Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co.

G.R. No. L-12191, 14 October 1918

FACTS:

Jose Cangco was in the employment of Manila Railroad Company. He lived in the pueblo of San Mateo, in the province of Rizal, which is located upon the line of the defendant railroad company; and in coming daily by train to the company’s office in the city of Manila where he worked, he used a pass, supplied by the company, which entitled him to ride upon the company’s trains free of charge.

During his ride in the train he arose from his seat and makes his way to the exit while the train is still on travel. When the train has proceeded a little farther Jose Cangco step down into the cement platform but unfortunately step in to a sack of watermelon, fell down and rolled under the platform and was drawn under the moving car which resulting to his arm to be crashed and lacerated. He was rushed to the hospital and sued the company and the employee who put the sack of watermelon in the platform.

The accident occurred between 7 and 8 o’ clock on the dark night. It is that time of the year that may we considered as season to harvest watermelon explaining why there are sacks of watermelon in the platform. The plaintiff contends that it is the negligence of the Manila Railroad Co. on why they let their employees put a hindrance in the platform that may cause serious accident. The defendant answered that it is the lack of diligence on behalf of the plaintiff alone on why he did not wait for the train to stop before alighting the train.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the company is liable or there is a contributory negligence on behalf of the plaintiff.

RULING:

There is no contributory negligence on behalf of the plaintiff. The Supreme Court provides some test that may find the contributory negligence of a person. Was there anything in the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff at the time he alighted from the train which would have admonished a person of average prudence that to get off the train under the conditions then existing was dangerous? If so, the plaintiff should have desisted from alighting; and his failure so to desist was contributory negligence.

Alighting from a moving train while it is slowing down is a common practice and a lot of people are doing so every day without suffering injury. Cangco has the vigor and agility of young manhood, and it was by no means so risky for him to get off while the train was yet moving as the same act would have been in an aged or feeble person. He was also ignorant of the fact that sacks of watermelons were there as there were no appropriate warnings and the place was dimly lit.

Article 1173, first paragraph: The fault or negligence of the obligor consists in the omission of that diligence which is required by the nature of the obligation and corresponds with the circumstances of that persons, of the time and of the place. When negligence shows bad faith, the provisions of Article 1171 and 2201, paragraph 2, shall apply.

In the case the proximate cause of the accident is the lack of diligence of the company to inform their employees to not put any hindrance in the platform like sacks of watermelon. The contract of defendant to transport plaintiff carried with it, by implication, the duty to carry him in safety and to provide safe means of entering and leaving its trains (civil code, article 1258). That duty, being contractual, was direct and immediate, and its non-performance could not be excused by proof that the fault was morally imputable to defendant’s servants. Therefore, the company is liable for damages against Cangco.

 * Case digest by Aileen B. Buenafe, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018

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