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Fellow Weekly Newsletter - Issue 67 "Class Action: The Banana Toss" Business Law and Ethics for the Shabbos Table

Publication: Fellow Weekly Newsletter

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Welcome to Fellow Weekly's: What's the Law?™

Encouraging intelligent and entertaining debate at your Shabbos table. What's the Law?™ raises issues of business law and ethics through lively emails by featuring your real-life scenarios answered by our leading authorities and professionals.

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CASE 167

CASE 167: Class Action: The Banana Toss

Leah Gold was a good natured and intelligent young girl. She strove to excel in her studies and earned her well deserved reputation as a sincere and trusted friend. Seated amidst her classmates on North Green Bay Avenue in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Leah would often feel overcome with a sudden surge of spirited energy.

With the patient prodding and encouragement of her dedicated TA teachers, she invested much effort into channeling her inquisitiveness, vivid imagination, and enthusiastic innovativeness towards constructive venues. As she slowly matured, her tendencies only added to the overall high school spirit and collective learning experiences.

One bright sunny October day as the multi colored autumn leaves rustled softly in the refreshing morning breeze, the inner whispers so familiar to her young heart began to reach a crescendo.

The authoritative voice emanating from behind the teacher's desk enhanced the background undertones of the visions of her inner-self. Leah was climbing a tall Emergent tree. Her arm slowly reached up for the prehensile tail of a new world monkey, lifted the yellow banana from within its grip and wounded up for the fifty yard toss, when suddenly she caught herself in her tracks.

"A class disruption of such sorts would certainly spoil today's lesson. My classmates' parents invest untold efforts in order to cover their tuition obligations. Perhaps by disrupting the class, I will be grossly guilty of thievery of a high order."

What's the Law?

[Submitted by Z.R., 10th grader Passaic, N.J.]

Please email us with your comments and answers at

Read next week's issue for the answer!


CASE 166: Land Rover Insurance Claim: A Smashing Success

The LR3 incorporates the latest in electronics in a system called Terrain Response, which selects the best combination of traction, power, gearing, and braking to suit any type of terrain and surface." (

Bobby Castel inched slowly towards the red light at the Reisterstown Rd. and Falstaff Rd. intersection when suddenly a red audi clattered his Rover's right doors and fenders.

Bobby's brother, a successful mechanic and body part dealer repaired his rover for $200 while Bobby forwarded the remaining $3800 balance from his insurance claim to cover young Sammy Castel's private school tuition dues.

What's the Law?

The Answer

Provided the insurance claim is not fraudulent, and the Rover is repaired, Castel's brother may gift him $3800. If the repair costs exceed the depreciation value and Bobby chooses not to repair the Rover he is only entitled to the Rover's depreciation value.,

Detailed Explanation

Land Rover Insurance Claim: implicates the following three laws:

1. One who damages another's property is required to repair the damage [Choshen Mishpat 387, Scha"ch 1]. If unable to repair the damage effectively he must see to that it be done or compensate the victim for the financial loss incurred [Choshen Mishpat 387:1].

2. Unless local custom differs (e.g. insurance policies), damages are assessed by the depreciation of the entire article. [Minchas Yitzchak 3: Responsa 126] If the cost of proper repair is less than the depreciation value, the damage value is figured at the cost of the repair [Chazon Ish: Maseches: Bava Kama 6:3].

3. If the local custom is to collect for the costs of parts and labor albeit exceeding the depreciation of the entire article, one follows local custom.


The Audi's owner must repair Bobby's damage. Assuming the 4,000 claim was not fraudulent; Castel's brother may demand the 4,000 from the Audi's insurance company for the repair of the Rover. If the mechanic wishes to subsequently gift his brother $3800, he may do so.

However, if Bobby decides not to repair his Land Rover, he did not incur those losses. instead, he may only claim the value of depreciation and not the exceeding repair costs.

[Answered by Dayan Chaim Kohn]


Although we aim to present the correct ruling, varying details are always important and decisively influence every individual case. Our readers are thus encouraged to present their personal cases to a competent authority and not solely rely on the information provided.

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