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Lawyer in $315 million lottery lawsuits ordered to pay fine

Mega MillionsMega Millions: Lawyer in $315 million lottery lawsuits ordered to pay fine

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.

AP

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8 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by HiYoSilver.
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RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
mid-Ohio
United States
Member #9
March 24, 2001
19830 Posts
Online
Posted: March 22, 2007, 12:29 pm - IP Logged

I would like to see more such decisions handed down, maybe it would stop people with fruitless claims suing lottery winners or trying to black-mail them into a settlement to avoid the additional expense and delay of going to court.

 * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
   
             Evil Looking       

    Todd's avatar - Cylon 2.gif
    Chief Bottle Washer
    New Jersey
    United States
    Member #1
    May 31, 2000
    23273 Posts
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    Posted: March 22, 2007, 12:47 pm - IP Logged

    I would like to see more such decisions handed down, maybe it would stop people with fruitless claims suing lottery winners or trying to black-mail them into a settlement to avoid the additional expense and delay of going to court.

    I Agree!

     

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      Raven62's avatar - binary
      New Jersey
      United States
      Member #17843
      June 28, 2005
      49784 Posts
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      Posted: March 22, 2007, 12:51 pm - IP Logged

      This one is for the History Books: They Dismissed the Lawsuit and they Fined the Attorney! Thumbs Up

      A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

        Jill34786's avatar - Lottery-006.jpg
        Windermere, FL/Franklin, TN
        United States
        Member #50210
        March 1, 2007
        843 Posts
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        Posted: March 22, 2007, 4:05 pm - IP Logged

        The judge should have also fined the 4 co-workers who brought up the suit. Attaching a portion of their wages would have been fair as well as sweet justice.

          Avatar
          California
          United States
          Member #46824
          October 1, 2006
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          Posted: March 22, 2007, 4:20 pm - IP Logged

          The item in the article I found very interesting was that the defendants ... contend it was their first time they took part in the office pool.  Therefore how it would have been very difficult to prove there was an  oral agreement that everyone would be included whenever they pooled their money to buy ticket.  That may have been why the judge took the action he did.  Had there been a history of purchases with a patttern of activity developed, it might have been different.

            konane's avatar - wallace
            Atlanta, GA
            United States
            Member #1265
            March 13, 2003
            3333 Posts
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            Posted: March 22, 2007, 4:25 pm - IP Logged

            Totally awesome precedent in both regards ..... hope it's the beginning of a national trend which eliminates frivolous lawsuits of all types.

            Good luck to everyone!

              RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
              mid-Ohio
              United States
              Member #9
              March 24, 2001
              19830 Posts
              Online
              Posted: March 22, 2007, 4:58 pm - IP Logged

              The judge should have also fined the 4 co-workers who brought up the suit. Attaching a portion of their wages would have been fair as well as sweet justice.

              Unless their lawyer included the phrase "I don't get paid unless you get paid" in his contract, they still have to come up with some money to pay him.

               * you don't need to buy more tickets, just buy a winning ticket * 
                 
                           Evil Looking       

                Avatar
                MI
                United States
                Member #20229
                August 14, 2005
                59 Posts
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                Posted: March 23, 2007, 8:32 am - IP Logged

                Too bad this is not done in most lawsuits where people are sued needlessly. Make the loser pay the legal fees and you would see a 90% drop in lawsuits over night.

                The same thing should happen if you are accused of a crime and acquitted. Had a friend accused of getting kickbacks for construction jobs. It cost him over 20 thousand to defend himself and then the case was dropped because the company had made a mistake. He couldn't sue to recover his money because it was a government agency that initiated the claim.