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Mass. lottery winner, 94, sues to get lump-sum payment

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Mass. lottery winner, 94, sues to get lump-sum payment

Louise Outing is 94 years old, and she knows it would be foolish to expect to live another 20. So the lottery winner wants all of her cash now, not in payments spread out over the next two decades.

''In March, I will be 95 years old. Do you realize that? Ninety-five in March," the Everett woman said in a telephone interview yesterday. ''Now, you know I'm not going to live 20 years."

Outing won the Sept. 4 Megabucks drawing, and she wants the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission to cut her a check immediately for the full $5.6 million, minus taxes. But the commission has so far rejected that request, saying Megabucks winners get 20-year annuities, not lump-sum payments.

Frustrated, Outing and her Boston attorney, James Dilday, yesterday asked Norfolk Superior Court Judge Barbara Dortch-Okara to step in. Dilday said state rules give the lottery's executive director, Joseph C. Sullivan, the freedom to choose between big cash now or a series of smaller checks. Dilday also said the state has paid $3.5 million to a bank for the 20-year annuity -- which they could and should have paid directly to Outing.

But Sullivan said he isn't sure Dilday's got it right about the rules or about lottery financing. ''We are just going to have to sit tight and see what the court rules," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said that historically, Megabucks winners get paid in installments over 20 years. ''She is guaranteed a 20-year annuity with a net payment of $198,639 to her and her beneficiaries, which in this case, if needed, would be the estate," he said. ''It really is a pleasant situation in terms of having a big winner, and we're pleased for Mrs. Outing. Our hope is that it remains a pleasant situation for her and her family."

Sullivan said that only the multistate Mega Millions game offers a lump-sum option.

Outing said she wants the money now so she can take care of her seven grandchildren, her nine great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren in the way she chooses. Outing, a retired waitress from Anthony's Pier 4, has outlived her husband and all six of her children.

''I would like the money so I can do what I want to do with it," said Outing, who said she wanted to make sure her relatives can afford a quality education. ''I think I'm entitled to it. I won. So I don't understand why they don't give it to me. They took my money, so they should give me what I got."

She also wants to visit Bermuda.

''I've got plenty to do with it," said Outing, who has already cashed one check and spent most of that fixing up the home where she has lived for the past 80 years.

Outing said if the judge rules against her, she will appeal, even though it could take years before a final decision is made by the courts.

''I know, but I'm going to try it anyway because I want to get the money I'm due," she said. ''It's mine, so why can't they give it to me? I think it's awful the way they are treating me, just awful."

Boston Globe

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15 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by DoctorEw220.
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Yinzer Country, PA
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Posted: December 29, 2004, 10:09 am - IP Logged

CASHOnly must not be up yet. He hasn't commented on this yet.

I've redone my website.  Go to www.dr-ew.com.  I kept a lot of the old stuff, and I've added some new stuff.  Look for more new stuff in the coming weeks.

    mrmst's avatar - disney14
    Glen Burnie, MD
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    Posted: December 29, 2004, 10:53 am - IP Logged

    LOL at DoctorEw220's message!

    While I can understand a 95 year old wanting a lump-sum pay out - Megabucks is clearly an annuity game, if she did not want an annuity - she should not have played it.  There are many games where I would like to change the rules - but that does mean I can!

    MrMST

    Good luck and have a Disney Day ºoºHiding Behind Computer

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      Posted: December 29, 2004, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

      One could argue that the rules are the rules and she knew about the 20 year payoff when she bought the ticket. One could argue that. I prefer a second argument: that the MA lottery is run by corrupt lying sacks of sh*t and "annuity only" is just a way of handing banking business to their pals and complete unacceptable whether you are 94 or 24.

      As an aside, if I were 94, I'm not sure I'd like to spend my last months in legal battles.

        four4me's avatar - gate1
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        Posted: December 29, 2004, 3:35 pm - IP Logged

        She has grandchildren who are living she should have given the ticket to one of them. Or try and claim it as a partner. this is another case of not being prepared for the consequences of her actions when she bought the ticket she should have realized that if she actually won how or what action she should have taken to claim the winnings. Knowing that she would never out live the annuity. They could drag it out in court until the day she dies and then what


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          Posted: December 29, 2004, 4:14 pm - IP Logged

          All other state lotteries pay in cash or offer a lump-sum option on their jackpot games. (Of course, OR, PA, and WA have a lifetime prize in their online games, and Mass/NY have annuity-only scratch-off games.

          The legislation that Bill Clinton signed in 1998 allowing winners to choose cash or annuity after winning did not go far enough; it should have forced lotteries to offer a cash option on ANY prize (other than lifetime prizes) paid through an annuity.

            BabyJC's avatar - Lottery-031.jpg

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            Posted: December 29, 2004, 4:57 pm - IP Logged

            The lady's lawyer is right -- If the Mass Lottery gave a bank 3.5 million to invest on her behalf, they could have just given it directly to the winner instead!  If the woman wins her case, they should offer the cash option to all winners in the future however!

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              Columbia City, Indiana
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              Posted: December 29, 2004, 8:35 pm - IP Logged

              Oh, for cryin' out loud, people; give me a break!

              Even the hard and fast laws of nature occasionally treat us to the odd exception, and what's good enough for nature should be good enough for an anal-retentive state lottery director. Where do they find these people??? I suspect that Mr. Sullivan has some difficulty removing his pants without the aid of a good, stout stick.

              Common sense tells me that Ms. Outing will ultimately prevail, and I would not rule out possible punitive or compensatory damages as well. Her prima facie claim to the money she won is not to address whether she is entitled to it, but how she will be paid, so it's an issue of method rather than one of ownership; it's a matter of policy rather than one of law. Mr. Sullivan's attorney cannot argue that the money, or any part of it, still belongs to the lottery once a legitimate claim has been presented and verified. In any contest of this type, law will always prevail over policy and, since property is absolute, they'll have to cough up her $3.5M. If one of us was told he has only six months to live, and then won the Massachusetts Megabucks jackpot a week later, who among us wouldn't follow the same path Ms. Outing has chosen? Would we stop buying tickets because some rule printed on the back of a bet slip assures us that the lottery knows better than we do how to invest our winnings?

              Depending on the vehicle in which her money is invested, I suspect that either the lottery, the state or the bank enjoys an additional benefit in revenue after the annuity is satisfied. Otherwise, they would have no reason to refuse her request for possession of what rightfully belongs to her. Any loan or mortgage agreement contains an on-demand clause, which means the lender can call in that loan at any time, for the full value of the outstanding debt. The money belongs to them, to the bank, not to the borrower. Likewise, this money, all of it, belongs to Ms. Outing, so let's get behind her on this. Who knows; our support just might make a difference in this great-great-grandmother's life.   

              This case was inevitable, and I believe its outcome will set a precedent which will affect all annuity-only games throughout the country, so it appears that CashOnly will have a very happy new year. 

              Nostrovi!

              Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

              Jim


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                Posted: December 30, 2004, 5:10 am - IP Logged

                I disagree,

                even if the property is hers she has entered into an agreement with all the appertaining terms and conditions. The lottery offered winnings by annuity, by her actions she accepted.

                If your landlord suddenly wanted a lump sum instead of monthly payments you would tell him where to go regardless of ownership. Neither could he seize back his property without breaching an agreement. The contract is paramount.

                Contract law will apply. Any ruling in her favour will also apply to other winners with severe consequences to the lottery's ability to pay. This will influence the court's thinking.

                (But then again the judiciary can be unpredictable in the colonies ;-))

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                  Columbia City, Indiana
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                  Posted: December 30, 2004, 7:02 am - IP Logged

                  Jazam:

                  Thanks for your input, but your argument doesn't hold water.

                  First of all, your landlord owns the property; you only rent it month-to-month, or lease it term-to-term (one year, two years, etc.), according to the agreement, or contract you've signed. If you're renting, he can throw you and your belongings out on the street whenever the whim strikes, so we can dispense with wasting further time on that nonsense.

                  Secondly, Ms. Outing's "agreement" to accept their terms by buying a lottery ticket, and then having the unmitigated gall to exploit it into a jackpot win, is only implied, not contractual. The fact that she was forced to sign papers in order to obtain her initial annuity payment will serve her attorney well when he argues duress; if she refused to sign, she would receive none of her money. Considering her age, the court will likely equate this to the Massachusetts Lottery holding a gun to her head. 

                  Things work a little differently here on the other side of the pond, so I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd do a little research the next time you elect to challenge my opinions; this was just too easy. Challenge me, by all means, but at least gather enough information to give me pause; give me some reasons to reconsider my current position. Incidentally, we haven't had colonies here since hippies became extinct in the late 1970's.

                  This has nothing to do with the lottery, but I'm going to append it here, anyway, because it needs to be said: I served alongside the Brits (21st EOD Squadron, British Royal Engineers, under the very capable leadership of Major Watkinson) in Kuwait in 1991. Search high and low, but you'll never find a more clever, fiercely dedicated or courageous group than a British fighting unit. The Iraqis found out the hard way that shooting at them only makes them angry. Bosnia in 1994 was a tough campaign for all of us, but the British 7th Armored simply refused to acknowledge any obstacles that happened to get between them and their objectives. Unfortunate for the enemy, but I will always be thankful the Brits were there, and on our side. I learned a few tricks from them, and we can all take comfort in knowing that their 7th Armored Division is also serving in the current conflict in Iraq, along with several units of their elite special forces teams. Let's include them in our prayers, and have confidence that the Allied Forces will soon be successful in this campaign.    

                  Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                  Jim

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                    Posted: December 30, 2004, 8:18 am - IP Logged
                    Quote: Originally posted by jim695 on December 30, 2004



                    Jazam:

                    Thanks for your input, but your argument doesn't hold water.

                    First of all, your landlord owns the property; you only rent it month-to-month, or lease it term-to-term (one year, two years, etc.), according to the agreement, or contract you've signed. If you're renting, he can throw you and your belongings out on the street whenever the whim strikes, so we can dispense with wasting further time on that nonsense.

                    Secondly, Ms. Outing's "agreement" to accept their terms by buying a lottery ticket, and then having the unmitigated gall to exploit it into a jackpot win, is only implied, not contractual. The fact that she was forced to sign papers in order to obtain her initial annuity payment will serve her attorney well when he argues duress; if she refused to sign, she would receive none of her money. Considering her age, the court will likely equate this to the Massachusetts Lottery holding a gun to her head. 

                    Things work a little differently here on the other side of the pond, so I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd do a little research the next time you elect to challenge my opinions; this was just too easy. Challenge me, by all means, but at least gather enough information to give me pause; give me some reasons to reconsider my current position. Incidentally, we haven't had colonies here since hippies became extinct in the late 1970's.

                    This has nothing to do with the lottery, but I'm going to append it here, anyway, because it needs to be said: I served alongside the Brits (21st EOD Squadron, British Royal Engineers, under the very capable leadership of Major Watkinson) in Kuwait in 1991. Search high and low, but you'll never find a more clever, fiercely dedicated or courageous group than a British fighting unit. The Iraqis found out the hard way that shooting at them only makes them angry. Bosnia in 1994 was a tough campaign for all of us, but the British 7th Armored simply refused to acknowledge any obstacles that happened to get between them and their objectives. Unfortunate for the enemy, but I will always be thankful the Brits were there, and on our side. I learned a few tricks from them, and we can all take comfort in knowing that their 7th Armored Division is also serving in the current conflict in Iraq, along with several units of their elite special forces teams. Let's include them in our prayers, and have confidence that the Allied Forces will soon be successful in this campaign.    





                    Jim,

                    I agree with your sentiment about how the case should be decided, but I want to point out that your argument about the landlord is incorrect.  Unfortunately, landlords cannot throw people out, even if they are seriously delinquent.  Tennants' rights are very strong, and there is a specific set of rules that must be followed before an eviction can take place.  Then, once the eviction is started, it is a lengthy process itself.

                    Bottom line is that a landlord can get rid of a tennant, but it takes a long time.

                     

                    Check the State Lottery Report Card
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                    Sign the Petition for True Lottery Drawings
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                      Columbia City, Indiana
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                      Posted: December 30, 2004, 11:44 am - IP Logged

                      Tennants' rights are very strong, and there is a specific set of rules that must be followed before an eviction can take place.  Then, once the eviction is started, it is a lengthy process itself.

                      Bottom line is that a landlord can get rid of a tennant, but it takes a long time.





                      ((Whew!)) I was beginning to fear no one would ring in on this...



                      Well, again, I'd like to point out that what looks good on paper does not always hold up in actual practice. I have a book called, "Guerrilla Tactics for Landlords," and it's chock full of legal, if underhanded methods a property owner can use to speed up or even bypass the eviction process, so I stand by my claim.

                      For example, if the landlord decides the tenant is not properly caring for his property, he can have him out of the house in as little as three days, even if it's something as trivial as not keeping the lawn mowed (a health code violation). The renter certainly has the right to countersue, but he'll have to do it from another address, and pay all fees and costs if he loses. The book even points out that most renters live paycheck-to-paycheck, so the odds of a countersuit against the proprty owner are almost nonexistent. Most of these methods are offered as alternatives to the time-consuming legal gyrations necessary to evict a tenant who is delinquent on his rent payments, but some are presented as blatant revenge for the landlord's entertainment. 

                      I realize that some states have adopted "Tenants' Rights" laws, but even these can be easily skirted by using one or more of the methods outlined. My younger brother managed a privately-owned apartment building a few years ago, and the owner was extremely homophobic. He had one of his renters evicted overnight by claiming he suspected the tenant was a drug dealer, citing the fact that the man had an "abnormal amount of traffic" coming and going during the wee hours of the night. As you know, Indiana leads the nation in mortgage foreclosures, and one reason for this is the prolific interpretation of seizure laws with regard to illegal drugs, so all it took was a phone call to the sheriff. No drugs were found, but that didn't change the outcome, nor did the fact that the man worked second shift, and always paid his rent on time (by the way, that's where the book came from).

                      I'm not saying it's right, and I'm not endorsing the book nor its content. I'm only pointing out that just because some rule is written on paper somewhere does not necessarily mean it's written in stone, and I think the examples I've cited adequately illustrate this basic truth. 

                      Rules are only rules to and for those who choose to follow them (the authors themselves notwithstanding) but, hopefully, there will always be a Louise Outing somewhere who will step forward and challenge their validity.

                      See, Jazam? This is what I'm talking about; bring me more of this!

                      Next, please...

                      Come, Pinky; we must prepare for tomorrow night...

                      Jim

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                        Posted: December 30, 2004, 5:28 pm - IP Logged

                        I'm sure it varies by state.  In some states it is a difficult process to get someone evicted.  It's one of those things where "possession is 9-10ths".  The person occupying the space has a great deal of power, but often they don't know it.  As you say, they usually don't have the kind of resources it takes to compete with a landlord's attorney.

                         

                        Check the State Lottery Report Card
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                          Posted: December 30, 2004, 7:20 pm - IP Logged

                          I'm sure in the end, they'll be more inclined to offer a cash option with Megabucks.

                          (insert signature here)


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                            Posted: January 2, 2005, 1:36 pm - IP Logged

                            Jimmy:

                            I hope so. We need to keep boycotting Mass Megais bad$.