Today I went to visit my friend at his apartment and when I got there I could only find a space that had signs saying that a permit was required or the car would be towed at the owners expense. I called my friend who assured me that it would be okay and I told him “I am worried that something will happen, like I will get towed. If something happens will you pay for it? He responded that he would and that I didn’t need to worry. When I left his house I had received a 50 dollar parking ticket. I told my friend and asked him to pay for the ticket, as he promised that if something happened he would pay for it, however, he refuses to pay. Is it wrong to expect him to pay for the ticket?

Answer:

This is an interesting question.

There are two main reasons why the friend might be obligated to pay.

First of all, it is possible that the case will fall under the rule of mareh dinar le-shulchani. If a person is given bad advice (concerning the authenticity of a coin), and the person receiving the advice clearly stated his reliance on the advisor, the advisor is obligated to pay for the loss incurred.

However, in this case the obligation is not certain, because it is possible that his advice was in fact true, and that there is only a tiny chance of being fined (only that you were unlucky). However, if his advice was actually bad advice (and he is not considered an ‘expert’ in matters of parking tickets), then this is a good reason to consider him obligated to pay.

Another reason why he might be obligated to pay is the law of arev, a halachic guarantor. Because he agreed to guarantee your expense, and you parked the car based on his guarantee, the halachah of arev will appear to apply. However, the case is a case of asmachta (reliance) — he only agreed to pay the fine because he assumed that you won’t be fined — and where there is asmachta there is a dispute among authorities over the obligation to pay (see Shulchan Aruch and Rema, Choshen Mishpat 131:10; see also Bach).

Therefore, there is certainly good reason to expect the friend to pay for the ticket. However, if taken to Beis Din, it is not a foregone conclusion that he will be obligated to pay.

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