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Original buyer of $1M lottery ticket identified

Topic closed. 43 replies. Last post 11 years ago by CASH Only.

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December 30, 2002
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Posted: December 20, 2005, 11:15 am - IP Logged

"Bearer instrument" is an easy to understand phrase but tough to cope with when you are on the losing end. When you throw something away in a public trash can, it is no longer yours, you voluntarily discarded it to the dump, to the public domain and whoever looks through the trash.  People make mistakes all the time, people take advantage of others' mistakes all the time.  That's tough luck but that's the way it is in all areas of life, so the lesson should be "Be careful what you throw away".  Unless the ticket was taken from the original buyer by assault, fraud, robbery, etc. the original buyer should not have a claim. First he should have to prove that he was separated from "his" ticket by one of these means before he can sue for any money.

If in fact a lottery ticket is not a bearer instrument, let them change the legal jargon on the back of each ticket.

>He made a "simple mistake" and "he shouldn't be penalized for it," the owner said.

I disagree.  But wouldn't it be fun to go through life unpenalized for every simple mistake you make. It was a simple mistake that I overslept this morning, why should I have to lose pay or vacation time because I was late? It was a simple mistake that I forgot to mail my credit card bill on time, why should I have a late fee?  It was simple mistake that I didn't see that stop sign and crashed into another car, why should my insurance go up? That would be a nice world, wouldn't it?

 

 

 

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    NY
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    October 16, 2005
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    Posted: December 20, 2005, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

    konane wrote:

    << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

     

    Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

    There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession.  The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's  almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

    The  first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the  ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

    The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling.  Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

      konane's avatar - wallace
      Atlanta, GA
      United States
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      March 13, 2003
      3333 Posts
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      Posted: December 20, 2005, 1:58 pm - IP Logged

      konane wrote:

      << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

       

      Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

      There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession.  The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's  almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

      The  first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the  ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

      The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling.  Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

      You seem to be essentially saying that if I were somewhere downtown and had an unsigned jackpot ticket carelessly stuffed in my pocket with a used tissue, accidentally discarded both in a trash receptacle and a street dweller fishes it out of the trash .............. then if I can show I purchased that ticket in some manner and state that I accidentally (carelessly) discarded it then I would have a legal claim to the ticket????????

      My previous statement was not meant to imply that a bearer instrument belonged to the holder of it if they obtained it in an unlawful manner.  I was primarily referencing both lottery tickets and coupon bonds, the latter of which I don't believe are issued any longer. 

      Good luck to everyone!

        fja's avatar - gnome1

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        Posted: December 20, 2005, 2:34 pm - IP Logged

        konane wrote:

        << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

         

        Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

        There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession.  The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's  almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

        The  first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the  ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

        The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling.  Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

        You seem to be essentially saying that if I were somewhere downtown and had an unsigned jackpot ticket carelessly stuffed in my pocket with a used tissue, accidentally discarded both in a trash receptacle and a street dweller fishes it out of the trash .............. then if I can show I purchased that ticket in some manner and state that I accidentally (carelessly) discarded it then I would have a legal claim to the ticket????????

        My previous statement was not meant to imply that a bearer instrument belonged to the holder of it if they obtained it in an unlawful manner.  I was primarily referencing both lottery tickets and coupon bonds, the latter of which I don't believe are issued any longer. 

        Would there be a difference in losing an unsigned jackpot ticket, claiming it as lost and showing proof of its ownership,,,then throwing away a unsigned jackpot ticket that that you viewed it as a loser and discarded it....(which is why he's stating that he knew it was a winner and just put it in the wrong stack of tickets)

        Not that I no what a judge would say, and I've heard everything there is to hear about this case....but if you decide on the basis of the law without predjudice or emotion,,,,wouldn't  you choose St. john 

          konane's avatar - wallace
          Atlanta, GA
          United States
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          March 13, 2003
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          Posted: December 20, 2005, 2:47 pm - IP Logged

          konane wrote:

          << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

           

          Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

          There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession.  The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's  almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

          The  first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the  ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

          The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling.  Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

          You seem to be essentially saying that if I were somewhere downtown and had an unsigned jackpot ticket carelessly stuffed in my pocket with a used tissue, accidentally discarded both in a trash receptacle and a street dweller fishes it out of the trash .............. then if I can show I purchased that ticket in some manner and state that I accidentally (carelessly) discarded it then I would have a legal claim to the ticket????????

          My previous statement was not meant to imply that a bearer instrument belonged to the holder of it if they obtained it in an unlawful manner.  I was primarily referencing both lottery tickets and coupon bonds, the latter of which I don't believe are issued any longer. 

          Would there be a difference in losing an unsigned jackpot ticket, claiming it as lost and showing proof of its ownership,,,then throwing away a unsigned jackpot ticket that that you viewed it as a loser and discarded it....(which is why he's stating that he knew it was a winner and just put it in the wrong stack of tickets)

          Not that I no what a judge would say, and I've heard everything there is to hear about this case....but if you decide on the basis of the law without predjudice or emotion,,,,wouldn't  you choose St. john 

          Hey, I'd choose St. John hands down based on the information we've been privy to. 

          His big mistake was in not cashing in the ticket before he announced it..... which precisely how a potential winner would handle my "winning ticket" I used as an illustration above.

          Good luck to everyone!

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            Sparta, NJ
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            July 9, 2005
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            Posted: December 20, 2005, 3:01 pm - IP Logged

            When you are raised in a society where you don't have to stand on your own two feet and be what you are, it is easy to start looking for some ones elses shoes to stand in - soon you can't tell the difference between their shoes or their pockets.

            Cheers

            |||::> *'`*:-.,_,.-:*''*:--->>> Chewie  <<<---.*''*:-.,_,.-:*''* <:::|||

            I only trust myself - and that's a questionable choice

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              NY
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              October 16, 2005
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              Posted: December 20, 2005, 6:59 pm - IP Logged

              fja wrote:

              << Would there be a difference in losing an unsigned jackpot ticket, claiming it as lost and showing proof of its ownership,,,then throwing away a unsigned jackpot ticket that that you viewed it as a loser and discarded it....(which is why he's stating that he knew it was a winner and just put it in the wrong stack of tickets)

              Not that I no what a judge would say, and I've heard everything there is to hear about this case....but if you decide on the basis of the law without predjudice or emotion,,,,wouldn't  you choose St. john  >>

              Obviously, being easily able to prove that something belonged to you is rather useful in trying to recover it. As for what happens if you throw something away by accident, it probably depends on how the court feels about your credibility. It will certainly help if you can demonstrate that you discovered the error and began trying to recover the property before somebody else made the loss known to you by finding it and telling people about it. Unless you've heard alot more than what has been in th enews accounts you haven't come close to hearing everything there is to hear about the case. There are a lot of unanswered questions, and it's possible that there will never be an answers to some of them.

              None of us knows for sure what a judge will say, or what a jury will decide.  How many people here believe OJ and Robert Blake were really innocent? Most people here are clearly not making unbiased decisions based on the law as evidenced by the repetition of the "finders keepers" phrase. We don't know for certain who it was, or why it happened, but somebody lost out on a million dollars, but almost everybody who has posted about it is farmore sympathetic  to St John even though he appears to have been just as dumb as the person who managed to lose track of the ticket. If  it hadn't quickly become common knowledge that he found the ticket the case would be much easier to decide. If Donovan came forward before the publicity he'd probably have a very good case. If he hadn't come forward at all we'd be as close to positive as we ever could be that he didn't know it was a winner when he threw it away. On the basis of law St John is only entitled to the ticket if it can be established that it wasn't discarded accidentally, or if it can't be established who the rightful owner is.

                TheGameGrl's avatar - character catafly.jpg
                A long and winding road
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                Posted: December 20, 2005, 7:28 pm - IP Logged

                I concur with Konane.

                KYFloyd- Did you study Massachusett state law? What Section code describes the rights of property verses a bearer's instrument. Might do some good to do a google search on Massachusett law and how it pertains to this case. I was amazed when I read up on it !

                ~~Is it true, Is it kind,Is it necessary. ~~~

                 Thanks be to the giving numbers: 1621,912,119 02014

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                  Posted: December 20, 2005, 8:47 pm - IP Logged

                  In final analysis, the Courts seek fairness. What is Fair here?

                  Cut and dry? Anyone who has ever dealt with the Courts as either a planitiff or a defendant knows that nothing is cut and dry to the Court. The judge/jury must hear the facts and decide what is fair. It's anyone's guess.

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                    October 23, 2005
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                    Posted: December 20, 2005, 11:20 pm - IP Logged

                    FIRST I READ: 

                     Although Donovan comes in the store almost every day, Varin said he doesn't know much about his unlucky customer. Judging from appearances, however, Varin says Donovan seems like a hard-working, blue collar-type who makes a decent living. And he's not a compulsive gambler.

                    "He's not one of those that has to play the lottery," he said. "He doesn't always buy lottery tickets."

                     

                    THEN I READ:

                    In a previous interview, Doyle claimed that, on the day of St. John's wastebasket windfall, Donovan had spent $600 on the Texas Hold 'em Poker game, purchasing all the tickets on the dispenser at the White Hen.

                    These statements seem to contradict themselves. Who would clean out a store spending $600 and then stand there and scratch them? Am I reading this incorrectly? That would take a lot of time. Plus, would there have been exactly 600 tickets left? Maybe I'm taking this too literally. Anyway, if he really did toss it in the trash, I feel sorry for him. But he is not entitled to one dime. Maybe I watch too much Law & Order but when they look through the trash they always say they don't need a warrant because it's public property.

                     

                     

                    I agree.  Something's fishy.  may just be an innocent fishy.  either way, donovan ed up by throwing his tickets away.

                    it's one thing if the ticket is stolen, or if the tickets were actually lost (he had it in his coat pocket, and the wind blew in such a way that things got scrambled).  that would be horrible, but there would be sympathy for him.

                    when you personally put something in the rubbish bin, though, you are giving up all claims to owning it.  you can't set a couch out in the student ghetto, then demand the couch back because you found out there was a $500 bill found in the cushions once some students picked up your trash.  you trashed it, willfully.  it is no longer yours. 

                    you can't have a garage sale -- or take items out to the city dump -- and basically give away old frames, then demand the paintings back once you find out that a frame given away is actually worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

                    Donovan is sh-- out of luck on this one. 

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                      Posted: December 20, 2005, 11:26 pm - IP Logged

                      konane wrote:

                      << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

                       

                      Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

                      There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession.  The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's  almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

                      The  first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the  ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

                      The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling.  Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

                      i always thought the difference between the dropped 20 dollar bill and a tossed away 20 dollar bill was a big one.  in one case you didn't mean to lose it, it just dropped.  it's still yours. or at least, it should be.  just like losing the keys to your car doesn't give the finder of those keys possession of the car as well as your keys.

                      now, if you purposefully dropped that 20 dollar bill in the trash bin, or stuck it in a stripper's g string, it's gone. you gave it away, you threw it away.  you can't have it back. 

                      but i'm not a lawyer, so maybe that's not how it works after all.  all in all, this thread has been some interesting food for thought.

                        konane's avatar - wallace
                        Atlanta, GA
                        United States
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                        March 13, 2003
                        3333 Posts
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                        Posted: December 21, 2005, 9:35 am - IP Logged

                        konane wrote:

                        << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

                         

                        Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

                        There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession. The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

                        The first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

                        The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling. Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

                        i always thought the difference between the dropped 20 dollar bill and a tossed away 20 dollar bill was a big one. in one case you didn't mean to lose it, it just dropped. it's still yours. or at least, it should be. just like losing the keys to your car doesn't give the finder of those keys possession of the car as well as your keys.

                        now, if you purposefully dropped that 20 dollar bill in the trash bin, or stuck it in a stripper's g string, it's gone. you gave it away, you threw it away. you can't have it back.

                        but i'm not a lawyer, so maybe that's not how it works after all. all in all, this thread has been some interesting food for thought.

                        Seems to be a prudent message that if something has importance to you such as a $600 roll of scratch-offs then exercise due care in handling them.

                        Take them to your auto or home to scratch them in a safe and organized manner.

                        Go through them carefully at least 3 or more times to verify any potential wins.

                        Sign winning tickets.

                        Make photos, scans or copies of winning tickets.

                        Maintain winning tickets in a safe place even if signed.

                        Most of all announce the win only after you've claimed it at lottery headquarters, and only if you feel obliged to share the news.        Big Grin Santa

                        Good luck to everyone!

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                          Coastal Georgia
                          United States
                          Member #2653
                          October 30, 2003
                          1866 Posts
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                          Posted: December 21, 2005, 2:16 pm - IP Logged

                          konane wrote:

                          << The person in whose hands it rests at the time of turning it in for cash is the legal owner. Period. >>

                           

                          Just like "finders keepers, losers weepers," people here can repeat that as many times as they want, but it's simply not true. While it may be presumed that the person in possession of a bearer instrument is the owner, there is absolutely nothing in the law that says that simple possession of a bearer instrument, or any other property, is proof of ownership. The money in your wallet is also a bearer instrument, but if you dropped a $20 bill and I picked it up before you and tried to keep it nobody here would think I actually owned it simply because it was in my possession or because I found it. The same holds true for other bearer instruments. If somebody else can prove that they are the rightful owner possession by another person is meaningless.

                          There is one fact in this story that everybody agrees to, and that is that St John found the ticket. That leads to another indisputable fact: somebody else was the owner before St John found it, but the ticket somehow left their possession. The legal issues are the identity of theoriginal owner and how the ticket left their possession. The law varies from place to place, but there is statutory law about ownership of lost property, and somebody who finds lost property is not entitled to ownership unless it goes unclaimed for a period of time defined by law. The law may or may not require an active effort to locate the rightful owner. It's almost certain that St John didn't follow the applicable laws about found property.

                          The first issue to resolve will be whether or not Donovan has a convincing case that he is really the original owner. Since nobody else has come forward to claim ownership of the ticket, he may be accepted as the original owner even with minimal proof. If Donovan prevails the second issue will be how the ticket left his possession. If he willfully discarded it in the trash then St John definitely has a legitimate claim to ownership, but "willfuly discarded" is a gray area. Deliberately throwing a stack of tickets in the trash without realizing that a winning ticket was accidentally put in that pile probably doesn't mean it was willfully discarded, but that leads to the question of whether or not he really knew the ticket was a winner. Since it's impossible to know for sure what his intent was, the outcome may well be based on a presumption that people don't throw away valuable items and that he didn't intend to discard it.

                          The job of the lottery department is to uphold their rules, not rule on matters of law, so they'll almost certainly rule in favor of St John unless they decide that the evidence for Donovan's case is compelling. Even so, they'll probably withold payment for a while because they don't want to risk a lawsuit if Donovan wins a court case but can't recover 100% of the money from St John. If Donovan's attorney is working for a contingency fee Donovan's cost for pursuing the case in court should be small enough that he will do so. St John will have to pay legal fees regardless of the outcome. There may not be much evidence on Donovan's side, but St John's case is seriously handicapped since there's no question that the ticket was found and not purchased. If the two of them have any sense at all they'll look at the maximum that either of them could net and work out a compromise from there.

                          i always thought the difference between the dropped 20 dollar bill and a tossed away 20 dollar bill was a big one. in one case you didn't mean to lose it, it just dropped. it's still yours. or at least, it should be. just like losing the keys to your car doesn't give the finder of those keys possession of the car as well as your keys.

                          now, if you purposefully dropped that 20 dollar bill in the trash bin, or stuck it in a stripper's g string, it's gone. you gave it away, you threw it away. you can't have it back.

                          but i'm not a lawyer, so maybe that's not how it works after all. all in all, this thread has been some interesting food for thought.

                          Seems to be a prudent message that if something has importance to you such as a $600 roll of scratch-offs then exercise due care in handling them.

                          Take them to your auto or home to scratch them in a safe and organized manner.

                          Go through them carefully at least 3 or more times to verify any potential wins.

                          Sign winning tickets.

                          Make photos, scans or copies of winning tickets.

                          Maintain winning tickets in a safe place even if signed.

                          Most of all announce the win only after you've claimed it at lottery headquarters, and only if you feel obliged to share the news.        Big Grin Santa

                          Excellent point, K.

                          I purchased a dozen paper slot machines this past weekend and scratched them with family members. We put the winners in a stack( not very many) and the losers in another.

                          As a rule I keep all losers for tax purposes, but I also like to look at them one more time.

                          Well, as I was looking at them that second time, I found a number we missed, and it was worth $10, so the moral is don't throw them in the trash-we all make mistakes and need to be darn sure they are losers before discarding them !!!!!

                           

                                                         

                                        

                           

                           

                            mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

                            United States
                            Member #24380
                            October 21, 2005
                            623 Posts
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                            Posted: December 23, 2005, 10:38 pm - IP Logged

                            Sometimes you're the windshield, sometimes you're the bug...

                             

                            DoubleDown

                            I have never hear it put like this. DoubleDown. Naughty I could have claimed that I threw my ticket away too.  I thought that it was so sad to harass the man about his good find.  One man's trash is another's treasure.  His ignorance in throwing the ticket away does not give him the right to claim it.  HIS NAME ON IT ANYWHERE????  Let me trapst from Alabama to claim that it was mine.  How ridicolous!  Have any of you heard the story of a person who bought a house and was cleaning out the attic and got rid of a van Gogh?  It was sold at a yard sale for $4.00 and the person who bought it was so excited about the tremendous bargain!...blabbed it to the papers, etc....anyway, the one who 'gave away a van Gogh'  (sold it at the yard sale for a mere 4 bucks) filed lawsuit claiming they did not realize they had gotten rid of a masterpiece and wanted money for what it was worth. 

                             

                             

                            Another's trash is another's treasure!

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                              New Mexico
                              United States
                              Member #12305
                              March 10, 2005
                              2984 Posts
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                              Posted: December 25, 2005, 1:44 pm - IP Logged

                              In final analysis, the Courts seek fairness. What is Fair here?

                              Cut and dry? Anyone who has ever dealt with the Courts as either a planitiff or a defendant knows that nothing is cut and dry to the Court. The judge/jury must hear the facts and decide what is fair. It's anyone's guess.

                              In the final analysis the Courts seek to uphold the law.  Fair has nothing to do with it unless the statutes are written with that in mind, which they sometimes are, sometimes aren't.

                              But those lawyers in a good court aren't going to be allowed to present evidence about abstractions.  They're going to have to present evidence pertaining to precisely what the statutes codify.  Nothing less, nothing more.

                              Fair is just a concept with too much elbow room inside it to allow it in a court of law.

                              Jack

                              Absorb the good, ignore the bad, weigh the ugly.

                              It's about number behavior.

                              Egos don't count.

                               

                              Dedicated to the memory of Big Loooser