Republic of the Philippines
G.R. No. L-60859 December 27, 1982
GLOBE-MACKAY CABLE & RADIO CORPORATION and ERNESTO Q. TORREJOS petitioners,
GEORGE G. BARRIOS and OLGA THERESA CRUZ- BARRIOS, respondents.
Cesar A. Abigarria for petitioners.
Cruz, Durian, Agabin, Atienza & Alday Law Offices for private respondent.
R E S O L U T I O N
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J .:
Ordinarily, the Petition for Review in this case would not merit being given due course because a close scrutiny of its allegations, the Comment of respondents thereon, and the Reply to said Comment shows that the issue of negligence involved is basically factual. However, we resolved to give partial due course in so far as the award of damages is concerned.
We agree that petitioner cable company should be faulted for having failed to deliver to respondent-spouses, both physicians, a cablegram from Mercy Hospital, Buffalo, New York, admitting respondent-wife for a rotating internship in said hospital, as a consequence of which, she was unable to signify her acceptance and the position was given to someone else. We agree with the finding of both the Trial Court and the Appellate Court that petitioner was grossly negligent in having admittedly failed to deliver the cablegram, particularly considering that respondents had received another telegram, Identically addressed, delivered to them by Eastern Extension, another cable company. We also agree with the finding that such failure caused respondents financial difficulties in New York, due to loss of earnings for approximately six months, serious anxiety and sleepless nights, for which petitioner should be held liable, and which should be corrected for the public good. A telegraph company is a public service corporation owing guties to the general public and is liable to any member of the public to whom it owes a duty for damages proximately flowing from a violation of that duty (Western U. Tel. Co. vs. Ramsey, 88 SW 2d 675; Western Union Tel. Co. vs Caldwell, 102 SW 840, 74 Am. Jur., p. 444).
We find, however the award of damages made by the Trial Court and affirmed by the Court of Appeals to be excessive. The damages granted were as follows:
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1. An amount in Philippine currency equivalent to 5,417 US dollars computed at the prevailing exchange rate on July 31, 1973, the date when the complaint in the instant case was filed, as actual damages;
2. The amount of P50,000.00 as moral damages;
3. The amount of P 50.000.00 as exemplary damages; and
4. The amount of P10,000.00 for and as attorney's fees.
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Taking into account the facts and circumstances, that petitioner is a quasi-public corporation affected with public interest (Flynn vs. Western U. Teleg. Co. 225 NW 242; Western U. Teleg. Co. vs. Cowin, 20 F 2d 103, 74 Am. Jur. 2d p. 301), that respondents would have had to incur living and sundry expenses, thereby reducing the net earnings which they would have received (see Villa Rey Transit, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 31 SCRA 551 ), and that respondent wife succeeded in securing another better-paying job approximately six months afterwards, the judgment should be modified by reducing the amounts granted.
ACCORDINGLY, the Decision appealed from is hereby modified by reducing the award of: a) actual damages, to the equivalent of $ 2,703.00 n Philippine currency at the prevailing exchange rate as of July 31, 1973; b) moral damages, to P5,000.00; c) exemplary damages, to P5,000.00; and d) attorney's fees, to P8,000.00. In all other respects, the judgment is affirmed.
Teehankee (Chairman), Plana, Vasquez, Relova and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
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