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Mistrial declared in $4M lottery ticket dispute

Massachusetts LotteryMassachusetts Lottery: Mistrial declared in $4M lottery ticket dispute

A former convenience store clerk will keep collecting winnings from a $4 million Massachusetts Lottery scratch ticket after a Superior Court judge declared a mistrial yesterday in a dispute over ownership of the ticket.

The civil jury in Barnstable Superior Court was deadlocked after nearly four days of deliberations, unable to decide if the winning ticket properly belonged to a Falmouth retiree who sued to claim the prize.

Julie Prive has been collecting winnings on the ticket since 2002. Lottery officials say they will keep paying unless a court rules otherwise.

"I just hope we don't have to go through another long two years again," Prive said outside the courthouse. "The jury did their job. They did the best they could. It is a tough case."

Prive had regularly collected discarded tickets and entered them in the lottery's second-chance game designed to prdvent litter. While double-checking the used tickets, she said she found a winner worth $4 million.

But Raymond MacDonald and Monica Hertz claim the winning ticket -- No. 93 in the book of $10 tickets -- was among the 45 tickets they bought that day, May 17.

"It's something that you have to do when you know that you bought the ticket," MacDonald said. "You've just got to go through with it."

MacDonald, a retiree from Falmouth, testified that he plays the lottery two or three times a day, spending upward of $100. He won a $2 million jackpot from a scratch ticket in 1997.

MacDonald and his lawyer, Leigh-Ann Patterson, plan to announce today whether they would seek a new trial.

Before the sides left the courtroom, Judge John Connor urged them to reach a settlement.

"I hope that it sends a signal to all the litigants in this case that they should stand back and see whether or not they can resolve this case before it comes to another jury," Connor said.

MacDonald has a distinctive "scratch signature" that would make it possible to show he once had held the ticket, his lawyers said.

Attorneys for Julie Prive and her husband, David, said ownership of the ticket is not clear cut.

Although the Prives told the lottery commission that Julie had found the ticket, she told a Cape Cod Times reporter at the time that she bought the ticket after she got off work.

MacDonald and Hertz have tried to stop the Prives from collecting their winnings -- $200,000 a year for 20 years before taxes. So far, the Prives have been paid $600,000, before taxes.

AP

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4 comments. Last comment 12 years ago by piket31.
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United States
Member #972
December 30, 2002
465 Posts
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Posted: August 19, 2004, 3:51 pm - IP Logged

Prive admits she found the ticket; therefore, somebody else bought the ticket. They can both agree on that. And no other parties have come forward to say they might have lost a jackpot winning ticket, so if MacDonald and Hertz are lying, then the real ticket buyer is unaware to this day...which is probably not the case. But a lottery ticket is a bearer instrument...and who wouldn't claim that bag of money on the ground? I would probably shrug and toss my hands up in this case too.

But how much did both parties spend on lawyers to get this mistrail?

>MacDonald has a distinctive "scratch signature" that would make it possible to show he once had held the ticket, his lawyers said.

Didn't that come out in the trail? If so, I guess the jury didn't buy it. Or if they bought it said so what, whoever has the ticket is the winner.


    United States
    Member #379
    June 5, 2002
    11296 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: August 19, 2004, 4:36 pm - IP Logged

    There are no real winners.

      RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
      mid-Ohio
      United States
      Member #9
      March 24, 2001
      19813 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: August 19, 2004, 6:18 pm - IP Logged

      Lotteries have alway had a simple rule for who gets the winnings and that is the person who signs the winning tickets.  Touching the ticket, predicting the winning numbers or even buying the winning tickets doesn't change that. When lawyers can convince a jury to change that rule, the real winner is the lawyer.

      RJOh

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

        Avatar

        United States
        Member #1505
        May 13, 2003
        95 Posts
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        Posted: August 19, 2004, 7:04 pm - IP Logged

        in n y state 99% STORE