Beit Midrash

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based on ruling 79107 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts

Appeal of an Incomplete Ruling


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

Iyar 29 5782
Case and Ruling Summary: The defendant (=def) worked for the plaintiff (=pl) as a building inspector and was relieved of his duties toward the end of the work of the contractor (=cont2). He was paid a large, although not full, amount of money. Pl sued def for 14,280 NIS, including the return of 3,500 NIS for paying for more than was done and for various damages that the delays and mistakes in def’s work caused. Among the major complaints: 1. Def did not make himself available to speak with pl; 2. Def never sat down with cont2. 3. He did not ask the right questions or get into details as he should have. 4. The contractor def suggested (=cont1) backed out at the last minute. The beit din (=bd1), not from Eretz Hemdah’s network but one that allows for appeals to other batei din, employed an expert, whose report indicates that everything def did appears to have been done for the benefit of the job and that no action or lack thereof seemed unreasonable. Although def should have met with cont2, no identifiable damage came from the lack of such a meeting. Bd1 also believes that cont2 lied about certain things to remove blame from himself for reneging on the estimate he gave. Therefore, bd1 rejected claims of damages. Regarding return of money def received, bd1 agreed that it should not be returned but the dayanim disagreed on the reason. It is unclear that def received more than he deserved, and so def may not need to return money either based on the advantage of being in possession or because each installment of payment is a decision of pl that def deserved the payment for what he already did.

Claims of Appeal: Pl complains that bd1 did not relate to several of his claims in their ruling. They include: 1. Def made a change in the engineer’s (=eng) plan without consulting eng, which eng wrote in a letter he should have done. 2. Def made several mistakes in the specifications sheet that he prepared. 3. Def is responsible for cont1’s reneging, since he was responsible for his hiring. 4. The questions were posed to the expert in a manner that demonstrates bias, and the expert did not respond in full. 5. The ruling does not relate to def’s lack of response to pl’s attempts to speak to him.

Decision on Appeal: The matters above are factual rather than halachic, except for the element of def’s responsibility for cont1. On the other matters, bd1 dealt with def’s availability to pl, and I do not have grounds to reject bd1’s decision that this lacking did not cause damage (note that def accepted being fired). Regarding the matters that were not raised in the ruling, I cannot comment on that which was not written. Therefore, I return those issues to bd1 so they can explain their positions, after which I can see whether their reasoning and whether anything I disagree with impacted on the overall decision. All other elements of bd1’s ruling stand.

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