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Barredo vs Garcia and Almario

Torts and Damages – Civil Liability from Quasi Delicts vs Civil Liability from Crimes

At about 1:30am on May 3, 1936, Fontanilla’s taxi collided with a “kalesa” thereby killing the
16 year old Faustino Garcia. Faustino’s parents filed a criminal suit against Fontanilla and
reserved their right to file a separate civil suit. Fontanilla was eventually convicted. After the
criminal suit, Garcia filed a civil suit against Barredo – the owner of the taxi (employer of
Fontanilla). The suit was based on Article 1903 of the civil code (negligence of employers in
the selection of their employees). Barredo assailed the suit arguing that his liability is only
subsidiary and that the separate civil suit should have been filed against Fontanilla primarily
and not him.
ISSUE: Whether or not Barredo is just subsidiarily liable.
HELD: No. He is primarily liable under Article 1903 which is a separate civil action against
negligent employers. Garcia is well within his rights in suing Barredo. He reserved his right to
file a separate civil action and this is more expeditious because by the time of the SC
judgment Fontanilla is already serving his sentence and has no property. It was also proven
that Barredo is negligent in hiring his employees because it was shown that Fontanilla had
had multiple traffic infractions already before he hired him – something he failed to overcome
during hearing. Had Garcia not reserved his right to file a separate civil action, Barredo would
have only been subsidiarily liable. Further, Barredo is not being sued for damages arising
from a criminal act (his driver’s negligence) but rather for his own negligence in selecting his
employee (Article 1903).