Bank Hapoalim 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
A three-judge panel of the Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday ordered Bank
Hapoalim and three pension funds to pay around NIS 2.1 million to the estate of
an elderly Holocaust survivor for liability in allowing the illegal withdrawal
of her money by her home caregiver.
The caregiver, Sofia Neizlin, took
care of the Holocaust survivor Shprintza Schechter starting in February 2001,
when she became unable to care for herself independently.
illegally withdrew all of Schechter’s savings from the various accounts starting
in December 2001.
Schechter died in 2003 at age 83.
withdrawals were performed using Schechter’s checks and a notarized power of
At the start of the case, the estate sued Bank Hapoalim and the
pension funds for negligence in managing the accounts and allowing the illegal
withdrawals which emptied the accounts of all funds. The Tel Aviv Magistrate’s
Court rejected the lawsuit, while placing contributory negligence on Schechter’s
nephew and her close and trusted lawyer.
But the Tel Aviv District Court
has now reversed that decision on appeal, holding Bank Hapoalim and the pension
funds civilly liable.
The court said that “the warning lights were
flickering, the bells were ringing, but the respondents [the bank and the funds]
shut their eyes from seeing and sealed their ears from hearing.”
2.1m. in damages was broken down as NIS 1.88m. compensatory damages with
significant interest and NIS 100,000 in reimbursing the estate for lawyers’
Neizlin’s part in the affair has been addressed in a separate case.