If You Win the Lotto in NJ, Don’t Quit Your Job and Hide the Money from Your Poolmates.

Office lotto pools are probably only second in US popularity to the NCAA basketball bracket pools.  The case of Silva v. Lopes arises out of just such an office pool.  Basically what happened is that 6 construction workers would pool their money to buy Mega Millions tickets when the jackpot exceeded $50,000,000; Lopes would then buy the tickets.  So it was in November of 2009 –except this time one of the tickets Lopes bought was the winning $77,000,000 ticket.  Lopes returned to work the day after winning the lotto.  The next day he quit his job and claimed a foot injury.  He then claimed the jackpot which his co-workers found out about through the grapevine. The instant lawsuit was commenced.  After an 8 day trial in Union County, the jury found for the defendants and awarded them their share of the lotto winnings.  What makes the award somewhat unusual is that there were no written documents that confirmed the arrangement between the plaintiffs and Lopes.  But it seems clear that the jurors smelled a rat when they heard all the evidence.

For more information about this post, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.