A lawyer representing three people who sued their co-workers seeking a share of their $315 million lottery win was ordered Tuesday to pay a nearly $382,000 fine.
Orange County Judge Michael Brenner ordered attorney Mark H. Williams to pay the seven lottery winners after determining he pursued the lawsuits knowing the allegations lacked merit.
The amount was the equivalent to legal fees incurred by the "Lucky Seven," who pooled money to buy the winning Mega Millions multi-state lottery ticket, said defense attorney Larry S. Zeman.
Speaking on behalf of his clients, Zeman said they felt "vindicated by the legal system."
"The system did its job and held responsible the people who brought these baseless claims," Zeman said.
Williams was not in court when the judge imposed the sanction. An attempt to reach him at his Long Beach office was unsuccessful.
Within the last 30 days, Brenner dismissed lawsuits brought by Williams on behalf of three co-workers who claimed they deserved a share of the jackpot because of an oral agreement that everyone would be included whenever they pooled their money to buy tickets.
A lawsuit filed by a fourth co-worker also was dismissed.
The defendants — six lab technicians and a receptionist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Garden Grove — contend it was their first time they took part in the office pool.
Each put in $3 for 21 tickets. With the winning ticket, each took home a lump sum payment of about $20 million.
The Nov. 15 jackpot was the second largest in state history and one of the largest in the United States.