Happy Condolence?

Posted by Admin | Posted in Civil Law, Torts and Damages, True Stories | Posted on 01-08-2010

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In 1991, Mr. and Mrs. A sent a telegram of condolence through RCPI to their cousin Mr. B for the death of Mrs. B’s mother.   The message expressing their deepest sympathy and concern, was addressed to Mr. and Mrs. B, it reads:

MR. & MRS. B

MAY GOD GIVE YOU COURAGE AND STRENGTH TO BEAR YOUR LOSS. OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO YOU AND MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY.

However, a negligent employee of RCPI who received the message, instead of placing it in a card appropriate for the occasion, typed it in a “Happy Birthday Card” and enclosed it in a “Christmasgram” envelope.   The employee’s flimsy and preposterous excuse was: they run out of social condolence cards. www.pinoylegal.com

This clumsy mistake by the RPPI employee was very disheartening to Mr. and Mrs. A.  They felt that RCPI was mocking the death of their beloved mother. The incident became a joke to many of their friends and acquaintances, even among their relatives. This has caused much embarrassment and distress to both the senders (Mr. and Mrs. B) and the addressees (Mr. and Mrs. A) of the telegram. Instead of sending words of comfort and concern, RCPI intensified the sorrow that they were feeling at that time. Mr. B even suffered hypertension and was hospitalized for three days.  Because of this, they sued RCPI for damages. www.pinoylegal.com

Supreme Court Lessons for RCPI:

1.  If you run out of social condolence card, use instead the ordinary form, just plain and simple, without decorations and embellishments, and return the excess payment for the desired but unavailable form.

2.  Your business of receiving and transmitting telegraphic messages is imbued with public interest. By offering your services, you undertake to transmit these messages accurately as ordered by the senders.  So “please” exercise diligence in doing your job! www.pinoylegal.com

3.  You (RCPI) cannot be excused for the negligence of your employees.  As a corporation, you can act only through your employees. Therefore, the acts of your employees in receiving and transmitting messages are also your acts.  And it would be unfair for the general public for you to just “wash hands” and deny liability. pinoylegal

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*Story taken from the actual case of RCPI vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 79578 March 13, 1991)