Now that Canadians have a currency that can actually compete with the U.S. dollar, it looks like they may be trying to catch up to us in unnecessary lawsuits as well.
Last week, the National Post of Canada reported on the "growing trend" of teachers being sued by students and their parents. The story was prompted by a case in which a father in British Columbia sued his son's second-grade teacher for, among other things, not making the boy do his assignments and failing to give him daily homework, thus "knowingly setting up the son for failure." After the boy apparently refused to finish a poem he had been assigned, the teacher put the half-finished poem up in the hallway. By this and other means, the teacher "falsely created and attempted to reinforce artificial differences between his son and his peers," allegedly inflicting compensable emotional distress.
Another lawsuit referred to in that article claims $155,000 in damages for another family's son who felt "fearful and constantly victimized" by his grade-school teacher. Allegedly, the boy has suffered long-term effects from this, "including a facial tic that still appears when he discusses Grade 4." Just a suggestion, folks, but I would encourage your boy to avoid law school.
Meanwhile, in Ottawa, the Supreme Court of Canada recently heard the appeal of a man who claimed that his life was ruined after he found a dead fly in a bottle of water. Waddah Mustapha said that he saw the fly (and later, half of another one) in a sealed bottle in late 2001, and as a result suffered from "major depression, anxiety, specific phobias, and obsessional thoughts flowing from seeing the dead flies in the bottled water."
To make sure the public understood this was a serious matter, Mustapha told the CBC that this was not just any fly, it was one of the "blue-butts." "We all know flies of that kind, with the blue butts," he said. "They land on feces and dead rats on the side of the road and end up in the [bottled?] water. This is a public health issue." Mustapha did not actually drink any of the blue-butt-infested water, but the trauma allegedly ruined his sex life and his hair-salon business, and makes it difficult for him to shower.
The trial court found in his favor, despite admitting that his reaction was "objectively bizarre." Because the nature of bottled water is to assure "purity and cleanliness," it held, it was foreseeable that psychiatric injury might result from finding a bug in it. The court awarded him no less than $341,775. It looked like he could finally afford that fly filter for his shower head, but the award was overturned on appeal.
This important matter is now being contemplated by the Canadian Supreme Court.