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case 20.

lilius et al vs manila railroad


G.R. No. L-39587

March 24, 1934


Lilius was driving with his wife and daughter for sightseeing in Pagsanjan Laguna. It was
his first time in the area and he was entirely unacquainted with the conditions of the road and
had no knowledge of the existence of a railroad crossing. Before reaching the crossing in
question, there was nothing to indicate its existence and, it was impossible to see an
approaching train. At about seven or eight meters from the crossing the plaintiff saw an
autotruck parked on the left side of the road. Several people, who seemed to have alighted from
the said truck, were walking on the opposite side. He slowed down and sounded his horn for the
people to get out of the way. With his attention thus occupied, he did not see the crossing but
he heard two short whistles. Immediately afterwards, he saw a huge black mass fling itself upon
him, which turned out to be locomotive No. 713 of the MRC’s train. The locomotive struck the
plaintiff’s car right in the center. The 3 victims were injured and were hospitalized.

Lilius filed a case against MRC in the CFI. Answering the complaint, it denies each and
every allegation thereof and, by way of special defense, alleges that the Lilius, with the
cooperation of his wife and coplaintiff, negligently and recklessly drove his car, and prays that it
be absolved from the complaint.

The CFI decided in favor of Lilius. The 2 parties appealed said decision, each assigning
errors on said judgement.


1.WON Manila Railroad Company is liable for damages



Upon examination of the oral as well as of the documentary evidence, this court is of the
opinion that the accident was due to negligence on the part of the defendant-appellant
company alone, for not having had on that occasion any semaphore at the crossing to serve as a
warning to passers-by of its existence in order that they might take the necessary precautions
before crossing the railroad; and, on the part of its employees — the flagman and switchman, for
not having remained at his post at the crossing in question to warn passers-by of the
approaching train

Although it is probable that the defendant-appellant entity employed the diligence of a

good father of a family in selecting its aforesaid employees, however, it did not employ such
diligence in supervising their work and the discharge of their duties. The diligence of a good
father of a family, which the law requires in order to avoid damage, is not confined to the careful
and prudent selection of subordinates or employees but includes inspection of their work and
supervision of the discharge of their duties.

case 21 umali vs bacani


G.R. No. L-40570. 30 January 1976.


On May 14, 1972, a storm with strong rain hit the Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan.
During the storm, the banana plants standing near the transmission line of the Alcala Electric
Plant (AEP) were blown down and fell on the electric wire. The live electric wire was cut, one end
of which was left hanging on the electric post and the other fell to the ground. The following
morning, barrio captain saw Cipriano Baldomero, a laborer of the AEP, asked him to fix it, but the
latter told the barrio captain that he could not do it but that he was going to look for the lineman
to fix it. Sometime thereafter, a small boy of 3 years and 8 months old by the name of Manuel P.
Saynes, whose house is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the place where the
broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The boy was electrocuted and he subsequently
died. It was only after the electrocution that the broken wire was fixed.


1) WON the proximate cause of the boy's death is due to a fortuitous event- storm;
2) WON boy’s parents’ negligence exempts petitioner from liability.


1) A careful examination of the records convinces the SC that a series of negligence on

the part of defendants' employees in the AEP resulted in the death of the victim by
electrocution. With ordinary foresight, the employees of the petitioner could have easily seen
that even in case of moderate winds the electric line would be endangered by banana plants
being blown down.

2) Art. 2179 Civil Code provides that if the negligence of the plaintiff (parents of the
victim in this case) was only contributory, the immediate and proximate cause of the injury being
the defendants' (petitioners’) lack of due care, the plaintiff may recover damages, but the courts
shall mitigate the damages to be awarded. This law may be availed of by the petitioner but does
not exempt him from liability. Petitioner's liability for injury caused by his employees negligence
is well defined in par. 4, of Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

case 22 corliss vs meralco


G.R. No. L-21291

March 28, 1969


Ralph Corliss Jr. was an air police of the Clark Air Force Base. The jeep he was driving
while accompanied with a P.C. soldier, collided with a locomotive of Manila Railroad Company
(MRC) close to midnight at the railroad crossing in Balibago, Angeles, Pampanga, in front of the
Clark Air Force Base. Corliss Jr. died of serious burns at the hospital the next day, while the
soldier sustained serious physical injuries and burns.

In the decision appealed from, the lower court, after summarizing the evidence,
concluded that the deceased “in his eagerness to beat, so to speak, the oncoming locomotive,
took the risk and attempted to reach the other side, but unfortunately he became the victim of
his own miscalculation.

The negligence imputed to MRC was thus ruled out by the lower court, satisfactory proof
to that effect, in its opinion, being lacking. Hence this appeal direct to us, the amount sought in
the concept of damages reaching the sum of P282,065.40.


WON the Manila Railroad Co. is negligent


NO. Decision is affirmed

"Negligence" is 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.