An administrative law judge is considering the claim by two Indiana men that they are the rightful owners of a $100,000 lottery ticket that was tossed in the trash.
Judge Gregg Henry said he would rule within two months after hearing 6 1/2 hours of testimony Wednesday. Ownership of the ticket has been in dispute as it was put into a trash can at the Chaperral Cafe in Shelbyville, Indiana on Feb. 8 after a clerk told Ron Douglas and Ron Vinson that the $5 ticket was not the $40 winner they were hoping it was.
Customer Karrie Jeremiah said she then retrieved the ticket, planning to enter it into a second-chance drawing before later finding out it was a big winner.
Hoosier Lottery officials on Feb. 10 issued Jeremiah a check for $71,600 — the amount after taxes were withheld.
Henry must decide if the lottery must also pay Vinson and Douglas.
Chaperral Cafe clerk Marsha Chaney testified that she ripped and discarded the tickets after telling the men that the terminal read “invalid prize amount” and all three of them assumed the game tickets were non-winners.
Lottery officials questioned whether the two men ever saw the winning ticket.
“The testimonies of the two men and the clerk are contradictive,” said Esther Schneider, the lottery’s executive director. “The Hoosier Lottery has received no other complaints to date concerning the validation of winning tickets for the Hold ’Em Poker scratch off game.”
Attorneys for Douglas and Vinson argued that the lottery was negligent in training and supervising its retailers and that the game was confusing.
“Hoosier Lottery’s high-handed tactics are offensive,” Lee McNeely, an attorney for the men, said after the hearing. “They should pay the men their money and apologize.”