Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Thursday, 22 May 2008 19:31 UK

Hairdresser loses dead fly case

Seeing the fly has given Mr Mustapha years of psychological torment

A Canadian hairdresser who says he suffered from depression and phobias after finding a dead fly in his bottled water has lost a case for damages.

Waddah Mustapha had been awarded $341,775 in damages in 2005, but the Supreme Court of Canada has now overturned that award.

The court said the bottling company, Culligan of Canada, could not have foreseen the psychological damage.

Mr Mustapha says the discovery wrecked his sleep and his sex life.

A Lebanese immigrant who owns a hairstyling business with his wife, Mr Mustapha first installed Culligan water dispensers at his home and his business in 1986.

The family kept only Culligan water in their house for the next 15 years.

Water phobia

But in 2001 Mr Mustapha noticed one whole fly and another half fly in an unopened bottle as he was loading it onto his cooler.

After this, he began to feel nauseous and depressed, and developed a phobia for water, only being able to take showers with his head down, so the water did not strike his face.

Justice John Brockenshire found in the original damages case in 2005 that Mr Mustapha suffered a "major depressive disorder".

In his ruling, he said: "He pictures flies walking on animal faeces or rotten food and then being in his supposedly pure drinking water."

But on Thursday the Supreme Court confirmed, in a 9-0 ruling, an Ontario Court of Appeal decision, which overturned the original award.

Chief Justice Beverley McLauchlin said that "Mustapha failed to show that it was foreseeable that a person of ordinary fortitude would suffer serious injury from seeing the flies in the bottle of water he was about to install".

The Chief Justice added: "I conclude that the loss suffered by the plaintiff was too remote to be reasonably foreseen and that consequently, he cannot recover damages from the defendant."

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