A lawsuit launched by a New Westminster, British Columbia, woman who claims she was tricked out of her equal share of a $12.6 million lottery jackpot is going to a full trial.
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled that the legal action filed by Maria Ganguin over the winning Canada Lotto 6/49 ticket against her ex-business partner, Maria Fehr, and her husband, Daniel Fehr, should be settled with full testimony before a trial judge.
The defendants sought to have the matter resolved in a summary trial where the ruling would be based primarily on affidavits.
The plaintiff sought a full trial, in which the Fehrs' credibility could be tested under cross-examination. The B.C. Lottery Corporation is also a defendant in the legal action.
Ganguin and Maria Fehr previously ran a catering business together and had agreed that each could regularly use money from their business to purchase lottery tickets.
They agreed to equally divide any prize money.
Maria Fehr claimed that the $20 she used in November 2008 to buy the winning lottery ticket came from her husband, not from a cash box in one of the two delivery trucks she owned with Ganguin.
After the jackpot was announced, Ganguin signed a waiver for the B.C. Lottery Corporation in which she accepted that the winning ticket was not purchased through their business.
Ganguin alleged that Maria Fehr initially told her that Daniel Fehr had bought the winning ticket.
She became suspicious later when she read in a newspaper article that Maria Fehr had purchased the ticket while on her coffee truck route and that her business partner was the first name on the check issued by the BCLC.
After consulting a lawyer, Ganguin proceeded with the lawsuit.
Justice Trevor Armstrong, in his ruling last week, said there is no independent evidence showing whether the fateful ticket was bought with money from the cash box or from Daniel Fehr.
In the absence of such evidence, said Armstrong, the plaintiff's only hope is for a trial judge to disbelieve the defendant's evidence after hearing cross-examination of both parties.
"Although Ms. Ganguin may have a steep uphill struggle to shake Ms. Fehr's credibility," wrote Justice Armstrong, "it is my view it would be unjust to deprive Ms. Ganguin of a full trial."
Thanks to w794728 for the tip.