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Shabbat Parashat Kedoshim 5779

P'ninat Mishpat: Expanding Work and Expanding Pay

(based on ruling 77015 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts)

Case: The plaintiff (=pl) served as a supervisor of the building of the defendants’ (=def) house, which included inspecting the work going on at the site and also coordinating and taking responsibility for the architect, engineer, contractor, and subcontractors. His fee was 26,000 shekels, and the construction was supposed to be finished by the end of 2015. During the work, pl recommended to def to expand the scope of development and argued (against the other professionals) that they should build supporting walls, at a cost of 200,000 shekels to accomplish this safely. Def accepted pl’s plan. The work dragged out until Oct. 2016. The contract stated that for work that pl will need to do after 2015, he will be paid 260 shekels per visit. Pl says that he has worked 120 hours on matters outside the contract, but is charging for only 50 hours at 260 shekel an hour (13,000 plus VAT). Def argues that it does not make sense that the extra work is more than half of his base salary, that pl did not warn them he would ask for more money, and that his silence implied that the 200,000 shekels for the supporting walls included his fee. They also claim that he is responsible for much of the delay in the project.   

 

Ruling: There is no logical basis for def’s claim that the quote for the expense of the wall included pay to pl, considering that def did not claim it was said, def did not ask, and the money paid did not pass through pl’s hands. The fact that pl did not ask for his fee before or as the work was being done is inconsequential, as one can ask for payment for that which he did even as an apparent free favor if it is the type of work that is standardly paid for (Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 264:4). Here it is even clearer since pl did the work in the midst of professional work for which he was paid (see ibid. 333:8), and provisions were originally agreed for an increase in his fee.

However, def’s claim that such a large increase in pl’s pay for services without warning does have validity. The way pl presents his claim, he is asking for double pay for some of his work, as follows. He was promised pay for work after the construction was supposed to be done because that is in effect new work. But a major part of the delay was due to building the supporting wall, so that if he will be paid for the wall, it should be reduced for what he ostensibly deserves for overtime by going into 2016. Furthermore, pl’s job included taking responsibility for the work of the other professionals.

From the deliberations it emerged that the price for pl’s work was based on an assumption of approximately 100 visits at 260 shekels including VAT per visit. Not including the visits due to unnecessary delays, for which pl had pledged responsibility, there were 120 visits. Therefore, pl deserves 20 * 260 shekels including VAT, or 5,200 shekels.

Other dayanim arrived at the same sum in different ways.
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Dedication

We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

 

Nir Rephael ben Rachel Bracha
Netanel Ilan ben Sheina Tzipora 

Netanel ben Sarah Zehava

Yehuda ben Chaya Esther

Meira bat Esther

Yair Menachem ben Yehudit Chana

Rivka Reena bat Gruna Natna

David Chaim ben Rassa

Lillian bat Fortune

Yafa bat Rachel Yente

Eliezer Yosef ben Chana Liba

Ro'i Moshe Elchanan ben Gina Devra

 

Together with all cholei Yisrael

 

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

those who fell in wars

for our homeland

Eretz Hemdah's beloved friends

and Members of

Eretz Hemdah's Amutah

Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar   10

Rav Reuven Aberman z"l

Tishrei 9 5776


Mr. Shmuel Shemesh  z"l
Sivan 17 5774

R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat R’ Moshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10   5774


Rav Asher Wasserteil z"l

Kislev 9 5769

R'  Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


R'  Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha

and

Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23 5777

 

Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton)

Polin z"l

Tammuz 19, 5778

 

Hemdat Yamim
is endowed by Les & Ethel Sutker
of Chicago, Illinois
in loving memory of
Max and Mary Sutker
and
Louis and Lillian Klein, z”l

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