Sunteți pe pagina 1din 2

(G1) CARLOS SINGSON, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and CATHAY PACIFIC 2.

2. Whether the carrier was liable not only for actual damages but also for moral
AIRWAYS, INC. and exemplary damages, and attorney’s fees? YES
G.R. No. 119995. November 18, 1997
RULING:
1. The round-trip ticket issued by the carrier to the passenger was in itself a complete
DOCTRINE: written contract by and between the carrier and the passenger. It had all the elements
 Although the rule is that moral damages predicated upon a breach of contract of of a complete written contract, to wit:
carriage may only be recoverable in instances where the mishap results in the (a) the consent of the contracting parties manifested by the fact that the
death of a passenger, or where the carrier is guilty of fraud or bad faith, there passenger agreed to be transported by the carrier to and from Los Angeles via
are situations where the negligence of the carrier is so gross and reckless as San Francisco and Hong Kong back to the Philippines, and the carrier’s
to virtually amount to bad faith, in which case, the passenger likewise becomes acceptance to bring him to his destination and then back home;
entitled to recover moral damages. (b) cause or consideration, which was the fare paid by the passenger as stated
in his ticket; and,
 Attorney’s fees may be awarded when the defendant’s act or omission has (c) object, which was the transportation of the passenger from the place of
compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses to protect departure to the place of destination and back, which are also stated in his ticket.
his interest.
In fact, the contract of carriage in the instant case was already partially
FACTS: executed as the carrier complied with its obligation to transport the passenger to his
 Petitioner CARLOS SINGSON and his cousin CRESCENTINO TIONGSON bought destination, i.e., Los Angeles.
from respondent Cathay Pacific Airways two (2) open-dated, identically routed,
round trip plane tickets (Manila to LA and vice versa). Each ticket consisted of six (6) The loss of the coupon was attributable to the negligence of CATHAY’s
flight coupons, each would be detached at the start of each leg of the trip. agents and was the proximate cause of the non-confirmation of petitioner's
return flight.
 Singson failed to obtain a booking in LA for their trip to Manila; apparently, the
coupon corresponding to the 5th leg of the trip was missing and instead the 3rd was 2. Although the rule is that moral damages predicated upon a breach of contract of
still attached. It was not until few days later that the defendant finally was able to carriage may only be recoverable in instances where the mishap results in the death
arrange for his return to Manila. of a passenger, or where the carrier is guilty of fraud or bad faith, there are situations
where the negligence of the carrier is so gross and reckless as to virtually
 Singson commenced an action for damages based on breach of contract of amount to bad faith, in which case, the passenger likewise becomes entitled to
carriage against CATHAY before the Regional Trial Court. recover moral damages.

 CATHAY alleged that there was no contract of carriage yet existing such that These circumstances reflect the carrier’s utter lack of care and
CATHAY’s refusal to immediately book him could not be construed as breach of sensitivity to the needs of its passengers, clearly constitutive of gross negligence,
contract of carriage. recklessness and wanton disregard of the rights of the latter, acts evidently
indistinguishable or no different from fraud, malice and bad faith.
TC: rendered a decision in favor of petitioner herein holding that CATHAY was guilty
of gross negligence amounting to malice and bad faith for which it was adjudged to As the rule now stands, where in breaching the contract of carriage the
pay petitioner P20,000.00 for actual damages with interest at the legal rate of twelve defendant airline is shown to have acted fraudulently, with malice or in bad faith, the
percent (12%) per annum from 26 August 1988 when the complaint was filed until fully award of moral and exemplary damages, in addition to actual damages, is proper.
paid, P500,000.00 for moral damages, P400,000.00 for exemplary damages,
P100,000.00 for attorney’s fees, and, to pay the costs. However, the P500,000.00 moral damages and P400,000.00 exemplary
damages awarded by the trial court have to be reduced. The well-entrenched
CA: reversed the trial court’s finding that there was gross negligence amounting to bad principle is that the grant of moral damages depends upon the discretion of the
faith or fraud and, accordingly, modified its judgment by deleting the awards for court based on the circumstances of each case.
moral and exemplary damages, and the attorney’s fees as well.
This discretion is limited by the principle that the "amount awarded should
ISSUES: not be palpably and scandalously excessive" as to indicate that it was the result
1. Whether a breach of contract was committed by CATHAY when it failed to of prejudice or corruption on the part of the trial court.
confirm the booking of petitioner Singson? YES
Damages are not intended to enrich the complainant at the expense of the
defendant. They are awarded only to alleviate the moral suffering that the injured
party had undergone by reason of the defendant's culpable action. There is no
hard-and-fast rule in the determination of what would be a fair amount of moral
damages since each case must be governed by its own peculiar facts.

In the instant case, the injury suffered by petitioner is not so serious or


extensive as to warrant an award amounting to P900,000.00. The assessment of
P200,000.00 as moral damages and P50,000.00 as exemplary damages in his favor
is, in our view, reasonable and realistic.

On the issue of actual damages, we agree with the Court of Appeals that the
amount of P20,000.00 granted by the trial court to petitioner should not be disturbed.

With regard to attorney's fees, they may be awarded when the defendant's act
or omission has compelled the plaintiff to litigate with third persons or to incur expenses
to protect his interest. It was therefore erroneous for the Court of Appeals to delete the
award made by the trial court; consequently, petitioner should be awarded attorney's
fees and the amount of P25,000.00, instead of P100,000.00 earlier awarded, may be
considered rational, fair and reasonable.