Civil Law

RUKS KONSULT AND CONSTRUCTION v. ADWORLD SIGN AND ADVERTISING CORPORATION AND TRANSWORLD MEDIA ADS, INC. G.R. No. 204866 January 21, 2015 Article 2194 of the Civil Code, Damages, Negligence, Joint Tortfeasors

FACTS:

Adworld sent Transworld and Comark a letter demanding payment for the repairs of its billboard structure located at EDSA Tulay, Guadalupe which was misaligned and its foundation impaired when the adjacent billboard structure owned by Transworld and used by Comark collapsed and crashed against it.

Transworld in its reply, admitted the damage caused by its billboard structure on Adworld’s billboard, but refused and failed to pay the amounts demanded by Adworld.

Adworld filed a complaint for damages for the materials, labor, and indemnity for loss of income.

Comark denied liability for the damages.

On the other hand, Transworld averred that the collapse of its billboard structure was due to extraordinarily strong winds that occurred instantly and unexpectedly. Transworld filed a Third-Party Complaint against Ruks, the company which built the collapsed billboard structure, alleging that the structure constructed by Ruks had a weak and poor foundation, thus, prone to collapse, and as such, Ruks should ultimately be held liable for the damages caused to Adworld’s billboard structure.

The RTC ruled in favor of Adworld, and declared Transworld and Ruks jointly and severally liable to Adworld.

Aggrieved, both Transworld and Ruks appealed to the CA. The CA dismissed Transworld’s appeal for its failure to file an appellant’s brief on time.

The CA denied Ruks’s appeal and affirmed the ruling of the RTC. It adhered to the RTC’s finding of negligence on the part of Transworld and Ruks which brought about the damage to Adworld’s billboard. The subsequent MR was also denied.

Hence, this petition.

 

ISSUE:

Whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the ruling of the RTC declaring Ruks jointly and severally liable with Transworld for damages sustained by Adworld.

 

RULING:

The petition is without merit.

Jurisprudence defines negligence as the omission to do something which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or the doing of something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. It is the failure to observe for the protection of the interest of another person that degree of care, precaution, and vigilance which the circumstances justly demand, whereby such other person suffers injury.

As joint tortfeasors, therefore, they are solidarily liable to Adworld. Verily, “[j]oint tortfeasors are those who command, instigate, promote, encourage, advise, countenance, cooperate in, aid or abet the commission of a tort, or approve of it after it is done, if done for their benefit. They are also referred to as those who act together in committing wrong or whose acts, if independent of each other, unite in causing a single injury. Under Article 2194 of the Civil Code, joint tortfeasors are solidarily liable for the resulting damage. In other words, joint tortfeasors are each liable as principals, to the same extent and in the same manner as if they had performed the wrongful act themselves.”

The Court’s pronouncement in People v. Velasco is instructive on this matter, to wit:

Where several causes producing an injury are concurrent and each is an efficient cause without which the injury would not have happened, the injury may be attributed to all or any of the causes and recovery may be had against any or all of the responsible persons although under the circumstances of the case, it may appear that one of them was more culpable, and that the duty owed by them to the injured person was not same. No actor’s negligence ceases to be a proximate cause merely because it does not exceed the negligence of other actors. Each wrongdoer is responsible for the entire result and is liable as though his acts were the sole cause of the injury.

There is no contribution between joint [tortfeasors] whose liability is solidary since both of them are liable for the total damage. Where the concurrent or successive negligent acts or omissions of two or more persons, although acting independently, are in combination the direct and proximate cause of a single injury to a third person, it is impossible to determine in what proportion each contributed to the injury and either of them is responsible for the whole injury. x x x.

In conclusion, the CA correctly affirmed the ruling of the RTC declaring Ruks jointly and severally liable with Transworld for damages sustained by Adworld.

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