An Ohio man who missed his weekly work lottery pool while he was out with a back injury is suing his co-workers for a share of their $99 million jackpot.
For 8 years, Edward Hairston diligently contributed $15 per month to his lottery office pool. His lawyer claimed he was cheated out of the winnings because he had no way of making the payments to the group.
Last week, Ohio Judge Eileen T. Gallagher ordered the Lottery Commission to put aside $1.8m of the jackpot, in case Mr Hairston is successful with his lawsuit.
The 22 winners in the group were employees of KraftMaid in Youngstown, Ohio
Hairston, a father-of-one, had stopped paying his $15 per month while he was off. He contacted his co-workers the day after they won the August 5th mega millions jackpot, but was told he was not going to get any of the prize.
Edward Hairston’s lawyer said the group’s unwritten policy for years was to cover colleagues who were unable to make the payment because of illness, holidays or other reasons.
The monthly dues were placed in an account that also contained past winnings of smaller amounts, then weekly lottery tickets would be purchased.
On one occasion, one co-worker made payments on behalf of a missing member for 5 months while she was on medical leave, according to Hairston.
Hairston also claims he covered for an absent co-worker with money out of his own pocket.
According to Hairston’s lawyer, “Money sometimes has a way of changing a person. For a lack of $15, it cost him $2 million.”
Lawyers for the other 22 winners insists that the decision to deny Hairston a portion of the winnings is nothing personal.
Kerin Lyn Kaminski said: “Put yourself in their position – everybody wishes everybody could win, but it doesn’t always work out that way.”
Members of the group have yet to receive their money but several have already quit their jobs in anticipation of the cash windfall.
Legal issue: Is some of the money rightfully Hairston’s?
A jury will decide if Edward Hairston, 39, is entitled to any money when a civil trial begins on December 12.
Similar lottery lawsuits have been filed in the past, destroying social bonds and replacing friendship and love with acrimony. Perhaps office lottery pools are a bad idea.