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Family sues lottery ticket finder

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Family sues lottery ticket finder

Winner picked ticket out of the trash, family rejected offer of one-third of jackpot

The heirs of a Blackstone man who tossed away a $1 million scratch ticket are suing the man who picked it out of the garbage, alleging he stole it.

Daniel Donovan, the executor of his father Kevin Donovan's estate, filed suit May 26 against Edward St. John, who found the ticket, and Joseph Sullivan, the executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.

The lawsuit, filed in Worcester Superior Court, came less than a month after the lottery commission ruled against Donovan's estate.

In October, Kevin Donovan bought the winning "Hold'Em Poker" ticket at a White Hen pantry in Blackstone. But he mistakenly discarded the winning ticket and left the store.

St. John, 83, who lives near the convenience store, found it later during his regular routine of sifting through wastebaskets. He showed it to a store clerk, who remembered Donovan had purchased it and called him. Donovan filed a claim with the lottery alleging he was the rightful owner.

Kevin Donovan, 49, died from a heart ailment on Jan. 31.

In April, the commission ruled against him, ruling that a lottery ticket is like legal tender and certain kinds of bonds — possession is all that is required to prove ownership.

St. John told The Call of Woonsocket, R.I., that he offered Donovan's heirs a third of the winnings, but they wanted half.

"I told my lawyers to take my offer off the table and they get exactly zero," he said. "I'm not going to pay them one penny. They had their opportunity before and they were greedy."

AP

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19 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by LckyLary.
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Avatar
North Brunswick NJ
United States
Member #39013
May 8, 2006
12209 Posts
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Posted: June 14, 2006, 8:43 am - IP Logged

Finder Keeper Hyper, Loser WeeperSad

    spy153's avatar - maren

    United States
    Member #28409
    December 15, 2005
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    Posted: June 14, 2006, 9:01 am - IP Logged

    he was being generous to that family. they were stupid.

    voir-vous dans mes reves!Cool


      United States
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      June 5, 2002
      11296 Posts
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      Posted: June 14, 2006, 9:38 am - IP Logged

      "Bad news" is more likely to be associated with annuity prizes than lump-sum winners. It sure seems this way.

        konane's avatar - wallace
        Atlanta, GA
        United States
        Member #1265
        March 13, 2003
        3333 Posts
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        Posted: June 14, 2006, 10:03 am - IP Logged

        "In April, the commission ruled against him, ruling that a lottery ticket is like legal tender and certain kinds of bonds — possession is all that is required to prove ownership.

        St. John told The Call of Woonsocket, R.I., that he offered Donovan's heirs a third of the winnings, but they wanted half.

        "I told my lawyers to take my offer off the table and they get exactly zero," he said. "I'm not going to pay them one penny. They had their opportunity before and they were greedy."

        Likely because of the offer to give up a portion, the courts will no doubt award a portion of the win to the heirs.  Might have been better to offer nothing due to the lottery commission's ruling and let them proceed. 

        I hope St. John gets the whole amount and is able to collect court costs and his attorney fees. 

        Good luck to everyone!

          Avatar

          United States
          Member #26469
          November 18, 2005
          160 Posts
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          Posted: June 14, 2006, 11:37 am - IP Logged

          As far as I know,lottery tickets are "bearer instruments".If you have it in your hand and the ticket has NOT been signed,it's tough luck if you lost it.

          St. John didn't have to offer anything.I hope he gets to keep it all.

          Stupidity seems to run in the Donovan family.First tossing the ticket,then being greedy. 

          How can you steal a ticket that has been thrown away in a private business.I don't think the Donovans own that trash can. 

            Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
            FEMA Region V Camp #21
            United States
            Member #520
            July 27, 2002
            5699 Posts
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            Posted: June 14, 2006, 12:40 pm - IP Logged

            The crux of the suit is that the ticket was stolen. It was not found on his property or person and wasn't signed to indicate that it was his. The only one that can attest that it was his was the store clerk and that's word against word. The ticket says right on the back of it that it's a bearer instrument. You cannot SAY the ticket is yours. It must be in your possession, signed by you, with verification of your signature and social security number in order to recieve payment. If it had indeed been stolen, the lottery officials would have discovered this in the process of verifying the ticket and its owner.

            No case, case closed, next case.

            Lesson: sign your tickets right after receiving them to indicate you are the rightful owner of that ticket. If it ends up in the garbage, you may still have a case.

            I'm glad the man rescinded his one-third offer after the greedy family and its shyster counsel refused it. The worms deserve it and hopefully he will countersuit for all expenses related to defending himself against these vultures. They've forgotten about the guy who won the money in the first place. Sad. I hope my kids don't "remember" me like that.

            Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


              Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
              FEMA Region V Camp #21
              United States
              Member #520
              July 27, 2002
              5699 Posts
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              Posted: June 14, 2006, 1:29 pm - IP Logged

              ...and another thing...how did the store clerk know it was Donavan's ticket? It was an instant ticket, not a longtime combo the customer had been playing for years. Any number of people could have discarded their instant tickets in that trash can. How could he possibly know that Donavan purchased that particular ticket? Why did he quickly call Donavan to verify that it was his? Can we say collusion against an 83 year old man?

              This smells faintly of crap and if that was my store I wouldn't buy a piece of bubble gum from the crooks.

              Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                Avatar
                USA
                United States
                Member #1849
                July 15, 2003
                265 Posts
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                Posted: June 14, 2006, 1:30 pm - IP Logged

                GREEDY FAMILY - something is always better than nothing and after lawyers fees and time spent in court it will be worth less than one third. Add this to the dumb people lottery collection.

                  konane's avatar - wallace
                  Atlanta, GA
                  United States
                  Member #1265
                  March 13, 2003
                  3333 Posts
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                  Posted: June 14, 2006, 3:06 pm - IP Logged

                  Raise your hand if you'd like a jury summons for that trial!!  Green laugh  Green laugh  Green laugh  Mine's up!!

                  Good luck to everyone!

                    Kidzmom's avatar - cold
                    NC
                    United States
                    Member #11741
                    February 23, 2005
                    1233 Posts
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                    Posted: June 14, 2006, 6:12 pm - IP Logged

                    Very sad situation however the ticket was lost and it was found so the finder is the rightful owner of the ticket because it was not even signed by the one who lost it.  He was trying to do a good thing by offering to share but GREED stands in a class all of its own.  This is why they have no money for it.

                     

                     

                     

                    "Money is not the root of all evil- - people are"

                      Avatar
                      USA
                      United States
                      Member #1849
                      July 15, 2003
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                      Posted: June 14, 2006, 7:15 pm - IP Logged

                      It's not money it's the love of money; the actual verse is found in 1st Timothy chapter 6 verse 10:

                       

                      For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

                       

                       

                      It's the love of money, not money itself causing people to act foolishly.

                       

                      Cheers,

                       

                      Acro

                        jeffrey's avatar - moon
                        Hamilton, OH
                        United States
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                        March 27, 2004
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                        Posted: June 14, 2006, 7:54 pm - IP Logged

                        It was really nice to offer a 1/3 to the family. I believe that even though you find something you should try to find the owner otherwise it is like theft. I know this is an unpopular idea. I once found a wallet full of money and walked 2 miles to the address in the wallet. The man opened the door, took the wallet and said, "The money had better all be there." and then closed the door. The next time I found a bunch of money I kept the money and threw the wallet in a public mailbox. I was wrong, 2 wrongs do not make a right.

                        The man who found the ticket was a saint for offering something to the family and that kind of Karma can grow. God bless you.

                          Rick G's avatar - avatar 1766.jpg
                          FEMA Region V Camp #21
                          United States
                          Member #520
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                          Posted: June 14, 2006, 9:53 pm - IP Logged

                          Jeffrey, that was an interesting comment. Don't kick an honest man in the face lest he kick you in the ass.

                          Posted 4/6:  IL Pick 3 midday and evening until they hit:  555, 347 (str8).


                            emilyg's avatar - cat anm.gif

                            United States
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                            November 9, 2001
                            31342 Posts
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                            Posted: June 14, 2006, 10:09 pm - IP Logged

                            Raise your hand if you'd like a jury summons for that trial!!  Green laugh  Green laugh  Green laugh  Mine's up!!

                                                       

                             

                                                                       Hand         Hand 





                            love to nibble those micey feet.