TEODORO C. UMALI, petitioner, vs. HON. ANGEL BACANI, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch IX of the Court of First Instance of Pangasinan and FIDEL H. SAYNES, respondents.

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

A storm hit the Municipality of Alcala Pangasinan on May 14, 1972 which caused the banana plants standing near the transmission line of the Alcala Electric Plant (AEP) to be blown down and fall on the electric wire. This resulted to the cutting of the wire. The following morning, the barrio captain saw and asked a laborer of the AEP to fix it, but the latter told the barrio captain that he will call a lineman to fix it instead.

Thereafter, a 3 year-old boy named Manuel P. Saynes, whose house is just on the opposite side of the road, went to the place where the broken line wire was and got in contact with it. The boy was electrocuted and he subsequently died. It was only after the electrocution that the broken wire was fixed.

Whether there is negligence on the part of AEP;

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

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

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