Concurrent liability of tortfeasors


It is settled that Article 1173 of the Civil Code requires the exercise of that diligence which is expected of a good father of a family in the performance of an obligation. Indeed, the test to determine whether negligence attended the performance of an obligation is to answer a simple question. Did the defendant in doing the alleged negligent act use that reasonable care and caution which an ordinarily prudent person would have used in the same situation? If not, then he is guilty of negligence.

Furthermore, the CA correctly ruled that petitioner and Pan Pacific Travel Corporation are jointly and solidarily liable for the amounts awarded to respondents for being joint tortfeasors. In Philippine Airlines, Inc. v. Lim, the Court reiterated the established principles pertaining thereto as follows:

Where there are several causes for the resulting damages, a party is not relieved from liability, even partially. It is sufficient that the negligence of a party is an efficient cause without which the damage would not have resulted. It is no defense to one of the concurrent tortfeasors that the damage would not have resulted from his negligence alone, without the negligence or wrongful acts of the other concurrent tortfeasor. As stated in the case of Far Eastern Shipping v. Court of Appeals,
Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any of the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons although under the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more culpable, and that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not the same. No actor's negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not exceed the negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is liable as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury. 
There is no contribution between joint tortfeasors whose liability is solidary since both of them are liable for the total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omissions of two or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for the whole injury. Where their concurring negligence resulted in injury or damage to a third party, they become joint tortfeasors and are solidarity liable for the resulting damage under Article 2194 of the Civil Code.
The CA likewise properly adjudged that respondents are not entitled to actual damages as "jurisprudence has consistently held that '[t]o justify an award of actual damages xxx credence can be given only to claims which are duly supported by receipts.'" On the other hand, the CA appropriately upheld the award of moral damages albeit reduced "[f]or the mental anguish, sleepless nights, and serious anxiety suffered by respondent [Tyrone Ramas Uypitching]."

Moreover, the CA rightly sustained the award of temperate damages because respondents were found to have suffered some pecuniary loss and "[s]ince [respondents are] entitled to temperate damages, then the court may also award exemplary damages in [their] favor." In addition, "respondents were forced to obtain services of counsel to enforce a just claim, for which they should be awarded attorney's fees."

Finally, "[i]n light of prevailing rules and jurisprudence, the reckoning date of the 6% per annum interest on the monetary awards must, however, be modified, xxx [T]he interest on these awards must be computed from the date when the RTC rendered its decision xxx as it was at this time that a quantification of the damages may be deemed to have been reasonably ascertained." Thus, "the interest on the monetary awards shall then be fixed at 6% per annum, until the damages are fully paid."

THE CASE: [G.R. No. 227574, August 14, 2017]. LBC DOMESTIC FRANCHISE CO. INC., PETITIONER VS. TYRONE RAMAS UYPITCHING AND NACY TOCHIP-RAMAS UYPITCHING, RESPONDENTS.

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