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Jury rules that estranged brothers must split $1M lottery prize

Pennsylvania LotteryPennsylvania Lottery: Jury rules that estranged brothers must split $1M lottery prize
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CARLISLE, Pa. — Over a year of legal bickering ended Wednesday afternoon, but it appeared neither brother feuding over a jackpot lottery ticket was ready to move on and sing "Kumbaya" together.

After a two-day trial in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, court, a jury decided two Mechanicsburg-area brothers, Charles Thomas Meehan and Ira Sharp, would split a $1 million lottery ticket straight down the middle.

Sharp sued Meehan, his half-brother, for half of the prize he said they won together at Johnny Joe's bar and grill on May 21, 2013. (See Half brothers fight over million dollar lottery ticket, Lottery Post, July 16, 2014.)

"Justice has been served," a tearful Sharp said after the hearing, adding that when it comes to repairing the fractured relationship between he and his half-brother: "I want to go outside, get a breath of fresh air, relax and then think about all of my options."

Meehan refused to comment immediately after the hearing.

His attorney, Douglas Miller, said after the trial that he hasn't discussed appealing the decision with his client. But he also said he doesn't foresee filing one. 

On whether his client is ready to hug it out with his brother, Miller said: "I would never say never, but it is very difficult for my client. He just wants to get this all over with. [Sharp] filed the lawsuit, and my client was willing to help him out."

Sharp and Meehan had been drinking a few beers and scratching off lottery tickets at Johnny Joe's the late afternoon their fortunes changed. 

When Meehan was ready to fold and stop buying the $20 "Hot Million" tickets he buying from the vending machine, Sharp slid  his brother a $20, which both agree is the case.

But Sharp claims he told Meehan he was giving him the money under one codition: If it hit, the two would divide the prize in half. 

It hit.

And immediately after, the two men went into the bathroom at Johnny Joe's to verify the ticket was a winner. Meehan said the only thing his brother said to him in the bathroom was "your life is going to change." But Meehan maintains that the two never discussed cashing the ticket in together the next day at Johnny Joe's or at his house when they left the bar. 

The jury didn't buy it.

Instead, they made three decisions in Judge Christylee Peck's courtroom that blew up Meehan's account on Wednesday.

The jury found that:

  • A legal contract did exist between the two brothers.
  • Meehan breached the legal contract.
  • Meehan had to pay Sharp $500,000 of the winnings.

"I think the truth prevailed," said R. Mark Thomas, Sharp's attorney, regarding the outcome of a case he called one of the most unusual he has ever handled in 27 years of practicing law. "The truth was his ally. But my stomach was rolling because you never know what a jury is going to do."

As happy as Thomas was, he said he also was sad for the family ties that have been fractured through this feud. Too often, money splits loved ones apart and that like always, Thomas said it's "a travesty."

Miller said the same about the family bond that fell apart after the ticket hit.

And now, the next difficult part will be figuring out the tax implications Sharp and Meehan face, Miller said, because his client already was taxed, and faces additional taxes.

Peck told the attorneys and the two brothers that is something they would have to handle outside of the courtroom.

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20 comments. Last comment 3 days ago by 1977.
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maringoman's avatar - kobold
Massachusetts
United States
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Posted: July 16, 2014, 5:49 pm - IP Logged

Most people would actually be more than happy to share this kind of bread with their brother especially if they were drinking together and playing together at the time of win. Some people are just strange. So sad.

It's a futile effort.

    Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
    RIGHT HERE!!
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    Posted: July 16, 2014, 6:26 pm - IP Logged

    Just another case of GREED!!No Nod

    The greedy one didn't even pay for the ticket, his half brother gave him the $20

     

    oops! a typo:

    See Half brothers fight over million dollar lottery ticket, Lottery Post, July 16, 2016.)

      Get paid's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
      texas
      United States
      Member #152331
      February 11, 2014
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      Posted: July 16, 2014, 6:27 pm - IP Logged

      To avoid confusion,buy ur own ticket,keep it simple.

        Nikkicute's avatar - nnjx1k
        RIGHT HERE!!
        United States
        Member #123295
        February 17, 2012
        2077 Posts
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        Posted: July 16, 2014, 6:34 pm - IP Logged

        To avoid confusion,buy ur own ticket,keep it simple.

        From what I read in the story there was no confusion, he knew he was suppose to share

        that ticket with his half brother but decided to keep it all to himself.No No

        There was only two people involved, not much confusion, just share, that's simple!!

          HaveABall's avatar - rocket

          United States
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          March 18, 2009
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          Posted: July 16, 2014, 6:37 pm - IP Logged

          To avoid confusion,buy ur own ticket,keep it simple.

          I Agree!, Get paid, who knows who was telling the truth.  Who was already financially okay, and who wasn't. 

          I still don't know, from these articles, if the already claimed, winning lottery scratch-off ticket was $1M cash or merely $1M annuity value paid over 20 or so years. 

          I also wonder how much each lawyer will charge, and this court's fees.  Cheers everyone, there is lovely weather outside my window!

           Thinking of...

          Having millions of dollars in my financial accounts means more, consistent fun for me.Lovies

            DDOH937's avatar - Lottery-028.jpg

            United States
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            December 4, 2013
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            Posted: July 16, 2014, 6:42 pm - IP Logged

            So after one year, taxes and massive LEGAL FEES, they each got how much?????? Quite silly.

            "It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy." - George Lorimer

              mypiemaster's avatar - peace
              He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

              United States
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              April 2, 2013
              652 Posts
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              Posted: July 16, 2014, 9:09 pm - IP Logged

              Just another case of GREED!!No Nod

              The greedy one didn't even pay for the ticket, his half brother gave him the $20

               

              oops! a typo:

              See Half brothers fight over million dollar lottery ticket, Lottery Post, July 16, 2016.)

              Fools making rich lawyers richer.

              Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

              Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

                Avatar
                New Member
                Pennsylvania
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                February 17, 2014
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                Posted: July 17, 2014, 1:29 am - IP Logged

                Well, there are no state taxes on lottery winnings in Pennsylvania. So take out 25% off the top for the Feds, then I believe, it would be an additional 15% come the following April, so that leaves roughly $637,500, split down the middle is $318,750. Now lord only knows what the attorney's fees were.

                  noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
                  Bay Area/ California
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                  Posted: July 17, 2014, 1:30 am - IP Logged

                  Fools making rich lawyers richer.

                  I Agree!

                  What Meehan was attempting to do is " screw his half brother over!" He was an idiot to think that the court would side with him. His attorney probably knew that going in as well but figured that he had a fool for a client, why give him a " heads up" that his going to lose. Attempt to put up a fight for your client knowing you going to make out like a bandit when the smoke clears.Wink

                  Attorneys don't carry briefcases for nothing- its meant to carry off the client's money.Big Smile

                    sully16's avatar - sharan
                    Listens to the wind

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                    Posted: July 17, 2014, 8:43 am - IP Logged

                    Most people would actually be more than happy to share this kind of bread with their brother especially if they were drinking together and playing together at the time of win. Some people are just strange. So sad.

                    Very sad.

                    There's only one US Flag

                      ThatScaryChick's avatar - AbnSTiA

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                      Posted: July 17, 2014, 12:11 pm - IP Logged

                      Too bad Meehan couldn't do the right thing and share the jackpot with his brother in the first place. It's funny how he could take 20 dollars from his brother, but not give him half the winnings like Sharp deserved.

                      "No one remembers the person who almost climbed the mountain, only the person who eventually gets to the top."

                        shadowlady's avatar - Trek UFPSYM1.gif
                        New Member
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                        Posted: July 17, 2014, 1:56 pm - IP Logged

                        The last time I used a lawyer, I was given the choice of an hourly fee, or a 30% of 'gross' fee.

                         

                        Yes, it is sad that the one brother would not split the money, but large amounts of money really plays with people's mind sometimes.

                         

                        Now if only I can win one of the large prizes, and see if it plays with my mind.  ;-)

                          Avatar
                          Atlanta, GA
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                          Posted: July 17, 2014, 3:47 pm - IP Logged

                          Probably won't be much to share after paying legal fees.

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
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                            Posted: July 17, 2014, 4:22 pm - IP Logged

                            Fools making rich lawyers richer.

                            I Agree!

                            And even the poor lawyers are making a nice living.