by Angelica Abon

DAVID TAYLOR v. MANILA ELECTRIC RAILROAD, GR No. 4977, 1910-03-22

Facts:

The plaintiff, David Taylor, was at the  time when he received the  injuries complained of,  15 years of age, the son of a mechanical engineer, more mature  than the average boy of his age,  and  having considerable aptitude  and training in... mechanics.

On the 30th of September,  1905,  plaintiff, with a  boy named Manuel Claparols, about  12  years of age, crossed the footbridge to the Isla del Provisor, for the purpose of visiting one Murphy, an employee of the defendant, who had promised to make them... a cylinder for a miniature engine. Finding on inquiry that Mr. Murphy was not in his quarters, the  boys, impelled  apparently by youthful curiosity and  perhaps  by the unusual interest which both seem to have taken in machinery, spent  some time in... wandering about the company's  premises.

Here they... found some twenty or thirty brass fulminating caps scattered  on the ground.

They then opened one of the caps with a knife, and finding  that it  was filled with a  yellowish substance they got  matches, and  David ... held the cap  while Manuel applied a lighted match to the contents.

The  caps when found appeared to the boys who picked them up to have been lying there for a considerable time, and ... from the  place where they were  found would seem to have  been  discarded as  defective or worthless  and fit only to be thrown upon the rubbish heap.

Issues:

the facts proven at the trial do not establish the liability of the defendant company under the provisions of these articles,

Ruling:

the plaintiff in an action such as that under consideration, in  order to establish his  right to a recovery, must establish by competent... evidence:

(1)  Damages to the plaintiff.

(2)  Negligence by act or omission of which  defendant personally, or some  person for whose acts it must respond, was guilty.

(3)  The connection of cause and effect between the negligence and the damage.

It is clear that the accident could not have happened had not  the fulminating caps  been  left  exposed at the point where  they were  found, or if their owner had exercised due care in keeping  them in an appropriate place; but it is... equally  clear that plaintiff would  not have been  injured had  he not, for his own pleasure and convenience,  entered upon defendant's premises,  and strolled  around  thereon without the express permission of  the defendant, and... had he not picked up and carried away the property of the defendant which  he found on its  premises, and had he not thereafter deliberately cut open one of the caps and applied a match to its contents.

But counsel for plaintiff contends that because of plaintiff's youth  and inexperience,  his  entry  upon  defendant company's premises, and the intervention of his  action between the negligent act of defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its... premises and the accident which resulted in his injury should not be held to  have contributed in any wise  to the  accident,  which should be  deemed  to be the direct result of defendant's negligence in leaving the caps exposed at the place where... they were found by the plaintiff, and this latter the proximate cause of the accident which occasioned the injuries sustained by him.

the great weight of authority holds the owner of the premises liable.

we are of opinion that under all the  circumstances of this case the negligence of the defendant in leaving the caps exposed on its premises was  not the proximate cause of the injury received by the... plaintiff, which  therefore was not, properly speaking, "attributable to the negligence of the defendant," and, on the other hand, we are satisfied that plaintiff's action in cutting open the detonating cap and putting a match to its contents was  the proximate cause... of the explosion and of the resultant  injuries inflicted upon the plaintiff, and  that the defendant, therefore, is not civilly responsible for the injuries thus incurred.

And while there does not  appear to be anything in the Civil  Code  which expressly lays  down the law  touching contributory negligence in this jurisdiction, nevertheless, the interpretation placed upon its provisions by the supreme court of Spain,... and  by this court  in the case of Rakes vs. Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Co.  (7  Phil. Rep., 359), clearly deny  to the plaintiff in  the case at bar the right to recover damages from the defendant, in whole or in part, for the injuries... sustained by him.

the immediate cause  of the explosion, the accident which resulted  in  plaintiff's injury, was his  own  act  in putting a match to the contents of the cap, and that haying

"contributed to  the  principal occurrence, as one  of  its determining  factors,  he  can  not recover."

Principles:

implied invitation

But is this doctrine really applicable here?

"In the case of young children, and other persons not fully sui juris, an  implied  license might sometimes  arise when it would not on  behalf  of  others.  Thus leaving a tempting thing for children to play with exposed,... where they would  be  likely to gather for that  purpose, may be equivalent to an invitation to them to make use of  it; and, perhaps, if one were to throw away upon his premises, near the common way,  things tempting to children, the same implication... should arise.