You are on page 1of 35

A Paper on the Concepts of “Respondeat

Superior” and “Pater Familias”

By:
Patricia Nicole M. Balgoa
Stephanie D. Publico
Alexa Marie T. Singanon
Ace R. Ugdang

March 9, 2018
CHAPTER I:
INTRODUCTION

For one’s act or omission, damage caused. The other one guilty, the other —
injured. But if the former is to another, an employee, a minor child, a state’s ordinary
or special agent, or under another’s special parental authority will the other person
be held liable for the former’s act or omission unconditionally?

Suppose:
A negligent, B suffered Damage.
[1] If C is A’s employer, can he be made liable for A’s negligence, criminally and/or
civilly?

[2] If C is A’s parent, A, being a minor, can he be made liable for A’s negligence?

[3] If C has special parental authority over A (i.e., school, administrator or teacher),
can he be made liable for A’s negligence?

[4] If C is the state, A, being its special or ordinary agent, can it be made liable for A’s
negligence?

Supposing further, C may be held liable,


[1] Is the liability direct, joint, solidary, or subsidiary?
[2] Why will he be held liable?
[3] What will be C’s possible defense, or any there be?
[4] Will the determination of liability universal under different jurisdictions?

DEFINITION OF CONCEPTS

Generally, if a person breaches a legal duty or violates a right, he alone is


responsible for his own act or omission. Thus, a person will be held liable only for
the torts committed by himself and not by another and that the obligation to
indemnify another for damage caused is imposed upon the tortfeasor himself. This
rule is declared in Article 2176 of the Civil Code, which states:

“Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being


fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the
parties, is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
Chapter.”

However, in certain situations, a person or entity is held liable for the acts or
omissions of another person or entity by virtue of a particular relationship. This
liability is known as vicarious liability. This is often applicable to employer-
employee relationships, but it is also applicable to other situations where a superior
is held responsible for the acts of a subordinate. It finds support under the Civil
Code which provides that a person is not only liable for one’s own quasi-delicts, but
also for those persons for whom one is responsible for, to wit:

“Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable


not only for one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of
persons for whom one is responsible.

1
The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
their company.

Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or incapacitated


persons who are under their authority and live in their company.

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.

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.

The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a special


agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the official to
whom the task done properly pertains, in which case what is provided in
Article 2176 shall be applicable.

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be


liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices, so
long as they remain in their custody.

The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damage.”

In Cangco v. Manila Railroad Co, the Court explained the extension of liability
to persons morally imputable, by reason of them “having failed to exercise due care
in one's own acts, or in having failed to exercise due care in the selection and control of
one's agent or servants, or in the control of persons who, by reasons of their status,
occupy a position of dependency with respect to the person made liable for their
conduct.” Simply stated, the liability attaches because of the fact that the superior
has, in some way, induced, facilitated, or otherwise contributed to its subordinate’s
acts.

One basis of vicarious liability is respondeat superior, which means “let the
master answer.” By virtue of the person’s command responsibility, usually that of an
employer, he will be jointly and severally liable for an employee’s negligent acts or
omissions. The critical question in this principle is whether the employee was acting
within the scope of employment or whether the employee’s acts were in furtherance
of the employer’s interests

In Jayme v. Apostol, it is discussed that in order to obtain damages against


employers for the acts of their employees under Article 2180, it must be established
that the injurious or tortuous act was committed at the time the employee was
performing his functions. Thus, the following requisites must be necessarily shown:
(1) That the employee was chosen by the employer personally or through another;
(2) That the service to be rendered in accordance with orders which the employer
has the authority to give at all times; and (3) That the illicit act of the employee was
on the occasion or by reason of the functions entrusted to him.

2
On the contrary, under the civil law, an employer is liable for the negligence
of his employees in the discharge of their respective duties, the basis of which
liability is not respondeat superior, but the relationship of pater familias, which
theory bases the liability of the master ultimately on his own negligence and not on
that of his servant (Cuison v. Norton and Harrison Co., 55 Phil. 18).

Pater familias is a term originated from Roman Law, which means "father of
the family" or the "owner of the family estate". In the case of Bahia v. Litonjua and
Leynes, the Supreme Court stated: “This theory bases the liability of the master
ultimately on his own negligence and not on that of his servant.” The liability falls
upon the employer for his failure to exercise the diligence of a good father of the
family in the selection and supervision of his employees.

The employer's liability under the concept of pater familias is also imposed
by Art 2180 in relation to Art. 2176 of the Civil Code. It is primary and tortious in
character. His liability is relieved only upon showing that he exercised the diligence
of a good father of the family in the selection and supervision of its employees
(Valenzuela v. Court Appeals). This question of diligence in the selection and
supervision is dependent upon the circumstance of each case.

The doctrines of respondeat superior and pater familias are the common
bases of vicarious liability. However, respondeat superior is a common law concept
while pater familias is the basis of liability under the civil law. In respondeat
superior, the negligence of the employee is conclusively presumed to be the
negligence of the employer. The defense of the exercise of diligence of a good father
of a family to prevent damage is not a proper defense. On the other hand, in pater
familias, the presumption of negligence of the employer is disputable upon proof of
diligence in the selection and supervision of employees (or to prevent damage).

CHAPTER I:
HOW THE DOCTRINES BECOME PART OF PHILIPPINE LAW:

[1] [1918] Philippine Supreme court applies the Spanish Civil Code and its
ruling in Bahia vs. Litonjua [1915]: The liability, which, under the Spanish law,
is, in certain cases imposed upon employers with respect to damages occasioned
by the negligence of their employees is not based, as in the English Common Law,
upon the principle of respondeat superior.

CANGCO V. MANILA RAILROAD CO.


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

An action to recover damages was instituted by the plaintiff against the


defendant company for the injuries he sustained in an accident by reason of the
negligence of the servants and employees of the defendant.

Jose Cangco was an employee of Manila Railroad Company and in coming


daily by train to the company's office; he used a pass supplied by the company that
entitled him to ride upon the company's trains free of charge. On the evening of
January 20, 1915 however, as he was about to alight the train, Cangco accidentally
stepped on a sack of watermelons that were placed on the platform causing him to
slip and fall violently. As a result, his right arm was badly crushed and lacerated
which eventually had to be amputated.
3
The Supreme Court found the employees of the railroad company to be
without a doubt guilty of negligence in piling the watermelon sacks on the platform
which presence caused the plaintiff to fall as he alighted from the train and which
therefore constituted an effective legal cause of the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.
As such, it necessarily follows that the defendant company is liable for the damage
thereby occasioned. However, the Supreme Court found it necessary to first
determine the source of the legal liability of the defendant company:

“It is important to note that the foundation of the legal liability of the
defendant is the contract of carriage, and that the obligation to respond for
the damage which plaintiff has suffered arises, if at all, from the breach of
that contract by reason of the failure of defendant to exercise due care in its
performance. That is to say, its liability is direct and immediate, differing
essentially, in legal viewpoint from that presumptive responsibility for the
negligence of its servants, imposed by article 1903 of the Civil Code, which
can be rebutted by proof of the exercise of due care in their selection and
supervision. Article 1903 of the Civil Code is not applicable to obligations
arising ex contractu, but only to extra-contractual obligations — or to use the
technical form of expression, that article relates only to culpa aquiliana and
not to culpa contractual.”

Article 1903 of the Spanish Civil Code states that:

1903. The obligation imposed by the preceding article is exigible, not only for
personal acts and omissions, but also for those of the persons for whom they
should be responsible.

xxx

Owners or directors of an establishment or enterprise are equally liable for the


damages, caused by their clerks in the service of the branches in which the
latter are employed, or on account of their duties.

xxx

The responsibility, to which this article refers, shall cease, when the persons
mentioned in the same prove that they employed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to avoid the danger.

The basis of the liability under the said provision was also explained, thus:

“This distinction is of the utmost importance. The liability, which, under the
Spanish law, is, in certain cases imposed upon employers with respect to
damages occasioned by the negligence of their employees to persons to
whom they are not bound by contract, is not based, as in the English
Common Law, upon the principle of respondeat superior — if it were, the
master would be liable in every case and unconditionally — but upon the
principle announced in article 1902 of the Civil Code, which imposes upon all
persons who by their fault or negligence, do injury to another, the obligation
of making good the damage caused. One who places a powerful automobile in
the hands of a servant whom he knows to be ignorant of the method of
managing such a vehicle, is himself guilty of an act of negligence which makes
him liable for all the consequences of his imprudence. The obligation to make
good the damage arises at the very instant that the unskillful servant, while
acting within the scope of his employment causes the injury. The liability of
the master is personal and direct. But, if the master has not been guilty of any

4
negligence whatever in the selection and direction of the servant, he is not
liable for the acts of the latter, whatever done within the scope of his
employment or not, if the damage done by the servant does not amount to a
breach of the contract between the master and the person injured.

It is not accurate to say that proof of diligence and care in the selection and
control of the servant relieves the master from liability for the latter's acts —
on the contrary, that proof shows that the responsibility has never existed.
As Manresa says (vol. 8, p. 68) the liability arising from extra-contractual
culpa is always based upon a voluntary act or omission which, without willful
intent, but by mere negligence or inattention, has caused damage to another.
A master who exercises all possible care in the selection of his servant, taking
into consideration the qualifications they should possess for the discharge of
the duties which it is his purpose to confide to them, and directs them with
equal diligence, thereby performs his duty to third persons to whom he is
bound by no contractual ties, and he incurs no liability whatever if, by reason
of the negligence of his servants, even within the scope of their employment,
such third person suffer damage. True it is that under article 1903 of the Civil
Code the law creates a presumption that he has been negligent in the
selection or direction of his servant, but the presumption is rebuttable and
yield to proof of due care and diligence in this respect.”

Citing the case of Bahia vs. Litonjua and Leynes (30 Phil. rep., 624), which
was an action brought upon the theory of the extra-contractual liability of the
defendant to respond for the damage caused by the carelessness of his employee
while acting within the scope of his employment, the Supreme Court further
elucidated the distinction, such that:

“In case of extra-contractual culpa based upon negligence, it is necessary that


there shall have been some fault attributable to the defendant personally,
and that the last paragraph of article 1903 merely establishes a rebuttable
presumption, is in complete accord with the authoritative opinion of
Manresa, who says (vol. 12, p. 611) that the liability created by article 1903 is
imposed by reason of the breach of the duties inherent in the special
relations of authority or superiority existing between the person called upon
to repair the damage and the one who, by his act or omission, was the cause
of it.

On the other hand, the liability of masters and employers for the negligent
acts or omissions of their servants or agents, when such acts or omissions
cause damages which amount to the breach of a contact, is not based upon a
mere presumption of the master's negligence in their selection or control,
and proof of exercise of the utmost diligence and care in this regard does not
relieve the master of his liability for the breach of his contract.

Every legal obligation must of necessity be extra-contractual or contractual.


Extra-contractual obligation has its source in the breach or omission of those
mutual duties which civilized society imposes upon it members, or which
arise from these relations, other than contractual, of certain members of
society to others, generally embraced in the concept of status. The legal rights
of each member of society constitute the measure of the corresponding legal
duties, mainly negative in character, which the existence of those rights
imposes upon all other members of society. The breach of these general
duties whether due to willful intent or to mere inattention, if productive of
injury, give rise to an obligation to indemnify the injured party. The
fundamental distinction between obligations of this character and those
which arise from contract, rests upon the fact that in cases of non-contractual

5
obligation it is the wrongful or negligent act or omission itself which creates
the vinculum juris, whereas in contractual relations the vinculum exists
independently of the breach of the voluntary duty assumed by the parties
when entering into the contractual relation.”

At this juncture, the Supreme Court introduced the doctrine of vicarious


liability and explained the basis for the doctrine:

“With respect to extra-contractual obligation arising from negligence,


whether of act or omission, it is competent for the legislature to elect — and
our Legislature has so elected — whom such an obligation is imposed is
morally culpable, or, on the contrary, for reasons of public policy, to extend
that liability, without regard to the lack of moral culpability, so as to include
responsibility for the negligence of those person who acts or mission are
imputable, by a legal fiction, to others who are in a position to exercise an
absolute or limited control over them. The legislature which adopted our
Civil Code has elected to limit extra-contractual liability — with certain well-
defined exceptions — to cases in which moral culpability can be directly
imputed to the persons to be charged. This moral responsibility may consist
in having failed to exercise due care in the selection and control of one's
agents or servants, or in the control of persons who, by reason of their status,
occupy a position of dependency with respect to the person made liable for
their conduct.”

Finally, in finding the principles of respondeat superior and pater familias to


be inapplicable in the case at bar, the Supreme Court held that:

“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.”

[2] [1988] The school, whatever its nature, may be held to answer for the acts
of its teachers or even of the head thereof under the general principle of
respondeat superior, but then it may exculpate itself from liability by proof
that it had exercised the diligence of a bonus pater familias.

AMADORA V. CA
[.R. No. L-4774; April 15, 1988]

An action for damages under Article 2180 of the Civil Code was filed by the
parents of the deceased victim against the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos, its rector
the high school principal, the dean of boys, and the physics teacher.

On April 13, 1972, Alfredo Amador was shot to death by his classmate Pablito
Damon fired a gun while they were in the auditorium of their school, the Colegio de
San Jose-Recoletos. Alfredo was only seventeen years old and was three days away
from graduation.

Both parties invoked Article 2180 of the Civil Code. The pertinent part of this
article reads:

6
Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades shall be liable
for damages caused by their pupils and students or apprentices so long as
they remain in their custody.

The Supreme Court cited three cases that have been previously decided in
connection with the above-quoted provision: Exconde vs. Capuno (101 Phil, 843),
Mercado vs. Court of Appeals (108 Phil, 414), and Palisoc vs. Brillantes (41 SCRA
548). In relating them to the case at bar, the Supreme Court resolved the following
conflicting circumstances:

“However, unlike in Exconde and Mercado, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos


has been directly impleaded and is sought to be held liable under Article
2180; and unlike in Palisoc, it is not a school of arts and trades but an
academic institution of learning. The parties herein have also directly raised
the question of whether or not Article 2180 covers even establishments
which are technically not schools of arts and trades, and, if so, when the
offending student is supposed to be "in its custody."

After an exhaustive examination of the problem, the Court has come to the
conclusion that the provision in question should apply to all schools,
academic as well as non-academic. Where the school is academic rather than
technical or vocational in nature, responsibility for the tort committed by the
student will attach to the teacher in charge of such student, following the first
part of the provision. This is the general rule. In the case of establishments of
arts and trades, it is the head thereof, and only he, who shall be held liable as
an exception to the general rule. In other words, teachers in general shall be
liable for the acts of their students except where the school is technical in
nature, in which case it is the head thereof who shall be answerable.”

As to the duration of the responsibility of the teacher or the head of the


school of arts and trades over the students, the Supreme Court also made the
following pronouncements:

“As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school premises in
pursuance of a legitimate student objective, in the exercise of a legitimate
student right, and even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student right, and
even in the enjoyment of a legitimate student privilege, the responsibility of
the school authorities over the student continues. Indeed, even if the student
should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the company of
his classmates and friends and enjoying the ambience and atmosphere of the
school, he is still within the custody and subject to the discipline of the school
authorities under the provisions of Article 2180.

During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-charge who must


answer for his students' torts, in practically the same way that the parents
are responsible for the child when he is in their custody. The teacher-in-
charge is the one designated by the dean, principal, or other administrative
superior to exercise supervision over the pupils in the specific classes or
sections to which they are assigned. It is not necessary that at the time of the
injury, the teacher be physically present and in a position to prevent it.
Custody does not connote immediate and actual physical control but refers
more to the influence exerted on the child and the discipline instilled in him
as a result of such influence. Thus, for the injuries caused by the student, the
teacher and not the parent shag be held responsible if the tort was
committed within the premises of the school at any time when its authority
could be validly exercised over him.”

7
The school, whatever its nature, may be held to answer for the acts of its
teachers or even of the head thereof under the general principle of respondeat
superior, but then it may exculpate itself from liability by proof that it had exercised
the diligence of a bonus pater familias, as held by the Supreme Court:

“In any event, it should be noted that the liability imposed by this article is
supposed to fall directly on the teacher or the head of the school of arts and
trades and not on the school itself. If at all, the school, whatever its nature,
may be held to answer for the acts of its teachers or even of the head thereof
under the general principle of respondeat superior, but then it may exculpate
itself from liability by proof that it had exercised the diligence of a bonus
pater familias.

Such defense is, of course, also available to the teacher or the head of the
school of arts and trades directly held to answer for the tort committed by
the student. As long as the defendant can show that he had taken the
necessary precautions to prevent the injury complained of, he can exonerate
himself from the liability imposed by Article 2180, which also states that:

The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the Persons
herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damages.

The school can show that it exercised proper measures in selecting the head
or its teachers and the appropriate supervision over them in the custody and
instruction of the pupils pursuant to its rules and regulations for the
maintenance of discipline among them. In almost all cases now, in fact, these
measures are effected through the assistance of an adequate security force to
help the teacher physically enforce those rules upon the students. Ms should
bolster the claim of the school that it has taken adequate steps to prevent any
injury that may be committed by its students.”

In applying the foregoing considerations to the case at bar and in light of the
principles announced above, the Supreme Court held that none of the respondents is
liable for the injury inflicted by Pablito Damon on Alfredo Amadora that resulted in
the latter's death at the auditorium of the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos on April 13,
1972 for the reason that:

“There is no showing that the teacher-in-charge was negligent in enforcing


discipline upon the students or that he had waived observance of the rules
and regulations of the school or condoned their non-observance. On the
contrary, the private respondents have proved that they had exercised due
diligence, through the enforcement of the school regulations, in maintaining
that discipline.

Finally, the Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos cannot be held directly liable under
the Article and neither can it be held to answer for the tort committed by any
of the other private respondents for none of them has been found to be
remiss in the discharge of his duties in connection with the custody of the
offending party.”

[3] [1992] The basis of parental liability for the torts of a minor child is the
relationship existing between the parents and the minor child living with
them and over whom, the law presumes, the parents exercise supervision
and control.

8
TAMARGO V COUT OF APPEALS
G.R. No. 85044; June 3, 1992

In the case of Tamargo vs. CA, Adelberto Bundoc, then a minor of 10 years of
age, shot Jennifer Tamargo with an air rifle causing injuries that resulted in her
death. Accordingly, a civil complaint for damages was filed by petitioner Macario
Tamargo, Jennifer's adopting parent, and petitioner spouses Celso and Aurelia
Tamargo, Jennifer's natural parents against respondent spouses Victor and Clara
Bundoc, Adelberto's natural parents with whom he was living at the time of the
tragic incident.

The Supreme Court first discussed the applicable provisions of law in order
to determine who should be held liable for the death of Jennifer:

“It is not disputed that Adelberto Bundoc's voluntary act of shooting Jennifer
Tamargo with an air rifle gave rise to a cause of action on quasi-delict against
him. As Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides:

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being


fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault
or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between
the parties, is called a quasi-delict . . .

Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be
caused by a minor child who lives with them. Article 2180 of the Civil Code
reads:

The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for


one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom
one is responsible.

The father and, in case of his death or incapacity, the mother, are
responsible for the damages caused by the minor children who live in
their company.
xxx xxx xxx
The responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the
person herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of
a good father of a family to prevent damage.”

According to the Supreme Court, this principle of parental liability is a


species of what is frequently designated as vicarious liability, or the doctrine of
"imputed negligence" under Anglo-American tort law, where a person is not only
liable for torts committed by himself, but also for torts committed by others with
whom he has a certain relationship and for whom he is responsible. Thus, parental
liability is made a natural or logical consequence of the duties and responsibilities of
parents — their parental authority — which includes the instructing, controlling
and disciplining of the child, pursuant to Articles 311, 316, and 357 of the Civil Code,
and citing also the case of Exconde vs. Capuno, 101 Phil. 843 (1957).

The Supreme Court further explained that:

9
“The civil liability imposed upon parents for the torts of their minor children
living with them, may be seen to be based upon the parental authority vested
by the Civil Code upon such parents. The civil law assumes that when an
unemancipated child living with its parents commits a tortious acts, the
parents were negligent in the performance of their legal and natural duty
closely to supervise the child who is in their custody and control. Parental
liability is, in other words, anchored upon parental authority coupled with
presumed parental dereliction in the discharge of the duties accompanying
such authority. The parental dereliction is, of course, only presumed and the
presumption can be overtuned under Article 2180 of the Civil Code by proof
that the parents had exercised all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent the damage.”

The Supreme Court ruled that under the Civil Code, the basis of parental
liability for the torts of a minor child is the relationship existing between the parents
and the minor child living with them and over whom, the law presumes, the parents
exercise supervision and control.

As such, in resolving the question as to who between the natural parents and
adoptive parents of Adelberto should be held liable for the death of Jennifer, the
Supreme Court held that:

“In the instant case, the shooting of Jennifer by Adelberto with an air rifle
occured when parental authority was still lodged in respondent Bundoc
spouses, the natural parents of the minor Adelberto. It would thus follow that
the natural parents who had then actual custody of the minor Adelberto, are
the indispensable parties to the suit for damages.”

[4] [2004] The Supreme Court applied the doctrine of pater familias and the
ruling in Poblete vs. Fabros, 93 SCRA 200 [1979]: The negligence of the
employee gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of the
employer. This is the presumed negligence in the selection and
supervision of employee.

TIU V. ARRIESGADO
[G.R. No. 138060; September 1, 2004]

The case of Tiu vs. Arriesgado involves an action for breach of contract of
carriage and damages that was filed by the herein respondent for the death of his
wife Felisa Arriesgado against the herein petitioners—the operator of D’ Rough
Riders bus and its driver. The petitioners then filed a Third-Party Complaint against
the registered owner of the cargo truck and its driver

On the evening of March 15, 1987, the cargo truck marked "Condor Hollow
Blocks and General Merchandise" was parked along the right side of the national
highway on account of one of its rear tires having exploded. Meanwhile, the spouses
Pedro and Felisa Arriesgado were passengers of the D’Rough Rider bus when it
rammed into the truck’s left rear. The impact damaged the right side of the bus and
left several passengers injured including Pedro and Felisa, the latter having died
shortly after being brought to the hospital.

In its decision, the Supreme Court found Virgilio Laspiñas negligent in


driving the bus. Moreover, for failure to observe the required extraordinary
diligence in a contract of carriage pursuant to Articles 1733, 1755 and 1756 of the
Civil Code, the Supreme Court held that the negligence of petitioner Laspiñas as

10
driver of the passenger bus is, thus, binding against petitioner William Tiu, as the
owner of the passenger bus engaged as a common carrier.

As to the liability of the owner and driver of the cargo truck, the Supreme
Court applied the doctrine of pater familias, such that:

“Respondent Sergio Pedrano was also negligent in leaving the truck parked
askew without any warning lights or reflector devices to alert oncoming
vehicles, and that such failure created the presumption of negligence on the
part of his employer, respondent Condor, in supervising his employees
properly and adequately. As we ruled in Poblete vs. Fabros, 93 SCRA 200
(1979):

It is such a firmly established principle, as to have virtually formed


part of the law itself, that the negligence of the employee gives rise to
the presumption of negligence on the part of the employer. This is the
presumed negligence in the selection and supervision of employee.
The theory of presumed negligence, in contrast with the American
doctrine of respondeat superior, where the negligence of the employee
is conclusively presumed to be the negligence of the employer, is
clearly deducible from the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil
Code which provides that the responsibility therein mentioned shall
cease if the employers prove that they observed all the diligence of a
good father of a family to prevent damages. …”

The Supreme Court found that Benjamin Condor, as owner of the cargo truck,
failed to observe all the diligence of a good father of a family, thus:

“The manner in which the truck was parked clearly endangered oncoming
traffic on both sides, considering that the tire blowout which stalled the truck
in the first place occurred in the wee hours of the morning. The Court can
only now surmise that the unfortunate incident could have been averted had
respondent Condor, the owner of the truck, equipped the said vehicle with
lights, flares, or, at the very least, an early warning device. Hence, we cannot
subscribe to respondents Condor and Pedrano’s claim that they should be
absolved from liability because, as found by the trial and appellate courts, the
proximate cause of the collision was the fast speed at which petitioner
Laspiñas drove the bus. To accept this proposition would be to come too
close to wiping out the fundamental principle of law that a man must
respond for the foreseeable consequences of his own negligent act or
omission. Indeed, our law on quasi-delicts seeks to reduce the risks and
burdens of living in society and to allocate them among its members. To
accept this proposition would be to weaken the very bonds of society.”

[5] [2006] On the principle of respondeat superior or command responsibility


alone, managerial employees may be held liable for negligence in the
performance of their managerial duties.

MUAJE-TUAZON, ET AL. V. WENPHIL CORPORATION, ET AL.


[G.R. No. 162447; December 27, 2006]

The case of Muaje-Tuazon, et al. vs. Wenphil Corporation, et al. involves a


complaint for illegal dismissal filed by the petitioners against respondent
corporation.

11
Petitioners Annabelle M. Tuazon and Almer R. Abing worked as branch
managers of the Wendy's food chains in MCU Caloocan and Meycauayan,
respectively, of respondent Wenphil Corporation. Subsequently, Wendy's had a
"Biggie Size It! Crew Challenge" promotion contest wherein the branch with the
highest sales of "Biggie Size It" wins. For the first and second rounds, MCU
Meycauayan branch won first place while MCU Caloocan won second place during
the first round. However, before the announcement of the third round winners,
management received reports that as early as the first round of the contest, the MCU
Meycauayan and Caloocan branches cheated. After an internal investigation was
conducted, petitioners were summoned, given notices of hearings and their
immediate suspension, and sometime thereafter their dismissal.

In ruling that the termination of the petitioners as managerial employees did


not amount to illegal dismissal, the Supreme Court cited the case of Caoile v.
National Labor Relations Commission (G.R. No. 115491, November 24, 1998, 299
SCRA 76, 83):

“As long as the employer has a reasonable ground to believe that the
managerial employee concerned is responsible for the purported misconduct,
or the nature of his participation renders him unworthy of the trust and
confidence demanded by his position, the managerial employee can be
dismissed.”

Moreover, even if the anomalies were committed by the employees and not
by them, the petitioners would still be held liable for negligence pursuant to the
principle of respondeat superior, as applied by the Supreme Court, thus:

“In the present case, the tape receipts presented by respondents showed that
there were anomalies committed in the branches managed by the petitioners.
On the principle of respondeat superior or command responsibility alone,
petitioners may be held liable for negligence in the performance of their
managerial duties, unless petitioners can positively show that they were not
involved. Their position requires a high degree of responsibility that
necessarily includes unearthing of fraudulent and irregular activities. Their
bare, unsubstantiated and uncorroborated denial of any participation in the
cheating does not prove their innocence nor disprove their alleged guilt.
Additionally, some employees declared in their affidavits that the cheating
was actually the idea of the petitioners.”

[6] [2011] To avoid liability for a quasi-delict committed by its employee, an


employer must overcome the presumption by presenting convincing proof
that he exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the
selection and supervision of his employee.

LOADMASTERS V. GLODEL BROKERAGE


[G.R. No. 179446; January 10, 2011]

Columbia Wire and Cable Corporation engaged the services of Glodel


Brokerage Corporation for the transport and delivery of 132 bundles of electric
copper cathodes to its facilities. The goods, which were insured by R & B Insurance
against “All Risks”, were loaded on board twelve trucks owned by Loadmasters and
were driven by Loadmasters’ employed drivers and accompanied by its employed
truck helpers to their destination. However, one truck loaded with 11 bundles or
232 pieces of copper cathodes failed to deliver its cargo. Later on, the said truck was
recovered but without the copper cathodes.

12
R & B Insurance paid Columbia the amount of ₱1,896,789.62 as insurance
indemnity and thereafter filed a complaint for damages against both Loadmasters
and Glodel seeking reimbursement of the amount it had paid to Columbia for the
loss of the subject cargo.

For the failure of both Loadmasters and Glodel, as common carriers, to


observe the extraordinary diligence as required by Article 1733 of the Civil Code,
the Supreme Court found both Loadmasters and Glodel jointly and severally liable to
R & B Insurance for the loss of the subject cargo.

Moreover, even if Loadmaster was never privy to the contract between


Glodel and Columbia such that it does not have a direct contractual relation with
Columbia, the Supreme Court held that it may still nevertheless liable for tort under
Article 2176 of the Civil Code on quasi-delicts which provides that:

ART. 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there being
fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault or
negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the parties,
is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

In connection therewith, the Supreme Court also relied their decision on


Article 2180 of the Civil Code which provides:

ART. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for
one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
responsible.
xxx

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.

In applying the said provision to the case at bar, the Supreme Court further
held that as employers, Glodel and Loadmasters failed to exercise the diligence of a
good father of a family in the selection and supervision of their employees. For this
reason, they should be held liable for the latter’s negligence. Thus:

“It is not disputed that the subject cargo was lost while in the custody of
Loadmasters whose employees (truck driver and helper) were instrumental
in the hijacking or robbery of the shipment. As employer, Loadmasters
should be made answerable for the damages caused by its employees who
acted within the scope of their assigned task of delivering the goods safely to
the warehouse.

Whenever an employee’s negligence causes damage or injury to another,


there instantly arises a presumption juris tantum that the employer failed to
exercise diligentissimi patris families in the selection (culpa in eligiendo) or
supervision (culpa in vigilando) of its employees. To avoid liability for a
quasi-delict committed by its employee, an employer must overcome the
presumption by presenting convincing proof that he exercised the care and
diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his
employee. In this regard, Loadmasters failed.

Glodel is also liable because of its failure to exercise extraordinary diligence.


It failed to ensure that Loadmasters would fully comply with the undertaking

13
to safely transport the subject cargo to the designated destination. It should
have been more prudent in entrusting the goods to Loadmasters by taking
precautionary measures, such as providing escorts to accompany the trucks
in delivering the cargoes. Glodel should, therefore, be held liable with
Loadmasters. Its defense of force majeure is unavailing.”

[7] [2011] Despite the absence of an employer-employee relationship, the


school still had the responsibility to ensure the qualifications of the
outsider catechists to avoid the occurrence of improper conduct towards
the students.

AQUINAS SCHOOL VS. SPOUSES INTON


[G.R. No. 184202; January 26, 2011]

The case of Aquinas School vs. Spouses Inton is an action for damages filed by
the respondent parents on behalf of their son against the petitioner school, seeking
to hold the petitioner school solidarily liable with an outsider catechist who shoved
the student and kicked him on the legs when the latter disobeyed the former’s
instruction to remain in the latter’s seat and not move around the classroom.

In 1998, Jose Luis Inton was a grade three student at Aquinas School while
Sister Margarita Yamyamin was a religion teacher who taught Jose Luis’ grade three
religion class. Subsequently, while Yamyamin was writing on the blackboard, Jose
Luis left his assigned seat twice to play around with a classmate. Unable to tolerate
the child’s behavior, Yamyamin kicked Jose Luis on the legs several times. She also
pulled and shoved his head on the classmate’s seat. Finally, she told the child to stay
where he was on that spot of the room and finish copying the notes on the
blackboard while seated on the floor.

As a result of the incident, Jose and Victoria Inton filed an action for damages
on behalf of their son Jose Luis against Yamyamin and Aquinas School. The RTC held
Yamyamin liable to Jose Luis for damages. Unsatisfied, the Intons appealed the RTC
decision seeking that the Court hold Aquinas School solidarily liable with Yamyamin.

Although the Supreme Court found that there was no employer-employee


relationship between the Aquinas School and Yamyamin—the latter being an
outsider catechist provided by a congregation of sisters, the Aquinas School still had
the responsibility to ensure the qualifications of the outsider catechists which under
the circumstances they have complied with. As such, the school was not guilty of
neglect and cannot therefore be held solidarily liable with Yamyamin, as ruled by
the Supreme Court:

“Of course, Aquinas School still had the responsibility of taking steps to
ensure that only qualified outside catechists are allowed to teach its young
students. In this regard, it cannot be said that Aquinas took no steps to avoid
the occurrence of improper conduct towards the students by their religion
teacher.

First, Yamyamin’s transcript of records, certificates, and diplomas


showed that she was qualified to teach religion.

Second, there is no question that Aquinas ascertained that Yamyamin


came from a legitimate religious congregation of sisters and that,
given her Christian training, the school had reason to assume that she
would behave properly towards the students.

14
Third, the school gave Yamyamin a copy of the school’s Administrative
Faculty Staff Manual that set the standards for handling students. It
also required her to attend a teaching orientation before she was
allowed to teach beginning that June of 1998.

Fourth, the school pre-approved the content of the course she was to
teach to ensure that she was really catechizing the students.

And fifth, the school had a program for subjecting Yamyamin to


classroom evaluation. Unfortunately, since she was new and it was
just the start of the school year, Aquinas did not have sufficient
opportunity to observe her methods. At any rate, it acted promptly to
relieve her of her assignment as soon as the school learned of the
incident. It cannot be said that Aquinas School was guilty of outright
neglect.”

[8] [2011] Metro Manila Transit Corporation vs. Court of Appeals [1993]: The
formulation of various company policies on safety without showing that
they were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt petitioner from
liability arising from negligence of its employees.

FILIPINAS SYNTHETIC FIBER CORPORATION VS. DE LOS SANTOS


[G.R. No. 152033; March 16, 2011]

This case is an action for damages filed by the respondents against the
petitioner corporation and one of its employees.

On the night of September 30, 1984, Armando de los Santos, went to fetch
Teresa Elena de los Santos, after her performance in a musical play at the Rizal
Theater in Makati City, Metro Manila. Two other cast members namely, Annabel
Vilches and Jerome Macuja, joined Teresa Elena. Armando drove a 1980 Mitsubishi
Galant Sigma.

While travelling along the White Plains Katipunan Road, the Galant Sigma
collided with the shuttle bus owned by petitioner and driven by Alfredo S. Mejia, an
employee of petitioner. The Galant Sigma was dragged about 12 meters from the
point of impact, across the White Plains Road landing near the perimeter fence of
Camp Aguinaldo, where the Galant Sigma burst into flames and burned to death
beyond recognition all four occupants of the car.

The respondents are the husband of Teresa Elena, the wife of Armando, and
the family of Annabel.

According to the Supreme Court, there was proof more than preponderant to
conclude that Mejia was traveling at an unlawful speed, hence, the negligent driver.
However, in order to escape liability, petitioner corporation insists that it exercised
the due diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its
employees, to which the Supreme Court ruled in the contrary:

“Under Article 2180 of the New Civil Code, when an injury is caused by the
negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a presumption of law that
there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in the
selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after

15
selection or both. The liability of the employer under Article 2180 is direct
and immediate; it is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the
negligent employee and a prior showing of the insolvency of such employee.
Therefore, it is incumbent upon the private respondents (in this case, the
petitioner) to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a
family in the selection and supervision of their employee.

“Petitioner asserts that it had submitted and presented during trial,


numerous documents in support of its claim that it had exercised the proper
diligence in both the selection and supervision of its employees. Among those
proofs are documents showing Mejia's proficiency and physical examinations,
as well as his NBI clearances. The Employee Staff Head of the Human
Resource Division of the petitioner also testified that Mejia was constantly
under supervision and was given daily operational briefings. Nevertheless,
the RTC and the CA were correct in finding those pieces of evidence
presented by the petitioner insufficient.

In Manliclic vs. Calaunan (G.R. No. 150157, January 25, 2007, 512
SCRA 642, 662-663), this Court ruled that:

In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to


examine them as to their qualifications, experience and service records.
In the supervision of employees, the employer must formulate standard
operating procedures, monitor their implementation and impose
disciplinary measures for the breach thereof. To fend off vicarious
liability, employers must submit concrete proof, including documentary
evidence, that they complied with everything that was incumbent on
them.

In Metro Manila Transit Corporation vs. Court of Appeals 223 SCRA 521,
540-541 (1993), it was explained that:

Due diligence in the supervision of employees on the other hand,


includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the
guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended
for the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer
has relations through his or its employees and the imposition of
necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as
may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to
the business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that
actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with
said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting
through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their
supervisory functions.

In order that the defense of due diligence in the selection and


supervision of employees may be deemed sufficient and plausible, it is
not enough to emptily invoke the existence of said company guidelines
and policies on hiring and supervision. As the negligence of the
employee gives rise to the presumption of negligence on the part of the
employer, the latter has the burden of proving that it has been diligent
not only in the selection of employees but also in the actual supervision
of their work. The mere allegation of the existence of hiring procedures
and supervisory policies, without anything more, is decidedly not
sufficient to overcome such presumption.

16
We emphatically reiterate our holding, as a warning to all employers,
that "the formulation of various company policies on safety without
showing that they were being complied with is not sufficient to exempt
petitioner from liability arising from negligence of its employees. It is
incumbent upon petitioner to show that in recruiting and employing the
erring driver the recruitment procedures and company policies on
efficiency and safety were followed."

Applying the above ruling, the CA, therefore, committed no error in


finding that the evidence presented by petitioner is wanting. Thus, the CA
ruled:

In the present case, Filsyn merely presented evidence on the alleged


care it took in the selection or hiring of Mejia way back in 1974 or ten
years before the fatal accident. Neither did Filsyn present any proof of
the existence of the rules and regulations governing the conduct of its
employees. It is significant to note that in employing Mejia, who is not
a high school graduate, Filsyn waived its long-standing policy
requirement of hiring only high school graduates. It insufficiently
failed to explain the reason for such waiver other than their allegation
of Mejia's maturity and skill for the job.

As revealed by the testimony of Rolando Landicho, Filsyn admitted


that their shuttle buses were used to ferry Filsyn's employees for
three shifts. It failed to show whether or not Mejia was on duty
driving buses for all three shifts. On the other hand, the trial court
found that Mejia, by the different shifts would have been on the job for
more than eight hours. Fylsin did not even sufficiently prove that it
exercised the required supervision of Mejia by ensuring rest periods,
particularly for its night shift drivers who are working on a time when
most of us are usually taking rest. As correctly argued by the
plaintiffs-appellees, this is significant because the accident happened
at 11:30 p.m., when the shuttle bus was under the control of a driver
having no passenger at all. Despite, the lateness of the hour and the
darkness of the surrounding area, the bus was travelling at a speed of
70 kilometers per hour.

In view of the absence of sufficient proof of its exercise of due


diligence, Filsyn cannot escape its solidary liability as the owner of the
wayward bus and the employer of the negligent driver of the
wayward bus. x x x”

CHAPTER III:
APPLICATION OF THE DOCTRINES WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO
THE DETERMINATION OF VICARIOUS LIABILITY

NATURE OF LIABILITY—

As a general rule, as provided for by the court in the case of Filcar v. Espinas
(G.R. No. 174156, June 20, 2012), one is only responsible for his own act or omission.
Thus, a person will generally be held liable only for the torts committed by himself
and not by another. This general rule is laid down in Article 2176 of the Civil Code,
which provides:

17
Article 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to
another, there being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the
damage done. Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing
contractual relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict
and is governed by the provisions of this Chapter.

Based on the above-cited article, the obligation to indemnify another for


damage caused by ones act or omission is imposed upon the tortfeasor himself, i.e.,
the person who committed the negligent act or omission. The law, however,
provides for exceptions when it makes certain persons liable for the act or omission
of another. This is provided for in Article 2180 of the Civil Code, to wit:

Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable


not only for one’s own acts or omissions, but also for those of
persons for whom one is responsible.

The father, and in case of his death or incapacity, the mother,


are responsible for the damages caused by the minor children
who live in their company.

Guardians are liable for damages caused by the minors or


incapacitated persons who are under their authority and live in
their company.

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 occasion of their functions.

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.

The State is responsible in like manner when it acts through a


special agent; but not when the damage has been caused by the
official to whom the task done properly pertains, in which case
what is provided in Article 2176 shall be applicable.

Lastly, teachers or heads of establishments of arts and trades


shall be liable for damages caused by their pupils and students or
apprentices, so long as they remain in their custody.

The responsibility treated of in this article shall ease when the


persons herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

Thus, the above persons or entities are presumed liable in case of a negligent
act committed by the person who are under their authority. The nature of their
liability over the persons under them is explained by the present jurisprudence on
the doctrines of respondeat superior and pater famiilias following Article 2180 of the
Civil Code, in relation with Article 2176, in the manner discussed below.

18
(1) Parental and Pseudo-Parental Vicarious Liability

Article 2176 of the Civil Code provides:

Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there


being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done.
Such fault or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual
relation between the parties, is called a quasi-delict.

Upon the other hand, the law imposes civil liability upon the father and, in
case of his death or incapacity, the mother, for any damages that may be caused by a
minor child who lives with them, as provided in Article 2180 of the Civil Code:

The obligation imposed by article 2176 is demandable not only for


one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for
whom one is responsible. xxx The father and, in case of his death
or incapacity, the mother, are responsible for the damages caused
by the minor children who live in their company. xxx xxx xxx The
responsibility treated of in this Article shall cease when the
person herein mentioned prove that they observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent damage.

In the case of Libi v. Hon. Intermediate Apellate Court (G.R. No. 70890,
September 18, 1992), the court made a pronouncement as to the nature and extent
of liability of the parents with respect to the quasi-delict committed by their
unemancipated child in this wise:

We believe that the civil liability of parents for quasi-delicts of


their minor children, as contemplated in Article 2180 of the Civil
Code, is primary and not subsidiary. In fact, if we apply Article
2194 of said code which provides for solidary liability of joint
tortfeasors, the persons responsible for the act or omission, in this
case the minor and the father and, in case of his death of
incapacity, the mother, are solidarily liable. Accordingly, such
parental liability is primary and not subsidiary, hence the last
paragraph of Article 2180 provides that" (t)he responsibility
treated of in this article shall cease when the persons herein
mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good
father of a family to prevent damages."

Thus, the liability is direct and primary. The parents cannot exempt
themselves from liability, unless they prove that they have observed all the
diligence of a good father of a family.

Moreover, in conjunction with Article 101 of the Revised Penal Code, which
provides that, “In cases of subdivisions 1, 2, and 3 of Article 12, the civil liability for
acts committed xxx by one over nine but under fifteen years of age, who has acted
without discernment, shall devolve upon those having such person under their
legal authority or control, unless it appears that there was no fault or negligence on
their part,” the liability of the parents for felonies committed by their minor
children is primary and is also subject to the defense of the exercise of the diligence
of a good father of a family. (Libi v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court, G.R. No.
70890, September 18, 1992)

The same case of Libi v. Hon. Intermediate Appellate Court provides:

19
The parents are and should be held primarily liable for the civil
liability arising from criminal offenses committed by their minor
children under their legal authority or control, or who live in their
company, unless it is proven that the former acted with the
diligence of a good father of a family to prevent such damages.
That primary liability is premised on the provisions of Article 101
of the Revised Penal Code with respect to damages ex delicto
caused by their children 9 years of age or under, or over 9 but
under 15 years of age who acted without discernment; and, with
regard to their children over 9 but under 15 years of age who
acted with discernment, or 15 years or over but under 21 years of
age, such primary liability shall be imposed pursuant to Article
2180 of the Civil Code.

It is therefore clear that liability of parents over their unemancipated child is


not only presumed upon the commission of a quasi-delict, but liability is also direct
and primary over the civil liability arising from crimes committed by their
unemancipated child.

The nature and extent of liability of teachers or the head of the school of arts
and trades is practically the same as that of the parents who are responsible for his
child when he is under his custody—direct and primary. The case of Amadora v.
Court of Appeals (G.R. No. L-4774, April 15, 1988) elucidated thus:

During all these occasions, it is obviously the teacher-in-charge


who must answer for his students' torts, in practically the same
way that the parents are responsible for the child when he is in
their custody. The teacher-in-charge is the one designated by the
dean, principal, or other administrative superior to exercise
supervision over the pupils in the specific classes or sections to
which they are assigned. It is not necessary that at the time of the
injury, the teacher be physically present and in a position to
prevent it.

Furthermore, the school, and not merely the teacher in charge, may be held
liable under the general principle of respondeat superior, since is the school is
resumed to have authority and control over its teachers. Still, the school may
exculpate itself from liability by proving that it exercised the diligence of a bonus
pater familias. (Amadora v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-4774, April 15, 1988)

(2) Other Vicarious Liability: Owners and Managers of an Establishment or


Enterprise, Employers

In case of an employer, the court made it clear in the case of Filcar vs.
Espinas that the employer is liable even though he himself is not the actual
tortfeasor, in this wise:

Although the employer is not the actual tortfeasor, the law makes
him vicariously liable on the basis of the civil law principle of
pater familias for failure to exercise due care and vigilance over
the acts of ones subordinates to prevent damage to another. (G.R.
No. 174156, June 20, 2012)

Thus, because of the doctrine of pater familias, his liability is direct or


immediate and is not conditioned upon prior recourse against the negligent

20
employee and a prior showing of insolvency of such employee. (Serra v. Mumar, G.R.
No. 193861, March 14, 2012)

Registered Owner Rule

In the discussion of vicarious liability of employers, there is much to be said


about the Registered Owner Rule. Under this principle, the operator on record of a
vehicle is primarily responsible to third persons for the deaths or injuries
consequent to its operation, regardless of whether the employee drove the
registered owners vehicle in connection with his employment. (Del Carmen v. Bacoy,
G.R. No. 173870, April 25, 2012)

As a general rule, liability of an employer over the tort committed by its


employee arises only when there is proof as to the existence of an employer-
employee relationship. Accordingly, the general rule is that if the employer shows to
the satisfaction of the court that in the selection and supervision of his employee he
has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family, the presumption is
overcome and he is relieved of liability. However, that he has exercised the care and
diligence of a good father of a family cannot be used as a defense when the employer
is the registered owner of the vehicle which figured in an accident. (Mendoza v.
Gomez, G.R. No. 160110, June 18, 2014)

In the case of Filcar v. Espinas, the registered owner of the vehicle which
figured in the accident cannot use the defense that there is no employer-employee
relationship between him and between the one who was actually driving the vehicle,
to wit:

As its core defense, Filcar contends that Article 2176, in relation


with Article 2180, of the Civil Code is inapplicable because it
presupposes the existence of an employer-employee relationship.
According to Filcar, it cannot be held liable under the subject
provisions because the driver of its vehicle at the time of the
accident, Floresca, is not its employee but that of its Corporate
Secretary, Atty. Flor.

We cannot agree. It is well settled that in case of motor


vehicle mishaps, the registered owner of the motor vehicle is
considered as the employer of the tortfeasor-driver, and is
made primarily liable for the tort committed by the latter
under Article 2176, in relation with Article 2180, of the Civil
Code.

xxx

In so far as third persons are concerned, the registered owner of


the motor vehicle is the employer of the negligent driver, and the
actual employer is considered merely as an agent of such owner.

Moreover, since employer-employee relationship is not material under this


rule, it is also not material whether the employee acted within the scope of its
employment. To a certain extent, the registered owner rule modified Article 2180 of
the Civil Code, to wit:

21
The motor vehicle registration law, to a certain extent, modified
Article 2180 of the Civil Code by making these defenses
unavailable to the registered owner of the motor vehicle. Thus, for
as long as Filcar is the registered owner of the car involved in the
vehicular accident, it could not escape primary liability for the
damages caused to Espinas. (Filcar v. Espinas, G.R. No. 174156,
June 20, 2012)

It is important to note, however, that the registered owner who himself is not
the employer has a recourse against both the actual employer and the driver under
the principle of unjust enrichment. (Orix Metro Leasing v. Mangalinao, G.R. No.
174089, January 25, 2012)

The rationale for the rule that a registered owner is directly liable for
damages caused by the operation of his motor vehicle is explained by the principle
behind motor vehicle registration, which has been discussed by the court in Erezo v.
Jepte, (102 Phil. 103, 108-109, 1957) and is still considered good law today:

The main aim of motor vehicle registration is to identify the


owner so that if any accident happens, or that any damage or
injury is caused by the vehicles on the public highways,
responsibility therefore can be fixed on a definite individual, the
registered owner. Instances are numerous where vehicle running
on public highways caused accidents or injuries to pedestrians or
other vehicles without positive identification of the owner or
drivers, or with very scant means of identification. It is to forestall
these circumstances, so inconvenient or prejudicial to the public,
that the motor vehicle registration is primarily ordained, in the
interest of the determination of persons responsible for damages
or injuries caused on public highways.

The law emphasizes once again that the presence of an employer-employee


relationship is immaterial. The law holds the registered owner as the one who is
directly and primarily liable for any accident, injury, or death caused by a vehicle
registered under his name.

The underlying reason therefore for the registered owner rule is one of
public policy. Motor vehicle registration is a matter of public knowledge. Thus, the
protection of innocent third persons is given undue importance that the law made it
easier for them to seek redress whenever aggrieved for it would be near impossible
to find out who the real owner of a vehicle is without going through the records of
registration. (Filcar v. Espinas, G.R. No. 174156, June 20, 2012)

WHEN DOCTRINE APPLIES

(1) Parental and Pseudo-Parental Vicarious Liability

Jurisprudence tells us that the presumption of liability of parents over their


unemancipated child arises upon the commission of the negligent act of the
unemancipated child. This presumption flows from the parental authority that the
parents have over their unemancipated child.

In the case of Tamargo v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 85044, June 3, 1992),
the principle of parental liability is described as a species of vicarious liability, to
wit:

22
This principle of parental liability is a species of what is frequently
designated as vicarious liability, or the doctrine of "imputed
negligence" under Anglo-American tort law, where a person is not
only liable for torts committed by himself, but also for torts
committed by others with whom he has a certain relationship and
for whom he is responsible. Thus, parental liability is made a
natural or logical consequence of the duties and responsibilities of
parents — their parental authority — which includes the
instructing, controlling and disciplining of the child.

Therefore, liability of the parents with regard to their minor child, as stated
in the aforementioned case, is stemming from the parental authority they have over
their unemancipated child. This then provides the following presumption:

The civil law assumes that when an unemancipated child living


with its parents commits a tortious acts, the parents were
negligent in the performance of their legal and natural duty
closely to supervise the child who is in their custody and control.

Otherwise stated, liability of the parents over their unemancipated child


arises because of the presumption of negligence of the parents over their
unemancipated child. This presumption rises when, at the time of the commission of
the act, the unemancipated child is under the physical custody and direct control of
the parents. This presumption can then be overturned under Article 2180 of the
Civil Code by proof that the parents had exercised all the diligence of a good father
of a family to prevent the damage. (Tamargo vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 85044,
June 3, 1992)

The case of Amadora v. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. L-4774, April 15, 1988)
made a pronouncement as to when the presumption of responsibility and liability
arises in the case of teachers or the head of the school of arts and trades over their
students, to wit:

As long as it can be shown that the student is in the school


premises in pursuance of a legitimate student objective, in the
exercise of a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of
a legitimate student right, and even in the enjoyment of a
legitimate student privilege, the responsibility of the school
authorities over the student continues. Indeed, even if the student
should be doing nothing more than relaxing in the campus in the
company of his classmates and friends and enjoying the ambience
and atmosphere of the school, he is still within the custody and
subject to the discipline of the school authorities under the
provisions of Article 2180.

Thus, teachers and head of the school of arts and trades are
presumed responsible and liable for the torts committed by their students if said
students are (1) under the discipline and authority of the school and its authorities
and are (2) exercising legitimate student rights. During such occasions, it is the
teacher-in-charge who has direct and primary responsibility over his students.

(2) Other Vicarious Liability: Owners and Managers of an Establishment or


Enterprise, Employers

23
Jurisprudence would tell us that the presumption of an employer’s liability
flows from the negligence of their employees. In cases where the employees were
indeed found to be negligent, the court imposed liability on the part of the
employers, saying that they are answerable to the negligent acts done by their
employees for their failure to exercise the diligence of a good father of a family.

Specifically, in Vallacar vs. Catubig, the court ruled on the presumption of


negligence on the part of the employer:

The presumption that employers are negligent under Article 2180 of


the Civil Code flows from the negligence of their employees. (G.R. No.
175512, May 30, 2011)

In Heirs of Reinoso vs. Court of Appeals:

Whenever an employee’s negligence causes damage or injury to


another, there instantly arises a presumption juris tantum that the
employer failed to exercise diligentissimi patris families in the
selection or supervision of his employee. (G.R. No. 116121, July 18,
2011)

Here, the failure of the employer to exercise the diligence of a good father of a
family is instantly presumed upon the commission of the negligent act by the
employee, following the doctrine of pater familias.

The law further makes it imperative for the employer to exercise the
diligence required of a good father of a family in choosing, hiring, and supervising its
employees. In the aforementioned case of Heirs of Reinoso v. Court of Appeals:

Thus, in the selection of prospective employees, employers are


required to examine them as to their qualification, experience and
service record. With respect to the supervision of employees,
employers must formulate standard operating procedures,
monitor their implementation, and impose disciplinary measures
for breaches thereof. These facts must be shown by concrete
proof, including documentary evidence.

The showing of concrete proof, including documentary evidence, to prove


the diligence of a good father of a family would exculpate the employer from
liability, following the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

In RCJ Buslines, Incorporated v. Standard Insurance Company (G.R. No.


193629, August 17, 2011), the court emphasized the effect of failure to rebut the
presumption of negligence in this manner:

When the employee causes damage due to his own negligence


while performing his own duties, there arises the juris tantum
presumption that the employer is negligent, rebuttable only by
proof of observance of the diligence of a good father of a family.
For failure to rebut such legal presumption of negligence in
the selection and supervision of employees, the employer is
likewise responsible for damages, the basis of the liability
being the relationship of pater familias or on the employers
own negligence.

24
It is therefore important to show proof of observance of the diligence of a
good father of a family in order for the employer to exculpate himself from the
consequences of the negligent act of his employee.

CHAPTER IV:
PHILIPPINE PRECEDENTS ON THE DOCTRINES AND FOREIGN
JURISDICTIONS

[1] ANGLO –AMERICAN LAW: DOCTRINE OF RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR APPLIES


In Anglo-American law, vicarious liability consists mainly of liability of the
employer for the tort conduct of the employee committed in the performance of the
latter’s assigned task. The applicable doctrine is respondeat superior. Under the said
doctrine, the liability is strictly imputed, that is, the employer is liable not because of
his act or omission but because of the act or omission of the employee. What is
material is not whether the employer exercised due care but the conduct of the
employee. Consequently under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the employer
cannot escape liability by claiming that he exercised due diligence in the selection or
supervision of the employee. [Aquino, Timoteo B., Torts and Damages, 2005, pg.644]
An employer is vicariously liable for the acts of an employee under the doctrine of
respondeat superior which translates as “let the person higher up answer.” This
doctrine applies to negligent torts, intentional torts, and strict liability actions. The
rationale most commonly used to justify this doctrine is that employer should
consider the expense of reimbursing those injured by their employees as part of the
cost of doing business. As a practical matter, keep in mind that the typically
employee is judgment-proof, whereas the employer is the proverbial “deep pocket.”
For the doctrine to be applicable the employer must be acting “within the scope and
furtherance of his employment” [Restatement [Second] of Agency Section 229]. An
employee will be considered to be doing this as long as he is intending to further
his employer’s business purpose. Even if the means he choose indirect or foolish or
if his intent is combination of serving his employer and meeting his personal needs.
He will be viewed as acting “within the scope and furtherance of his employment.”
Travel to and from work, however is generally not included as falling within the
scope of employment. [Edwards, Linda L., law for legal assistants (1999), 2nd Edition,
p. 358-359.]

[A] Recently, American Courts still apply Doctrine of Respondeat superior

CITY OF KINGSLAND V. GRANTHAM.


[Court of Appeals of Georgia Decision: A17A1083; September 06, 2017]

Destini Grantham brought this action against the City of Kingsland (the
“City”) and its police officer, Vincent Bryant, after she sustained injuries when a
patrol car driven by Officer Bryant collided with the car in which she was riding. The
City appeals from the denial of its motion for a partial judgment on the pleadings,
arguing that the trial court erred in concluding that Grantham's claims against the
City for negligent training, negligent supervision, and negligent entrustment were
not redundant to her claims against the City for respondeat superior.

Grantham alleges that, Destini Grantham was a passenger in a vehicle driven


by a non-party on I–95 in Camden County. At the same time, Officer Bryant was
“conducting radar speed detection on vehicles traveling on I–95.” As Grantham's
vehicle approached Officer Bryant's location on I–95, Officer Bryant abruptly pulled
out of the median and into the lane of travel occupied by Grantham's vehicle. As a
result, Grantham's vehicle struck Officer Bryant's police cruiser and then overturned.
Grantham sustained injuries as a result of the collision.
25
Grantham sued Officer Bryant and the City to recover for her injuries.
Grantham's complaint asserted claims for negligence and negligence per se under
various code sections, and contended that the City was vicariously liable for Officer
Bryant's acts because he was acting in the course and scope of his employment.
Grantham also asserted a claim against the City for negligent training, negligent
supervision, and negligent entrustment of Bryant.

The City filed a motion for partial judgment on the pleadings on Grantham's
claim for negligent training, negligent supervision, and negligent entrustment. In
that motion, the City argued that the claims for negligent training, negligent
supervision, and negligent entrustment should be dismissed as redundant because
they seek recovery that is duplicative of that sought under respondeat superior. In
her response, Grantham argued that these claims should not be dismissed because
the City's liability could differ from Officer Bryant's under Georgia's new
apportionment statute [OCGA Section 51–12–33]. The trial court entered an order
denying the City's motion for partial judgment on the pleadings.

The 2005 passage of Georgia's apportionment statute did not supersed the
Respondeat Superior Rule. In Fender (802 SE2d 346, 2017)], this Court considered
the issue of whether the 2005 passage of Georgia's apportionment statute
superseded the Respondeat Superior Rule. In concluding that it did not, this Court
ruled that claims based on respondeat superior and claims based upon negligent
hiring, supervision, and retention of an employee “are derivative of the underlying
tortious conduct of the employee. Thus, where, as here, the employer has admitted
respondeat superior liability and the plaintiff is not seeking punitive damages, the
claims for negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention are merely
duplicative of the respondeat superior claim.”

Moreover, the respondeat superior and negligent hiring, training, and/or


supervision claims cannot be simultaneously brought. In the instant case, the City
admitted that Officer Bryant was acting within the scope of his employment at the
time of the accident. Thus, a factual basis for respondeat superior has been admitted.
Further, Grantham has no valid claim for punitive damages since punitive damages
are not allowed against a governmental entity. As we are bound by this Court's
ruling in Fender, supra, that the Respondeat Superior Rule has not been nullified by
the 2005 passing of Georgia's apportionment statute, we reverse the trial court's
denial of the City's motion for a partial judgment on the pleadings.

[B] Respondeat superior and negligent hiring, training, and/or supervision


claims are exclusive

DALE SEDAM ET AL., V. 2JR PIZZA ENTERPRISES


[Supreme Court of Indiana: No. 39S05-1703-CT-17n; October 31, 2017]

The resolution of this case hinges on the interpretation of the precedential


effect of two opinions: Tindall and Broadstreet.

In Broadstreet, a businessman employed his nine-year-old son to deliver a


message on horseback. While doing so, the horse collided with a buggy, resulting in
injuries to its occupant. The occupant sued, alleging negligent hiring because the
businessman knew of his son's careless and dangerous riding, and liability for the
son's negligence under the doctrine of respondeat superior. [Broadstreet, 168
Ind. at 195-96, 80 N.E. at 145-46]. After a trial, the jury returned a general verdict
for the occupant. The businessman appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court

26
improperly instructed the jury to consider evidence of the son's careless and
reckless reputation for riding horses when determining whether the son was acting
within the course and scope of his employment. [Id. at 203-04, 80 N.E. at 148-49].
This Court found no error, indicating that the instruction to consider all the
evidence was limited to the “purpose for which it was introduced.” [Id. at 205, 80
N.E. at 149].

In Tindall, a tavern employee shot and killed a patron. The patron's estate
brought a negligence action against the employee, and a negligent hiring and
retention claim against the tavern. [Tindall, 162 Ind. App. at 525, 320 N.E.2d at
765]. Before trial, the tavern stipulated that at the time of the shooting the employee
was acting within the course and scope of his employment. The tavern also filed a
motion in limine seeking to exclude evidence of the employee's prior assaults on
patrons, which the estate intended to use to support its claim that the tavern was
negligent in hiring and retaining the employee. The trial court granted the tavern's
motion. The estate appealed, arguing that by granting the motion in limine the trial
court effectively eliminated its negligent hiring and retention claim, which it
contended was “separate and distinct from their action in respondeat superior.” The
Court of Appeals disagreed.

In its analysis, the court distinguished Broadstreet, and concurred with a


federal district court that the holding in Broadstreet was limited to “special
situations.” (discussing Lange v. B & P Motor Exp., Inc., 257 F. Supp. 319, 323 (N.D.
Ind. 1966) (special situations likely found when “ordinary respondeat superior
principles would fail [and] sound policy would support a cause of action” 3 )). The
Lange court recognized Indiana courts had not spoken on this issue but nevertheless
determined that, when the employer had stipulated to course and scope, it would be
“an undue extension of Broadstreet” to allow both claims to proceed because each
claim is derived from the negligence of the employee, making the negligent hiring
claim, “as a matter of law, wholly unnecessary to plaintiffs' right to recover” [Lange,
257 F. Supp. at 324].

Pizza Hut argues that Tindall is settled law and, absent a special
circumstance, an employer's admission to course and scope renders negligent
hiring-based claims duplicative and unnecessary. Moreover, Pizza Hut contends that
Broadstreet is not controlling because the Plaintiff in that case contested, rather
than conceded, respondeat superior liability. The Estate, on the other hand, argues
Broadstreet controls, which expressly permits both claims against an employer and
is more consistent with Indiana's Comparative Fault Act.

We agree with Pizza Hut and find Tindall controlling.

First, the current issue—whether both claims may be pursued when an


employer admits to course and scope—was not before the Court in Broadstreet. In
that case, the businessman did not admit that his son was acting within an
employment capacity at the time of the accident; rather, he argued he was not liable
for the boy's actions at all. Further, the businessman never challenged whether both
claims could be brought; instead his appeal focused on the jury instructions and
evidence of his son's reputation. Based on these distinctions, we decline to find
Broadstreet expressly permits both claims when an employer admits liability under
the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Second, starting with Tindall, there is a line of Indiana precedent spanning


nearly five decades holding that an employer's admission that an employee was
acting within the course and scope of his employment precludes negligent hiring
claims.4 This outcome recognizes that a respondeat superior claim necessarily
involves an act within the scope of employment, whereas negligent hiring claims
require an act outside the scope of employment. Under each claim, the plaintiff

27
seeks the same result—employer liability—and recovery is based on the same
negligent act—the employee's. Tindall, 162 Ind. App. at 530, 320 N.E.2d at 768
(“Proof of negligence by the employee on the particular occasion at issue is a
common element to the theories of respondeat superior and negligent hiring.”). To
allow both claims would serve only to prejudice the employer, confuse the jury, and
waste judicial resources when ultimately the result—that the employer is liable—is
the same and the employer has stipulated as much. Such an admission exposes an
employer to liability for any and all fault assessed to the employee's negligence, and
thus a negligent hiring claim becomes duplicative since a plaintiff may not recover
twice for the same damage. See INS Investigations Bureau, Inc. v. Lee, 784 N.E.2d
566, 577 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (“The law disfavors ․ double recovery for a single
wrong.”), trans. denied.

The Estate argues that precluding both claims contravenes Indiana's


Comparative Fault Act. We disagree. The Comparative Fault Act provides that the
jury must apportion fault to those “who caused or contributed to cause the alleged
injury[.]” Ind. Code § 34-51-2-8(b)(1) (2014). The rule expressed here and in Tindall
is consistent with this mandate because, as already stated, the negligent hiring and
respondeat superior claims are derived from the same negligent act of the
employee. Thus, at the point an employer stipulates to course and scope it assumes
indirect liability for the person “who caused or contributed to cause the alleged
injury.” If a jury were allowed to allocate fault under both theories, the employer
could be assessed fault in excess of the employee's negligence it already assumed in
full. Conversely, a plaintiff's fault remains unchanged whether an employee,
employer, or a combination of the two is responsible for the injury.

Third, this outcome is bolstered by Indiana's adoption of the Restatement


(Second) of Torts section 317. See Parr v. McDade, 161 Ind. App. 106, 117-118, 314
N.E.2d 768, 774-775 (1974). Section 317 provides that “[a] master is under a duty to
exercise reasonable care so to control his servant while acting outside the scope of
his employment[.]” Restatement (Second) of Torts § 317 (Am. Law Inst. 1965). This
rule is “applicable only when the servant is acting outside the scope of his
employment. If the servant is acting within the scope of his employment, the master
may be vicariously liable under the principles of the law of Agency.” Id. § 317 cmt. a.
Although the Restatement (Third) of Agency may find otherwise,5 Indiana has
developed a line of precedent according to Tindall and section 317 of the
Restatement (Second) of Torts, and we find no reason to upset reliance on this
point.

In sum, based on Tindall, substantial precedent has established that when an


employer admits that an employee was acting within the course and scope of his or
her employment, absent special circumstances, negligent hiring claims are
precluded.

[C] Defense available: “not in furtherance of employer’s interest”

SWAIN V. HABEREK, JR. ET AL.


[Superior Court of Connecticut, Judicial District of New London:
KNLCV126011937; June 02, 2016]

The plaintiff has pled in Count 2 that the Town is liable for damages due
Swain because Haberek was acting as an agent of the Town when he sent the
photographs.

The underlying rationale of the modern doctrine of respondeat superior, is


that ‘every man who prefers to manage his affairs though others, remains bound to

28
so manage them that third persons are not injured by any breach of legal duty on
the part of such others while they are engaged upon his business and within the
scope of their authority.’ But it must be the affairs of the principal, and not solely the
affairs of the agent, which are being furthered in order for the doctrine to apply.”
[Gutierrez v. Thorne, 13 Conn.App. 493, 499 (1988)].

In that case, the plaintiff claimed that the employer was liable for the
inappropriate sexual behavior of an employee. However, the court found that the
alleged conduct “had no connection to the defendant's business. Since there were no
facts before the court from which it could conclude that the employee was
furthering the defendant's interests, the defendant's non-liability under a
respondeat superior theory was properly determined as a matter of law.”

The same principle applies to this case. There is no evidence or claim that
Haberek, by engaging in the conduct he is accused of, was in any way furthering the
Town's interests or performed in the interests of the town as part of his duties as
First Selectman. Accordingly the Town is not liable under the principle of
respondeat superior.

[2] PHILIPPINE LAW: RELATIONSHIP OF PATER FAMILIAS GOVERNS CIVIL


LIABILITY

In the Philippines, vicarious liability is generally not governed by the


doctrine of respondeat superior. The employers or the parents are being made
liable not only because of the negligent or wrongful act of the person for whom they
are responsible but also because of their own negligence. Liability is imposed on the
employer because he failed to exercise due diligence in the selection and
supervision of his employee while parents are made liable because they failed to
exercise due diligence in the supervision of their child who lives in their company.
Nevertheless, the liability is still vicarious or imputed injury because there is no
direct link between their act or omission and the injury the employers or the
parents, no matter how negligent in supervising their employee or child, would not
be liable were it not for the act or omission of the said employee or child. The
operative act or omission is still the act or omission of the employee or the child and
the negligence or wrongful conduct is imputed to the person responsible for them.
[Aquino, Timoteo B., Torts and Damages, 2005, pg.644]

[A] Exception to the general rule: when respondent superior applies in the
Philippines:

The exceptional cases when the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior is applicable


include the liability of employers under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code. The
liability of the employer under the said statue is not determined by the exercise of
diligence in the selection and supervision and supervision of the employee. In other
words, he is being held liable for the negligence of another irrespective of his
exercise of due care.

There is also an opinion to the effect that respondeat superior is present with
respect to the liability of the partnership for the tort committed by the partner.
[Aquino, Timoteo B., Torts and Damages, 2005, pg.644]

[3] BASIS OF EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY IN CIVIL AND COMMON LAW- A


COMPARISON

29
Under the Philippine jurisdiction, as regards employer’s vicarious liability,
the basis of civil liability is not respondeat superior but the relationship of pater
familias. This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimate on his own
negligence and not on that of his servant. This is the notable peculiarity of the
Spanish law of negligence. It is of course, in striking contrast to the American
doctrine that, in relation to strangers, the negligence of the servant is conclusively
the negligence of the master. (Bahia vs. Litonjua & Leynes, 30 Phil. 624 )

JUAN BAHIA V. FAUSTA LITONJUA


[G.R. No. L-9734; March 31, 1915]
Ramon Ramirez was the owner and manager of a garage known as the
International Garage. His mother, the defendant Fausta Litonjua, sometime before
the accident from which this action springs, purchased an automobile and turned it
over to the garage to assist her son in the business in which he was engaged.
Ramirez rented the automobile so purchased and donated by his mother to the
defendant Mariano Leynes, together with a chauffeur and a machinist, to be used by
him for a short time between Balayan and Tuy, Province of Batangas, to carry
persons living in Balayan to and from the fiesta which was about to take place in Tuy.
According to the arrangement between them, Ramires was to furnish the
automobile, chauffeur, and machinist, and the defendant Leynes was to pay him.

While passing from Balayan to Tuy, the automobile, by reason of a defect in


the steering gear, refused to obey the direction of the driver in turning a corner in
the streets of Balayan, and, as a consequence, ran across the street and into the wall
of a house against which the daughter of plaintiff was leaning at the time. The font of
the machine struck the child in the center of the body and crushed her to death.

An action to recover damages from the defendants for the death of plaintiff's
daughter alleged to have been caused by the negligence of defendant's servant in
driving an automobile over the child and causing her death was filed.

The action was brought against Leynes (among others), under whose
direction and control the automobile was being operated at the time of the accident.
Defendant Leynes appealed that portion of the judgment requiring him to pay to
plaintiff P1,000.

The judgment against Leynes must be reversed and the complaint dismissed
as to him. While it may be said that, at the time of the accident, the chauffeur who
was driving the machine was a servant of Leynes, in as much as the profits derived
from the trips of the automobile belonged to him and the automobile was operated
under his direction, nevertheless, this fact is not conclusive in making him
responsible for the negligence of the chauffeur or for defects in the automobile itself.
Article 1903 of the Civil Code not only establishes liability in cases of negligence, but
also provides when that liability shall cease. It says:

The liability referred to in this article shall cease when the persons
mentioned therein prove that they employed all the diligence of a good father of a
family to avoid the damages.

From this article two things are apparent: (1) That when an injury is caused
by the negligence of a servant or employee there instantly arises a presumption of a
law that there was negligence on the part of the master or employer either in the
selection of the servant or employee, or in supervision over him after the selection,
or both; and (2) that presumption is juris tantum and not juris et de jure, and
consequently, may be rebutted. It follows necessarily that if the employees shows to
the satisfaction of the court that in selection and supervision he has exercised the

30
care and diligence of a good father of a family, the presumption is overcome and he
is relieved from liability.
This theory bases the responsibility of the master ultimately on his own
negligence and not on that of his servant. This is the notable peculiarly of the
Spanish law negligence. It is, of course, in striking contrast to the American doctrine
that, in relations with strangers, the negligence of the servant is conclusively the
negligence of the master.

In the case before us the death of the child caused by a defect in the steering
gear of the automobile immediately raised the presumption that Leynes was
negligent in selecting a defective automobile or in his failure to maintain it in good
condition after selection, and the burden of proof was on him to show that he had
exercised the care of a good father of a family. As to selection, the defendant has
clearly shown that he exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family.
He obtained the machine from a reputable garage and it was, so far as appeared, in
good condition. The workmen were likewise selected from a standard garage, were
duly licensed by the Government in their particular calling, and apparently
thoroughly competent. The machine had been used but a few hours when the
accident occurred and it is clear from the evidence that the defendant had no notice,
either actual or constructive, of the defective condition of the steering gear. From
the commencement of the use of the machine until the accident occurred sufficient
time had not elapsed to require an examination of the machine by the defendant as a
part of his duty of inspection and supervision. While it does not appear that the
defendant formulated rules and regulations for the guidance of the drivers and gave
them proper instructions, designed for the protection of the public and the
passengers, the evidence shows, as we have seen, that the death of the child was not
caused by a failure to promulgate rules and regulations. It was caused by a defect in
the machine as to which the defendant has shown himself free from responsibility.

[A] Reason for vicarious liability under the Common Law:

At common law a multitude of very ingenious reasons have been offered for
the vicarious liability of the master: he has a more or less fictitious “control” over
the behaviour of the servant; he has ”set the whole thing in motion”, and is,
therefore, responsible for what has happened; he has selected the servant and
trusted him, and so would suffer for his wrongs, rather than an innocent stranger
who has had no opportunity to protect himself; it is a great concession that any man
should be permitted to employ another at all, and there should be corresponding
responsibility as the price to be paid for it- or, more frankly and cynically, “in fact,
the reason for the employer’s liability is the damages are taken from the deep
pocket.” None of these reasons is so self-sufficient as to carry conviction, although
they are all in accord with the general common law notion that one who is in a
position to exercise some general control over the situation must exercise it or bear
the loss. All of them go beyond that notion in holding the defendant liable even
though he has done his best. Most courts have made little or no effort to explain the
result, and have taken refuge in rather empty phrases, such as “he who does a thing
through another does it himself”, or the endlessly repeated formula of respondeat
superior, which in itself means nothing more than “look to the man higher up.”
[Sanco, Cezar S., Torts and Damages (1994), Volume II, p. 550.]

[B] Modern justification for vicarious liability

What has emerged as the modern justification for vicarious liability is a rule
of policy, a deliberate allocation of a risk. The losses caused by the torts of
employees, which as a practical matter are sure to occur in the conduct of the
employee’s enterprise, are placed upon the enterprise itself, as a required cost of

31
doing business. They placed upon the employer because, [1] having engaged in an
enterprise which will, on the basis of all past experience, involve harm to others
through the tort of employees, and sought to profit by it, it is just that he, rather than
the innocent injured plaintiff, should bear them; [2] because he is better able to
absorb them and to distribute them, through prices, rates or liability insurance, to
the public and so to shift them to society, to the community at large; [3] because an
employer who is held strictly liable is under the greatest incentive to be careful in
the selection and supervision of his servants, and to take every precaution to see
that the enterprise is conducted safely. [Prosser, Law of Torts, 1964 Ed. Pp. 471-
472]

[C] Basis of liability: Equity

An analysis of the cases establishes finally, that the liability on the part of the
defendant is based upon the fact that he was in better situation than the injured
person to foresee and prevent the happening of the injurious occurrence. The
plaintiff having shown that the damage or injury was the consequence of the
wrongdoer’s conduct, the question to be resolved is which of the two parties must
bear the loss. On the once hand is the defendant, who has “entrusted his servant
with the power of acting in his business”; on the other hand is the victim, who is
shown to have been an “entirely innocent party; and on the these facts the
conclusion is that the victim the victim should not be “left to bear the loss”. The
principle is one which has universal application. The maxim of equity is: “where one
of the two innocent parties must suffer, he through whose agency the loss occurred
must bear it.”

If the evidence leads to the conclusion that the defendant ought to have
prevented the injury or the damage, a recovery may not be defeated by the proof
that the defendant delegated to another person the obligation of adopting the
preventive measure. On the other hand, if it is to be concluded from the evidence
that the defendant could not have foreseen and prevented the act of the wrongdoer,
a judgment in favour of the plaintiff is not sustainable. [53 Am Jur. 2d p. 440]

V. CONCLUSION:

Vicarious liability means acting for another or in substitute of another. When


a person is vicariously held liable, it refers to an imposition of responsibility for
failure of another, with whom a person has relationship as specified under Article
2180 of the Civil Code, Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, etc. (i.e., employer-
employee relationship, parental relationship, or that the one exercises substitute
parental authority over the other such as schools, teachers or administrators, or that
the other is an ordinary or special agent of the state). In all these cases however,
distinctions must be made as to the basis, extent, nature, and limitations of one’s
vicarious liability.

Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, with its origin from the Spanish law and
has its basis on concept of civil law, recognizes the Doctrine of Pater Familias, in
contrast with the Anglo-American common law concept of Respondeat Superior, in
imputation of vicarious liability to the authority [i.e. employer, state, parents, school,
teacher, or administrator].

All told, the negligence therefore of the authority or “master” is determined


not on the same act or omission of the person whom he is responsible. His
negligence consists in his separate act or failure to observe the due diligence
required under the circumstances [i.e., in selection and supervision of employee or
person under whom they are responsible, exercise of parental or substitute parental

32
authority [of both parents] in disciplining and rearing the child to prevent the
damage].

The negligence imputed to the authority being independent and deemed his
alone, he can be therefore held directly and primarily liable, unlike in Article 103 of
the Revised Penal Code, where the liability of employer is only subsidiary. On the
latter provision, the basis of the employer’s liability is the doctrine of Respondeat
Superior, the liability of the employer is deemed the same act or omission of the
employee—inseparably.

The consequence of applying the Doctrine of Pater Familias under Article


2180, and viewing the negligence of the authority as his— separately, is that he can
raise the defense specifically mentioned in the last paragraph of Article 2180 of the
Civil Code, that is: he “observed all the diligence of a good father of a family to
prevent the damage.” The same defense is not availalble under the Doctrine of
Respondeat Superior due to the inseparability of the authority’s liability and the
person under whom he is held responsible, in such a case the presumption is
already conclusive and no evidence or degree of supervision or selection can rebut.
Hence, under Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code, in determining the employer’s
liability, once the employee’s negligence has been proven beyond reasonable doubt,
it is already conclusively presumed that the employer is also negligent, for the
negligence of the person under whom he is held responsible is also deemed his,
subject to the determination of the employee’s insolvency and under conditions
required under the said provision.

Our law, generally, in determining vicarious liability has its influence from
the Spanish Civil Code, and is however not universal in application. In other
jurisdictions, different rule applies in determining vicarious liability. For instance, in
American Courts, they recognized the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior in imputing
vicarious liability on the employer. They also recognized that the two concepts
cannot stand together as a source of similar or the same claims. They however
clarify that there is a defense available to the authority in such a case, that is the act
has been committed “not in furtherance of employer’s interest.”

For one’s act or omission, damage caused. The other one guilty, the other —
injured. But if the former is to another, an employee, a minor child, a state’s ordinary
or special agent, or under another’s special parental authority the other person shall
not be held unconditionally liable for the former’s act or omission, for we apply the
Doctrine of Pater Familias, and not Respondeat Superior, hence the defense is
available to the authority, that he exercised diligence of the good father of a family
to prevent damage.

Therefore, if A negligent, B suffered Damage:

[1] if C is A’s employer, he can be made liable for A’s negligence, under the doctrine
of Pater familias and in such a case, the liability of the employer is direct and
primary; whereas if the act or omission is found to be punishable under the
Revised Penal Code, the liability of the employer is only subsidiary, but applying
the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior;

[2] if C is A’s parent, A, being a minor, he can be made liable for A’s negligence,
applying still the Doctrine of Pater Familias;

[3] if C has special parental authority over A (i.e., school, administrator or teacher),
he can be made liable for A’s negligence, still applying the Doctrine of Pater
Familias, subject to the determination of the other conditions for the liability to
arise.

33
[4] If C is the state, A, being its special or ordinary agent, it can be made liable for
A’s negligence, only if A is a special agent, but not if he is only an ordinary agent.
In case he is a special agent, the vicarious liability of the state is based on the
doctrine of Pater familias and not Respondeat Superior.

In all cases that C may be held liable under the doctrine of Pater familias,

[1] His liability shall be direct and principal, not merely solidary.

[2] He is held liable because of his separate negligence, independent of the person
under whom is held responsible (i.e., selection and supervision of the employee,
disciplining and rearing the minor to prevent the damage, or in general: in
observing the diligence of the good father of a family to prevent damage.

[3] C has possible defense, and that is to rebut the negligence imputed on him by
proving that he observe the diligence of the good father of a family to prevent
damage.

[4] Lastly, the prevailing rule and doctrine under the Philippine Torts Law is not
universal, hence, may not hold true in other country’s Jurisdiction (i.e., in
American Courts which recognizes the Doctrine of Respondeat Superior as the
basis of vicarious liability).

34