Weird Lawsuits: Canada Style

fly in water; fly lawsuit; legal fly

An Expensive Fly Lawsuit

While there are certainly a number of odd lawsuits that constantly seem to spring up in the United States, we don’t tend to have quite as many here in Canada. However, that’s not to say that the Great White North is entirely free of the strange when it comes to lawsuits and the legal system. One of our favourites is this gem. It has more meaning to Kahane Law Office as one of our lawyers, Chadwick Newcombe, was a coach of a law school team that argued this case in a competition, before the Supreme Court of Canada decision was handed down.

There’s a Fly in My Water

You’ve heard of the stories and jokes of someone finding a fly in their soup, but what would you do if you discovered a dead fly in an unopened bottle of water? A Canadian man named Waddah Mustapha found just that and filed a tort claiming psychological damages. Let’s be clear about one thing. The Plaintiff never drank this water. In fact, he did not even open the bottle of water. He just saw that there was a fly in it. Naturally, no one wants to find a fly in their water, and it could be distressing, but would it be enough to make you want to sue the company that bottled and sold the water?

What Damages Did The Plaintiff Claim

There is a long list of damages. Some of them include, loss of business income because he could not work, vomiting, nauseousness, depressive disorder, phobia, anxiety, inability to shower or drink water, nightmares and more , including sexual dysfunction.

How Did The Case Turn Out?

This case is interesting because the Defendant did not argue the fact that they were negligent. The accepted that a fly should not get into a bottle of water. Further, not only did the court believe the Plaintiff’s damages, but the Defendant did not argue about his damages. That is to say that the court accepted his evidence that he actually suffered from seeing the fly in a bottle of water. Mustapha was actually awarded more than $300,000 for the aforementioned general damages, psychological damages and loss of income. However, the case did not end there. The company in question, Culligan, filed an appeal through the Ontario Court of Appeal, where the claim was dismissed. Mustapha did not want to let the case rest though. He then brought his case to the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, where it was heard by nine Supreme Court justices. They determined that his loss and psychological damages could not have been foreseen by the defendant and therefore, he was not able to recover any damages whatsoever. The court’s decision was that the damages were too remote for the Defendant to be held liable. If the water supply company had known about Mustapha’s aversions and likelihood of being harmed, then they may well have been held liable for damages.

Mustapha very likely spent a significant amount of money in legal fees and court costs during his cases against Culligan, and he ended up having nothing at all to show for it except some rather high bills.

Weird All Over

As you can see, the US does not have a monopoly when it comes to out there types of lawsuits. We have a few cases right here in Canada as well. As always, it is interesting to see the various types of cases that come through the court system, especially the ones that have a strange tinge to them. Even though there are plenty of valid reasons to file a suit against another person or a company, sometimes things get a bit out of hand and it’s fascinating to see where things wind up in the end. Watch this video on right to learn about how Canadian courts are different than American ones for these type of lawsuits.


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