Anda di halaman 1dari 3

8/29/2017 G.R. No.

156037
TodayisTuesday,August29,2017

Custom Search

RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

FIRSTDIVISION

G.R.No.156037May28,2007

MERCURYDRUGCORPORATION,Petitioner,
vs.

SEBASTIANM.BAKING,Respondent.

DECISION

SANDOVALGUTIERREZ,J.:

ForourresolutionistheinstantPetitionforReviewonCertiorari1assailingtheDecision2datedMay30,2002and
Resolution dated November 5, 2002 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 57435, entitled "Sebastian M.
Baking,plaintiffappellee,versusMercuryDrugCo.Inc.,defendantappellant."

Thefactsare:

OnNovember25,1993,SebastianM.Baking,respondent,wenttotheclinicofDr.CesarSyforamedicalcheckup.
Onthefollowingday,afterundergoinganECG,blood,andhematologyexaminationsandurinalysis,Dr.Syfound
thatrespondentsbloodsugarandtriglyceridewereabovenormallevels.Dr.Sythengaverespondenttwomedical
prescriptionsDiamicronforhisbloodsugarandBenalizetabletsforhistriglyceride.

Respondent then proceeded to petitioner Mercury Drug Corporation (Alabang Branch) to buy the prescribed
medicines. However, the saleslady misread the prescription for Diamicron as a prescription for Dormicum. Thus,
whatwassoldtorespondentwasDormicum,apotentsleepingtablet.

Unaware that what was given to him was the wrong medicine, respondent took one pill of Dormicum on three
consecutivedaysNovember6,1993at9:00p.m.,November7at6:00a.m.,andNovember8at7:30a.m.

OnNovember8oronthethirddayhetookthemedicine,respondentfiguredinavehicularaccident.Thecarhewas
driving collided with the car of one Josie Peralta. Respondent fell asleep while driving. He could not remember
anythingaboutthecollisionnorfeltitsimpact.

Suspectingthatthetablethetookmayhaveabearingonhisphysicalandmentalstateatthetimeofthecollision,
respondentreturnedtoDr.Sysclinic.Uponbeingshownthemedicine,Dr.Sywasshockedtofindthatwhatwas
soldtorespondentwasDormicum,insteadoftheprescribedDiamicron.

Thus,onApril14,1994,respondentfiledwiththeRegionalTrialCourt(RTC),Branch80ofQuezonCityacomplaint
fordamagesagainstpetitioner,docketedasCivilCaseNo.Q9420193.

Afterhearing,thetrialcourtrendereditsDecisiondatedMarch18,1997infavorofrespondent,thus:

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,bypreponderanceofevidence,theCourtherebyrendersjudgmentinfavorof
theplaintiffandagainstthedefendantorderingthelattertopaymitigateddamagesasfollows:

1.250,000.00asmoraldamages

2.20,000.00asattorneysfeesandlitigationexpenses

3.plus%ofthecostofthesuit.

SOORDERED.

On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in its Decision, affirmed in toto the RTC judgment. Petitioner filed a motion for
reconsiderationbutitwasdeniedinaResolutiondatedNovember5,2002.

Hence,thispetition.

PetitionercontendsthattheDecisionoftheCourtofAppealsisnotinaccordwithlaworprevailingjurisprudence.

Respondent,ontheotherhand,maintainsthatthepetitionlacksmeritand,therefore,shouldbedenied.

Theissuesforourresolutionare:

1. Whether petitioner was negligent, and if so, whether such negligence was the proximate cause of
respondentsaccidentand

2.Whethertheawardofmoraldamages,attorneysfees,litigationexpenses,andcostofthesuitisjustified.

Article2176oftheNewCivilCodeprovides:

Art.2176.Whoeverbyactoromissioncausesdamagetoanother,therebeingfaultornegligence,isobligedtopay
forthedamagedone.Suchfaultornegligence,ifthereisnopreexistingcontractualrelationbetweentheparties,is
calledaquasidelictandisgovernedbytheprovisionsofthisChapter.

Tosustainaclaimbasedontheaboveprovision,thefollowingrequisitesmustconcur:(a)damagesufferedbythe
plaintiff (b) fault or negligence of the defendant and, (c) connection of cause and effect between the fault or
negligenceofthedefendantandthedamageincurredbytheplaintiff.3

Thereisnodisputethatrespondentsuffereddamages.

It is generally recognized that the drugstore business is imbued with public interest. The health and safety of the
peoplewillbeputintojeopardyifdrugstoreemployeeswillnotexercisethehighestdegreeofcareanddiligencein
selling medicines. Inasmuch as the matter of negligence is a question of fact, we defer to the findings of the trial
courtaffirmedbytheCourtofAppeals.

Obviously,petitionersemployeewasgrosslynegligentinsellingtorespondentDormicum,insteadoftheprescribed
Diamicron. Considering that a fatal mistake could be a matter of life and death for a buying patient, the said
employeeshouldhavebeenverycautiousindispensingmedicines.Sheshouldhaveverifiedwhetherthemedicine
she gave respondent was indeed the one prescribed by his physician. The care required must be commensurate
with the danger involved, and the skill employed must correspond with the superior knowledge of the business
whichthelawdemands.4 1awphi1.nt

Petitionercontendsthattheproximatecauseoftheaccidentwasrespondentsnegligenceindrivinghiscar.

Wedisagree.

Proximatecauseisdefinedasanycausethatproducesinjuryinanaturalandcontinuoussequence,unbrokenby
any efficient intervening cause, such that the result would not have occurred otherwise. Proximate cause is
determined from the facts of each case, upon a combined consideration of logic, common sense, policy, and
precedent.5

Here, the vehicular accident could not have occurred had petitioners employee been careful in reading Dr. Sys
prescription. Without the potent effects of Dormicum, a sleeping tablet, it was unlikely that respondent would fall
asleepwhiledrivinghiscar,resultinginacollision.

ComplementingArticle2176isArticle2180ofthesameCodewhichstates:

ART.2180.TheobligationimposedbyArticle2176isdemandablenotonlyforonesownactsoromissions,butalso
forthoseofpersonsforwhomoneisresponsible.

xxx

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2007/may2007/gr_156037_2007.html 1/3
8/29/2017 G.R. No. 156037
Theownersandmanagersofanestablishmentorenterprisearelikewiseresponsiblefordamagescausedbytheir
employeesintheserviceofthebranchesinwhichthelatterareemployedorontheoccasionoftheirfunctions.

Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and household helpers acting within the
scopeoftheirassignedtasks,eventhoughtheformerarenotengagedinanybusinessorindustry.

xxx

Theresponsibilitytreatedofinthisarticleshallceasewhenthepersonshereinmentionedprovethattheyobserved
thediligenceofagoodfatherofafamilytopreventdamage.

Itisthusclearthattheemployerofanegligentemployeeisliableforthedamagescausedbythelatter.Whenan
injury is caused by the negligence of an employee, there instantly arises a presumption of the law that there has
beennegligenceonthepartoftheemployer,eitherintheselectionofhisemployeeorinthesupervisionoverhim,
after such selection. The presumption, however, may be rebutted by a clear showing on the part of the employer
that he has exercised the care and diligence of a good father of a family in the selection and supervision of his
employee.6Here,petitioner'sfailuretoprovethatitexercisedtheduediligenceofagoodfatherofafamilyinthe
selectionandsupervisionofitsemployeewillmakeitsolidarilyliablefordamagescausedbythelatter.

As regards the award of moral damages, we hold the same to be in order. Moral damages may be awarded
wheneverthedefendantswrongfulactoromissionistheproximatecauseoftheplaintiffsphysicalsuffering,mental
anguish, fright, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and
similarinjuryinthecasesspecifiedoranalogoustothoseprovidedinArticle2219oftheCivilCode.7

Respondenthasadequatelyestablishedthefactualbasisfortheawardofmoraldamageswhenhetestifiedthathe
sufferedmentalanguishandanxietyasaresultoftheaccidentcausedbythenegligenceofpetitionersemployee.

Thereisnohardandfastruleindeterminingwhatwouldbeafairandreasonableamountofmoraldamages,since
each case must be governed by its own peculiar facts. However, it must be commensurate to the loss or injury
suffered.8Takingintoconsiderationtheattendingcircumstanceshere,weareconvincedthattheamountawarded
bythetrialcourtisexorbitant.Thus,wereducetheamountofmoraldamagesfrom250,000.00to50,000.00only.

In addition, we also deem it necessary to award exemplary damages. Article 2229 allows the grant of exemplary
damages by way of example or correction for the public good. As mentioned earlier, the drugstore business is
affectedwithpublicinterest.Petitionershouldhaveexertedutmostdiligenceintheselectionandsupervisionofits
employees. On the part of the employee concerned, she should have been extremely cautious in dispensing
pharmaceutical products. Due to the sensitive nature of its business, petitioner must at all times maintain a high
levelofmeticulousness.Therefore,anawardofexemplarydamagesintheamountof25,000.00isinorder. 1awphi1.nt

Onthematterofattorneysfeesandexpensesoflitigation,itissettledthatthereasonsorgroundsfortheaward
thereofmustbesetforthinthedecisionofthecourt.9Sincethetrialcourtsdecisiondidnotgivethebasisofthe
award,thesamemustbedeleted.InVibramManufacturingCorporationv.ManilaElectricCompany,10weheld:

Likewise,theawardforattorneysfeesandlitigationexpensesshouldbedeleted.Wellenshrinedisthat"anaward
for attorneys fees must be stated in the text of the courts decision and not in the dispositive portion only"
(Consolidated Bank and Trust Corporation (Solidbank) v. Court of Appeals, 246 SCRA 193 [1995] and Keng Hua
PaperProducts,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,286SCRA257[1998]).Thisisalsotruewiththelitigationexpenseswhere
thebodyofthedecisiondiscussednothingforitsbasis.

WHEREFORE,weDENYthepetition.ThechallengedDecisionandResolutionoftheCourtofAppealsinCAG.R.
CVNo.57435areAFFIRMEDwithmodificationinthesensethat(a)theawardofmoraldamagestorespondentis
reduced from 250,000.00 to 50,000.00 (b) petitioner is likewise ordered to pay said respondent exemplary
damagesintheamountof25,000.00and(c)theawardofattorneysfeesandlitigationexpensesisdeleted.

Costsagainstpetitioner.

SOORDERED.

ANGELINASANDOVALGUTIERREZ
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice
Chairperson

(onleave)

RENATOC.CORONA ADOLFOS.AZCUNA
AssociateJustice AsscociateJustice

CANCIOC.GARCIA
AssociateJustice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 13 of the Constitution, it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above
Decision were reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Courts
Division.

REYNATOS.PUNO
ChiefJustice

Footnotes
1FiledunderRule45,1997RulesofCivilProcedure,asamended.

2 Penned by Associate Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr. and concurred in by Associate Justice Conrado M.
Vasquez,Jr.andAssociateJusticeMarioL.GuarinaIII.
3FGUInsuranceCorporationv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.118889,March23,1998,287SCRA718,citing
Andamov.IntermediateAppellateCourt,191SCRA195(1990).

4UnitedStatesv.Pineda,37Phil456(1918).

5 Quezon City Government v. Dacara, G.R. No. 150304, June 15, 2005, 460 SCRA 343, citing Raynera v.
Hiceta,306SCRA102,108(1999).
6BaliwagTransit,Inc.v.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.116624,September20,1996,262SCRA230,234.

7Art.2219.Moraldamagesmayberecoveredinthefollowingandanalogouscases:

(1)Acriminaloffenseresultinginphysicalinjuries

(2)Quasidelictscausingphysicalinjuries

(3)Seduction,abduction,rape,orotherlasciviousacts

(4)Adulteryorconcubinage

(5)Illegalorarbitrarydetentionorarrest

(6)Illegalsearch

(7)Libel,slanderoranyotherformofdefamation

(8)Maliciousprosecution

(9)Actsmentionedinarticle309

(10)Actsandactionsreferredtoinarticles21,26,27,28,29,30,32,34,and35.

xxx

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2007/may2007/gr_156037_2007.html 2/3
8/29/2017 G.R. No. 156037
8 Samson, Jr. v. Bank of the Philippine Islands, G.R. No. 150487, July 10, 2003, 405 SCRA 607 (citations
omitted).

9 Cagungun v. Planters Development Bank, G.R. No. 158674, October 17, 2005, 473 SCRA 259, citing
Ciprianov.CourtofAppeals,263SCRA711(1996).

10G.R.No.149052,August9,2005,466SCRA178.


TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri2007/may2007/gr_156037_2007.html 3/3