Holocaust survivor's estate beats bank in court

Bank Hapoalim, pension funds ordered to pay NIS 2.1m for allowing caregiver to empty her employer's account.

Bank Hapoalim 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
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.
Neizlin illegally withdrew all of Schechter’s savings from the various accounts starting in December 2001.
Schechter died in 2003 at age 83.
The withdrawals were performed using Schechter’s checks and a notarized power of attorney.
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.”
The NIS 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’ fees.
Neizlin’s part in the affair has been addressed in a separate case.