution. The field trip on which occasion Rozanno drove the car, was an authorized activity, and, thus, covered by the provision. Furthermore, the parents of Rozanno are subsidiarily liable pursuant to Art. 219 (FC), and principally liable under Art. 221 (FC), if they are negligent.

2. With respect to the damages caused to the jeepney, only Rozanno should be held liable because his negligence or tortuous act was the sole, proximate and immediate cause thereof.

3. Since Rozanno was 16 years old in 1989, if the incident happened sometime in the middle of 1994, Rozanno have been 21 years old at the time. Hence, he was already of legal age. The law reducing the age of majority to 18 years took effect in December 1989.

Being of legal age, Arts. 218, 219, and 221 (FC), are no longer applicable. In such case, only Rozanno will be personally responsible for all the consequences of his act unless his school or his parents were themselves also negligent and such negligence contributed to the happening of the incident. In that event, the school or his parents are not liable under Art. 218, 218 or 221 (FC), but will be liable under general provision on the Civil Code on quasi-delict.

Yes, St. Vincent’s Hospital is liable. In the case of Professional Services v. Agana (513 SCRA 478 [2007]), the Supreme Court held that the hospital is liable to the Aganas, not under the principle of respondent superior for lack of evidence of an employer-employee relationship with Dr. Ampil but under the principle of ostensible agency for the negligence of  Dr. Ampil, pro hac vice, under the principle of corporate negligence for its failure to perform its duties as a hospital.

While it is true that there was insufficient evidence that St. Vincent’s Hospital exercised the power of control or wielded such power over the means and the details of the specific process by which Dr. Jack applied his skills in Maria’s treatment, there is ample evidence that St. Vincent’s Hospital held out to the patient, Marta, that Dr. Jack was its agent (principle of ostensible agency). The two factor that determine apparent authority are present: (1) the hospital’s implied manifestation to the patient which led the latter to conclude that the doctor was the hospital’s agent; and (2) the patient’s reliance upon the conduct of the hospital and the doctor, consisted with ordinary care and prudence.

The corporate negligence ascribed to St. Vincent’s Hospital is different from the medical negligence attributed to Dr. Jack. The duties of the hospital are distinct from those of the doctor-consultant practicing within its premises in relation to the patient; hence, the failure of St. Vincent’s Hospital to fulfill its duties as a hospital corporation gave rise to a direct liability to Marta distinct from that of Dr. Jack.

A CONSTRUCTIVE TRUST is a trust not created by any word or phrase, either expressly or impliedly, evincing a direct intention to create a trust, but is one that arises in order to satisfy the demands of justice. It does not come about by agreement or intention but mainly operation of law and construed as a trust against one who, by fraud, duress or abuse of confidence, obtains or holds the legal right to property which he ought not, in equity and good conscience to hold. (Heirs of Lorenzo Yap v. CA, G.R. No. 133047, August 17, 1990)

The following are examples of constructive trust:

1. Art. 1455 which provides: “If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it is, by force of law considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the person for whom the property comes.

2. Art. 1451 which provides: “When land passes by succession through any person and he causes the legal title to be put in the name of another, a trust is established by implication of law for the benefit of the true owner.”

3. Art. 1454 which provides: “If an absolute conveyance of property is made in order to secure the performance of an obligation of the grantor toward the grantee, a trust by virtue of law is established. If the fulfillment of the obligation is offered by the grantee when it becomes due, he may demand the reconveyance of the property to him.”

4. Art. 1455 which provides: “When any trustee, guardian or any person holding a fiduciary relationship uses trust funds for the purchase of property and causes conveyance to be made to him or to third person, a trust us established by operation of law in favor of the person to whom the funds belong.”

that where the plaintiff was guilty of prior or antecedent negligence, but the defendant, who had the ultimate opportunity to avoid the impending harm failed to do so, it is the defendant who is liable for all the consequences of the accident notwithstanding the prior negligence of the plaintiff. An example is where a person was riding a pony on a bridge and improperly pulled the pony to the wrong side when he saw a car coming. The driver of the car did not stop or change direction, and nearly hit the horse, and, the frightened animal jumped to its death. The driver of the car is guilty of negligence because he had a fair opportunity to avoid the accident and failed to avail himself of that opportunity. He is liable under the doctrine of last clear chance. (Picart v. Smith, G.R. No. L- 12219, March 15, 1918)

I would decide in favor of Mr.& Mrs. S. The proprietor of a building or structure is responsible for the damages resulting from its total or partial collapse, if it should be due to the lack of necessary repairs. (Art. 2190) As regards the defense of “last clear chance,” the same is not tenable because according to the SC the doctrine of last clear chance is not applicable to instances covered by Art 2190 of the Civil Code. (De Roy v. CA, G.R. L-80718, January 29, 1988) The role of the common law "last clear chance" doctrine in relation to Art. 2179 is merely to mitigate damages within the context of contributory negligence. (Phoenix Construction, Inc. v. IAC, G.R. No. L-65295, March 10, 1987)

The doctrine of VICARIOUS LIABILITY is that which renders a person liable for the negligence of others for whose acts or omission the law makes him responsible on the theory that they are under his control and supervision.