(Question XX, Civil Law, 2018 Bar Exam)
Simeon was returning to Manila after spending a weekend with his parents in Sariaya, Quezon. He boarded a bus operated by the Sabbit Bus Line (SBL) on August 30, 2013. In the middle of the journey, the bus collided with a truck coming from the opposite direction, which was overtaking the vehicle in front of the truck. Though the driver of the SBL bus tried to avoid the truck, a mishap occurred as the truck hit the left side of the bus. As a result of the accident, Simeon suffered a fractured leg and was unable to report for work for one week. He sued SBL for actual and moral damages. SBL raised the defense that it was the driver of the truck who was at fault, and that it exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of its driver.
(a) Is SBL liable for actual damages? Moral damages? (2.5%)
(b) Will SBL be liable to pay interest if it is required to pay damages, and delays in the payment of the judgment award? What is the rate of interest, and from when should the interest start running? (2.5%)
(a) Yes. Answer
Under the Civil Code and jurisprudence, in an action for breach of contract of carriage, actual damages are recoverable for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly proved. In addition, moral damages are recoverable if (a) death of a passenger results; or (b) the carrier was guilty of fraud and bad faith even if death does not result. On the other hand, if the action is for quasi-delict, actual damages may be recovered for pecuniary loss duly proved and moral damages may be recovered for quasi-delict causing physical injuries. Rule
In the case at bar, the action taken by Simeon is not specified. If he instituted an action for breach of contract of carriage, he may only be able to recover actual damages since the requirements for moral damages are not met. However, if he instituted an action for quasi-delict, he may be able to recover both actual and moral damages Apply
Thus, depending on which action is taken, SBL may be liable for actual damages only or both actual and moral damages. Conclusion
(b) Yes. Under jurisprudence, when the judgment of the court awarding a sum of money becomes final and executory, the rate of legal interest shall be 6% per annum from such finality until its satisfaction.
In the case at bar, if SBL is adjudged to be liable to pay damages, it may be liable to pay a 6% per annum interest for delays in the payment of the judgment award. The interest rate shall run from the finality until the satisfaction of the judgment.
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
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