Hebrew | Francais


> > Archive

Shabbat Parashat Haazinu Sukkot 5783

P'ninat Mishpat: Responsibility of Workers for Water Leak

(based on ruling 81111 of the Eretz Hemdah-Gazit Rabbinical Courts)

Case: The plaintiff (=pl) represents his neighbors in a residential building. Pl hired a contractor (=def1) to do renovations in their building. During his work, def1 damaged the main water pipe of the building. He sealed it temporarily and brought in a plumber (=def2) to fix the pipe. Def2 inspected the pipe and decided that the temporary sealing was sufficient, and so def1 covered up the pipe with earth. After a few months, the residents noticed a significantly larger than usual building water bill. Pl called def1 to inquire, and def1 did not respond. Two months later, the bill increased even further, and they hired a professional, who discovered the leak. Def2 then fixed the leak. While the neighbors received a discount from the water company, they are suing def1 and def2 for the extra amount of the water bills they paid.


Ruling: Although def2 did not sign an arbitration agreement, he agreed during the hearing to join as a party to the suit. According to the accepted understanding of Arbitration Law (see Borerut Din V’Nohal, p. 55-58), it is sufficient to accept arbitrators orally if done in a clear manner.  

Damages that come from a water leak are considered indirect damage. They are sometimes considered gerama (indirect damage), in which case, there is not always payment, and sometimes considered garmi (semi-direct damage), in which case, there is payment. In this case, there is a different reason to obligate the defendants. As professional workers, in whom their employers give trust to properly take care of their work, there is a heightened obligation, which includes indirect damages (see Bava Kama 99b-100a). This certainly applies to a plumber who confirms incorrectly that a leaky pipe does not need to be fixed further. (There are other times that it is not possible to hold a workman responsible, when he was not able to predict a damaging situation (see Chukei Hatorah, Pitzuy Histamchut 4).) In this case, while def2’s instrument indicated that there was no longer leakage, he had an obligation to come back the next day to confirm that this situation was stable before having the pipe covered up.

Since def2 was working as a subcontractor for def1, def2 is responsible for his shortcoming, and he must pay 6,243 NIS. Def1 who had overall responsibility for the job has to pay 567 NIS, for the third professional that pl brought in and for part of pl’s fee to beit din. Def1 also must serve as a guarantor for def2’s payment of his obligation, since he is the one who brought in def2 under the umbrella of the job for which he was responsible. The neighbors also have responsibility. They did not diligently take care of the signs of leakage when initially getting a report of wasted water. They did not notify def1/def2 early enough for them to minimize damage. Therefore, they must absorb part of the loss.

Top of page
Print this page
Send to friend


We daven for a complete and speedy refuah for:

Tzvi Ben Tzion ben Ester Ela
Nir Rephael ben Rachel
Yisrael ben Rivka

Arye Yitzchak ben Geula Miriam

Neta bat Malka

Meira bat Esther
Yerachmiel ben Zlotta Rivka

Together with all cholei Yisrael

Hemdat Yamim is dedicated

to the memory of:

Those who fell in wars

for our homeland


Rav Shlomo Merzel z”l
Iyar 10, 5771

Reuven & Chaya Leah Aberman z"l
Tishrei 9
,5776 / Tishrei 20, 5782


Mr. Shmuel & Esther Shemesh z"l

Sivan 17 / Av 20


Mr. Moshe Wasserzug z"l

Tishrei 20 ,5781


R' Eliyahu Carmel z"l

Rav Carmel's father

Iyar 8 ,5776


Mrs. Sara Wengrowsky

bat RMoshe Zev a”h.

Tamuz 10 ,5774


Rav Asher & Susan Wasserteil z"l
Kislev 9 / Elul 5780

R' Meir ben

Yechezkel Shraga Brachfeld z"l


Mrs. Sara Brachfeld z"l

Tevet 16 ,5780


R 'Yaakov ben Abraham & Aisha


Chana bat Yaish & Simcha

Sebbag, z"l


Rav Yisrael Rozen z"l
Cheshvan 13, 5778


Rav Benzion Grossman z"l
Tamuz 23, 5777


R' Abraham Klein z"l

Iyar 18 ,5779


Mrs. Gita Klein z"l

Av 4


Rav Moshe Zvi (Milton) Polin z"l
Tammuz 19, 5778


R' Yitzchak Zev Tarshansky z"l

Adar 28, 5781


Nina Moinester z"l

Nechama Osna bat Yitzhak Aharon & Doba

Av 30, 5781


Rabbi Dr. Jerry Hochbaum z"l

Adar II 17, 5782


Mrs. Julia Koschitzky z"l

Adar II 18, 5782


Mrs. Leah Meyer z"l

Nisan 27, 5782


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

site by entry.
Eretz Hemdah - Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy. | Terms of Use.