Common Law Spouses
Former Common Law Couple’s Dispute Over Lottery Winnings Continues
Earlier this year we blogged about a Chatham, Ontario woman who was suing her former common law partner for half of a $6.1 million lottery win, claiming that he lied to her about the prize (telling her they had not won) and then ending their relationship and claiming the full prize for himself.
The dispute has now become more complex as the man has sued the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for damages.
Unjust Enrichment and Breach of Trust
The woman sued for unjust enrichment and breach of trust and sought half of the man’s winnings ($3,073,361.15) and $500,000 in aggravated damages.
The man received his half of the winnings earlier this year, but the other half was paid into the Superior Court, who will hold it, in trust, pending the outcome of the litigation.
OLG Files Interpleader Motion
In February, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) filed an interpleader motion, requesting that the court continue to hold on to half of the winnings for “safekeeping”. The motion was opposed by the man.
Man Sues AGCO
The AGCO is the regulatory body that oversees the lottery program and disputes over tickets and winnings (parties involved in lottery disputes can choose to pursue the matter in court, or through the AGCO’s lottery dispute arbitration process).
The man seeks $825,000 in damages and costs, including:
- $250,00 in general damages for “negligence investigation, tortious interference in contractual relations, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of statutory duty”;
- $500,000 in aggravated, exemplary, and punitive damages;
- $75,000 in special damages.
He claims that the AGCO was negligent and breached its duty of care in failing to properly investigate his situation. The man continues to deny that he and his former partner had any agreement to share the lottery winnings.
Responses to the Claim Against the AGCO
The woman’s lawyer told the London Free Press that the woman is not distracted by the man’s claim against the AGCO or by his opposition to the OLG’s interpleader motion, further noting that:
There is a significant amount of money at stake and it is worth exploring all the avenues. You don’t want to rush things too, too much…
We simply take the position that half the money is hers by right. Whatever, whoever else he wants to sue and blame, that’s completely up to him…[i]t really doesn’t affect our main action at all.
The man’s lawyer told CBC News that:
This is no more complicated than a game of bingo…[h]e purchased a ticket, he won the ticket, he has claimed the prize. He is a good and honest man and what is at stake here is his reputation.
A spokesperson for the AGCO confirmed that the claim against the commission was filed, but that the commission had no further comment.
As before, 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 common law relationship or marriage, including concerns you may have about hidden assets, contact Windsor family lawyer Jason P. Howie at 519-973-1500 or online. Jason is Certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada and his experience and success practicing family law has earned him respect and distinction in the legal communities of Windsor and Essex County.