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ZULUETA vs PAN AMERICAN AIRWAYS

FACTS:
 Plaintiffs Zulueta bought a PANAM ticket from Honolulu, Hawaii to Manila. It was not a direct flight,
and there was a 30-min stopover at Wake Island.
 During the stopover, Mr Zulueta, heeding the call of nature, first went to the terminal bathroom,
however, it was full of soldiers. He thus went farther out into the beach, at a secluded area to do his
business.
 When the time came for the flight to leave Wake Island, Mr Zulueta was not found. His family
disembarked to find him, and he was found after an hour, walking back to the terminal.
 When he reached the gate he retorted “You people almost made me miss your flight. You have a
defective announcing system and I was not paged.”
 He was then subjected to humiliation by the staff as follows:
o He was stopped at the gate. The staff yelled at him, “what in the hell do you think you are?
Get on that plane”.
o The captain had his baggage claim tickets taken, and thereafter had his luggage
disembarked at the terminal after he wouldn’t allow his baggage to be checked (the
captain was insisting that he was tipped it had a bomb inside). That when one luggage out
of 4 was missing, the captain said, “I don’t give a damn”.
o The captain had his staff force the wife and daughter to disembark, yelling “Get these
monkeys out of this plane”.
o That the wife and daughter were accosted off the plane by men in uniform “as if they were
criminals”
o That PANAM’s manager gave him a letter after the plane took off without him, informing him
that he was unloaded due to his refusal to have his bag checked. It further included the
following statement: “During your stay on Wake Island, which will be for a minimum of one
week, you will be charged $13.30 per day for each member of your party”
 Zulueta eventually got to fly in a different airline, for a new ticket, in two days to return to Manila. He
filed a suit for damages.
 CFI ruled for him, awarding Php 1M in moral damages.

ISSUE:
WON the plaintiff is entitled to moral damages

HELD:
YES. But it is lowered to Php 500K.

The records amply establish plaintiffs' right to recover both moral and exemplary damages. Indeed, plaintiff
receieved a rude and rough reception at the hands of PANAM’s staff and captain. To some extent, however,
plaintiff had contributed to the gravity of the situation because of the extreme belligerence with which he
had reacted on the occasion. Just the same, there is every reason to believe that, in all probability, things
would not have turned out as bad as they became had he not allowed himself, in a way, to be dragged to
the level or plane on which PANAM's personnel had placed themselves.

Plaintiff Rafael Zulueta was "off-loaded" at Wake Island, for having dared to retort to defendant's agent in a
tone and manner matching, if not befitting his intemperate language and arrogant attitude. As a
consequence, Capt. Zentner's attempt to humiliate Rafael Zulueta had boomeranged against him (Zentner),
in the presence of the other passengers and the crew. It was, also, in their presence that defendant's agent
had referred to the plaintiffs as "monkeys," a racial insult not made openly and publicly in the
abovementioned previous cases against airlines.

In other words, Mr. Zulueta was off-loaded, not to protect the safety of the aircraft and its passengers, but to
retaliate and punish him for the embarrassment and loss of face thus suffered by defendant's agent. This
vindictive motive is made more manifest by the note delivered to Mr. Zulueta by defendant's airport manager
at Wake Island, Mr. Sitton, stating that the former's stay therein would be "for a minimum of one week," during
which he would be charged $13.30 per day. This reference to a "minimum of one week" revealed the
intention to keep him there stranded that long, for no other plane, headed for Manila, was expected within

said period of time. that in off-loading plaintiff at Wake Island. however. It is obvious. via Japan. It is urged by the defendant that exemplary damages are not recoverable in quasi-delicts. pursuant to Article 2231 of our Civil Code. Zulueta managed to board. If "gross negligence" warrants the award of exemplary damages. malicious and tainted with bad faith. whence he flew back to the Philippines. under the circumstances heretofore adverted to. except when the defendant has acted with "gross negligence." and that there is no specific finding that it had so acted. although Mr. with more reason is its imposition justified when the act performed is deliberate. a plane that brought him to Hawaii. . days later. defendant's agents had acted with malice aforethought and evident bad faith.