Common Law Spouses
Chatham Woman Sues Former Common Law Partner for Half of Lottery Win
A Chatham, Ontario woman has sued her ex-partner for half of a $6.1 million Lotto 6/49 win. She is claiming that he allegedly lied to her about a winning lottery ticket bought while they were still together and, instead, left her and then claimed the full prize for himself.
The woman is accusing her former common law partner of breach of trust and unjust enrichment and is seeking half of the winnings from the ticket ($3,073,361.15) as well as $500,000 in aggravated damages. She has requested a jury trial.
The former couple lived together from July 2015 until their split in September 2017. They had a long-standing tradition of playing the lottery with the understanding that winnings would be split between them. They purchased lotto tickets for almost the full duration of their relationship, often alternating which of them s would buy the tickets.
In September 2017, the man in question bought what ended up being the winning ticket but neglected to tell the woman of his success. The woman claims that when she heard that a $6-million ticket had been sold in Chatham she asked the man whether it was the one he had purchased, but he allegedly told her that he lost their ticket. Several days later, he packed up his things, left their shared home, and only then attempted to redeem the ticket.
Around the same time, the man allegedly texted his boss telling him that: “Denise and I are no longer together. Since I left her Monday another life-changing thing has happened. I am sad to tell you by text but I will not be coming back to work.” The text included a photo of the winning lottery ticket.
The man denies that the former couple ever had an agreement about lottery winnings. He claims he has complied with an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) investigation, has taken (and passed) a polygraph test, and has criticized the woman for bringing this dispute to court instead of the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario’s lottery dispute arbitration process. He also argues that he had been planning to end the relationship for some time, and that the lottery win had simply “expedited” his decision.
Where is the Money Now?
An emergency injunction issued in fall of 2017 has prevented the OLG from paying out the disputed half of the winnings. The man is in possession of his half while the rest waits in the care of the Ontario Superior Court for a final court decision. The Court is holding the money until this dispute is resolved.
The OLG has said:
OLG’s prize claim review process is in place to ensure OLG pays the right prize to the right person. OLG is committed to protecting customers and maintaining the fairness and integrity of lottery games in the Province of Ontario.
We will continue to follow developments in this interesting story and will provide updates as details unfold. In the meantime, if you have questions about your legal rights following the breakdown of a relationship, including concerns you may have about hidden assets, contact exceptional Windsor family lawyer Jason P. Howie at 519-973-1500 or online.