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Lottery winner doesn't have to share

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Judge: Woman, 87, doesn't have to split windfall with sister

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — An elderly Connecticut woman does not have to share her half of a $500,000 lottery windfall with her sister who sued her over it, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Eighty-seven-year-old Rose Bakaysa and her 84-year-old sister, Theresa Sokaitis, have been fighting over the money in court since 2005. That was shortly after Bakaysa and their brother won the Powerball jackpot.

Sokaitis argued they had signed a notarized contract a decade earlier to split all gambling profits. But Bakaysa maintained that the deal ended in 2004 during a spat over a few hundred dollars.

New Britain Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton agreed with Bakaysa, ruling that the contract ended during the argument.

AP

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15 comments. Last comment 7 years ago by tiggs95.
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rdgrnr's avatar - walt
Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
United States
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April 28, 2009
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Posted: May 12, 2010, 8:10 pm - IP Logged

There has to be a little bit more to it than the AP account.

Most likely that the argument led the plaintiff to stop contributing to the purchase of the community tickets in which case I would agree with the ruling.

Otherwise, I don't understand how an argument could render a signed and notarized contract null and void.

It's a shame that money can cause a rift like this between two sisters at that age.


                                             
                     
                                         

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                   

"The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                            --Edmund Burke

 

 

    HaveABall's avatar - rocket

    United States
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    March 18, 2009
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    Posted: May 12, 2010, 8:13 pm - IP Logged

    "Sokaitis argued they had signed a notarized contract a decade earlier to split all gambling profits. But Bakaysa maintained that the deal ended in 2004 during a spat over a few hundred dollars.  New Britain Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton agreed with Bakaysa, ruling that the contract ended during the argument."

    Oh, goodie, by this odd judge's logic, it means that the notarized contract that I have with my mortgage holder ends if I get in any type of argument with them -- I'll no longer have to honor my agreement by paying what I agreed!?! Well, isn't that SPECIAL!

    Smash

    Having several millions of dollars in my financial accounts means receiving several valuable services each day!

    Disney

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      California
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      October 7, 2009
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      Posted: May 12, 2010, 11:44 pm - IP Logged

      "An elderly Connecticut woman does not have to share her half of a$500,000 lottery windfall with her sister who sued her over it, a judgeruled Wednesday."

      The part the story left out was the lawyers ended up with most of the money (after taxes) since they charge $300/hour.  Wink

      Seriously, think about it.  A $500K jackpot is $325K after taxes (35% federal).  If the case went on since 2005, that's 5 years.  There are 2,080 working hours in a year!  Let's estimate the lawyers charged 110 hours per year for a total of 550 hours.  That's less than 3 weeks of work per year.  That's certainly a very low estimate because the actual number of hours charged was probably much higher but let's go with 550.

      This means the total lawyers' fees charged was 550 hours times $300 or $165K.  I am not even counting para-legal (legal aides to lawyers) fees or court fees.  It would have been cheaper, and wiser, to give half the winnings to the sister and not fight over it.  Half of the after tax jackpot was $325K/2 or $162,500.  IMHO, this is what happens when good judgment is not used.

        RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
        mid-Ohio
        United States
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        March 24, 2001
        19825 Posts
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        Posted: May 13, 2010, 12:09 am - IP Logged

        "An elderly Connecticut woman does not have to share her half of a$500,000 lottery windfall with her sister who sued her over it, a judgeruled Wednesday."

        The part the story left out was the lawyers ended up with most of the money (after taxes) since they charge $300/hour.  Wink

        Seriously, think about it.  A $500K jackpot is $325K after taxes (35% federal).  If the case went on since 2005, that's 5 years.  There are 2,080 working hours in a year!  Let's estimate the lawyers charged 110 hours per year for a total of 550 hours.  That's less than 3 weeks of work per year.  That's certainly a very low estimate because the actual number of hours charged was probably much higher but let's go with 550.

        This means the total lawyers' fees charged was 550 hours times $300 or $165K.  I am not even counting para-legal (legal aides to lawyers) fees or court fees.  It would have been cheaper, and wiser, to give half the winnings to the sister and not fight over it.  Half of the after tax jackpot was $325K/2 or $162,500.  IMHO, this is what happens when good judgment is not used.

        In an earlier LP news stories about this case it was said she and her brother bought the ticket so she had already split it with him which meant she started out with only $250K.  That's one of the problem when you allow family or friends to think they are entitled to half your stuff regardless of the situation.

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

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          NY
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          October 16, 2005
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          Posted: May 13, 2010, 2:13 am - IP Logged

          "Sokaitis argued they had signed a notarized contract a decade earlier to split all gambling profits. But Bakaysa maintained that the deal ended in 2004 during a spat over a few hundred dollars.  New Britain Superior Court Judge Cynthia Swienton agreed with Bakaysa, ruling that the contract ended during the argument."

          Oh, goodie, by this odd judge's logic, it means that the notarized contract that I have with my mortgage holder ends if I get in any type of argument with them -- I'll no longer have to honor my agreement by paying what I agreed!?! Well, isn't that SPECIAL!

          Smash

          Fortunately the judge had more to work with than logic. The judge also had an understanding of contract law and the ability to recognize that a mortgage between a borrower and a lender is substantially different than an agreement between friends or relatives to share something equally.

          Your mortgage is an agreement to repay money the bank already gave you, and it includes very specific terms detailing when your contractual obligation ends. While there would be other details, the main provision of your mortgage is repaying the money so that you and the lender will have benefitted equally.

          The contract between the sisters was an agreement to share equally in any future winnings. Based on the reports I've seen there was no provision detailing what each party would spend on gambling, but the existence of the contract warrants the assumption that both parties felt that their contributions would be equal enough. So long as neither party won a prize each party would have received equal benefit at any given point in time.  That the contract failed to include any specific provison for termination doesn't mean that it must last until one of the parties dies. So long as each party's benefit  from the contract remained equaleither party would have been free to dissolve the contract at will at any time. Given that there was apparently a complete estrangement of the personal relationship between the sisters it's perfectly reasonable to assume that they would have intended to terminate any other relationship unless they were obligated to continue.  That makes it perfectly reasonable to rule that the contract ended when the relationship ended, so long as each party had benefitted equally from the contract *as of that time*.  Since there were no winnings shared after the contract was made and before the relationship ended they both benefitted equally under the contract.

          The only thing that  really kept this from being a slam dunk was that the sisters did share a substantial prize, but that came before the contract was made. That might have allowed the judge to rule that there had not been an equal benefit, since both had contributed to the gambling expense, but only one had shared her winnings with the other. Since that prize was shared before the contract, neither party had to agree to the contract, so it's reasonable to rule that the contractual requirements were not dependent on the previous prize.

            dr65's avatar - black panther.jpg
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            Posted: May 13, 2010, 6:56 am - IP Logged

            I am happy to see she didn't have to split the winnings with her sister. I think anger and envy played a big part in her attempt to get her share.

            It is terrible what money does to some people, it really wasn't that much and with legal fees is probably a lot less.

              Grovel's avatar - f800e6a39fbfea795d1dcbb09f2244
              Little Rock, AR
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              Posted: May 13, 2010, 8:33 am - IP Logged

              Just because you sign something does not make it a legal enforcable document. I could sign a document saying I would split my Jackpot with everyone on LP if I won. Doesn't mean you could enforce it if I actually won watch.

               

              "

              I hearby promise to split my jackpot with everyone on LP if I win the lottery.

               

               

              Marcus Baker.

              "

               

               

              Good luck taking that to court.

                konane's avatar - wallace
                Atlanta, GA
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                Posted: May 13, 2010, 11:02 am - IP Logged

                Fortunately the judge had more to work with than logic. The judge also had an understanding of contract law and the ability to recognize that a mortgage between a borrower and a lender is substantially different than an agreement between friends or relatives to share something equally.

                Your mortgage is an agreement to repay money the bank already gave you, and it includes very specific terms detailing when your contractual obligation ends. While there would be other details, the main provision of your mortgage is repaying the money so that you and the lender will have benefitted equally.

                The contract between the sisters was an agreement to share equally in any future winnings. Based on the reports I've seen there was no provision detailing what each party would spend on gambling, but the existence of the contract warrants the assumption that both parties felt that their contributions would be equal enough. So long as neither party won a prize each party would have received equal benefit at any given point in time.  That the contract failed to include any specific provison for termination doesn't mean that it must last until one of the parties dies. So long as each party's benefit  from the contract remained equaleither party would have been free to dissolve the contract at will at any time. Given that there was apparently a complete estrangement of the personal relationship between the sisters it's perfectly reasonable to assume that they would have intended to terminate any other relationship unless they were obligated to continue.  That makes it perfectly reasonable to rule that the contract ended when the relationship ended, so long as each party had benefitted equally from the contract *as of that time*.  Since there were no winnings shared after the contract was made and before the relationship ended they both benefitted equally under the contract.

                The only thing that  really kept this from being a slam dunk was that the sisters did share a substantial prize, but that came before the contract was made. That might have allowed the judge to rule that there had not been an equal benefit, since both had contributed to the gambling expense, but only one had shared her winnings with the other. Since that prize was shared before the contract, neither party had to agree to the contract, so it's reasonable to rule that the contractual requirements were not dependent on the previous prize.

                KY Floyd you must be a retired attorney or judge or at the very least a paralegal.  Have read some of your opinions over time and came to that conclusion long ago.   Thank you for your opinions, you've dispelled lots of confusion!   Big Grin

                Good luck to everyone!

                  Avatar
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                  Posted: May 13, 2010, 11:58 am - IP Logged

                  What I don't see mentioned here that I did see in other news, is that the sister that brought the lawsuit TORE the contract up after an earlier dispute and ceased playing with her sister.   That makes it very clear to me that the winning sister didn't have to share her prize since this sister ended the agreement earlier and now is only suing since the other one won big.

                    charmed7's avatar - Lottery-013.jpg
                    MICHIGAN
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                    Posted: May 13, 2010, 12:01 pm - IP Logged

                    Its a shame 2 sisters would have to do that, and n there 80's WOW.

                    I wonder why she didn't think her sister wouldn't give her some?

                    GREED, oh well she doesn't have to share anyway!

                    LIVE the LIFE you LOVE......LOVE the LIFE you LIVE

                    Bob MarleyCheers

                      truecritic's avatar - PirateTreasure
                      Michigan
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                      Posted: May 13, 2010, 1:16 pm - IP Logged

                      Interesting to go back to the original article and read the responses there and here of the same LP members. 

                      Sisters' lottery jackpot trial begins today - Lottery News:
                      http://www.lotterypost.com/news/211139

                        ca-dreamin*'s avatar - Lottery-065.jpg
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                        Posted: May 13, 2010, 8:38 pm - IP Logged

                        I am happy to see she didn't have to split the winnings with her sister. I think anger and envy played a big part in her attempt to get her share.

                        It is terrible what money does to some people, it really wasn't that much and with legal fees is probably a lot less.

                        I agree!!!!!

                          tiggs95's avatar - Lottery-036.jpg

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                          Posted: May 14, 2010, 10:00 pm - IP Logged

                          There has to be a little bit more to it than the AP account.

                          Most likely that the argument led the plaintiff to stop contributing to the purchase of the community tickets in which case I would agree with the ruling.

                          Otherwise, I don't understand how an argument could render a signed and notarized contract null and void.

                          It's a shame that money can cause a rift like this between two sisters at that age.

                          ridge tiggs is surprised you haven't hit on on of those 84 year olds..Or maybe you have and are to ashamed to tell..Or maybe they turned you down..hahaha..Yeah that's it you got tuned down by some 84 year oldly...

                            rdgrnr's avatar - walt
                            Way back up in them dadgum hills, son!
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                            Posted: May 14, 2010, 10:18 pm - IP Logged

                            ridge tiggs is surprised you haven't hit on on of those 84 year olds..Or maybe you have and are to ashamed to tell..Or maybe they turned you down..hahaha..Yeah that's it you got tuned down by some 84 year oldly...

                            I just didn't feel the love connection tiggs. The numbers just weren't right. High age/low jackpot relationships never work out for some reason.


                                                                         
                                                 
                                                                     

                             

                             

                             

                             

                                                                                                                               

                            "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing"

                                                                                                                        --Edmund Burke