Beebe, Arkansas - For most people, seeing a scratch-off ticket reveal a million dollar prize would be a dream come true. But for one winner in Beebe, it's led to a legal nightmare.
On July 15, 2011, Sharon Jones scratched her way to millionaire status, but Super 1 Stop gas station manager Lisa Petriches said the loot isn't legally Jones' to claim. Now, Petriches has filed a lawsuit against Jones in White County Circuit Court.
According to Petriches, the winning slip was in a bucket of discarded, non-winning tickets that she often ran through for second chance prizes. Petriches said in court documents that a sign on the receptacle said "Do Not Take!".
In the suit, Petriches accuses Jones of taking the winning ticket, which was not fully scratched off, out of the bucket. After clearing the card, it turned out the ticket offered big bucks for the effort.
Jones claims she did purchase the ticket on July 15, but she did not realize it was a winning ticket until July 17.
Petriches declined to speak to KARK on camera, referring us to her lawyer for any comment. Her lawyer, Steven Underwood of Cabot also declined to provide a comment, according to his office secretary.
Sharon Jones declined to speak to KARK on camera. So, we visited her lawyer's office. Winston Collier was out of state, but he did provide comments over the phone.
Collier doesn't believe Petriches' case is airtight, and he isn't sure there's a legal leg to stand on when it comes to a sign barring customers from accessing waste basket.
"Even if it [a sign saying "Do Not Take"] were there I'm not sure the store manager has the authority to tell people not to take trash from my trashcan," he said. "And we have disputed from the beginning whether that sign was there on July 15th."
According to Collier, Jones had picked up discarded tickets from the trash pile before, with no objection from Petriches.
"My client had done this before, and the plaintiff was fully aware of it and had no problem with it until we get lucky and win the lottery," he said.
Collier plans to file a request for dismissal in the case at some point this week. He has already filed a petition to dissolve a court order keeping Jones and her family from spending the million dollar prize money.