The lottery can cause people to think about a lot of things, especially when it is as large as the Powerball jackpot that was drawn on Wednesday night. The drawing was for $569 million and two winning tickets were pulled. In a report from The Louisville Courier-Journal, many consider leaving their jobs and not working another day in their lives, much like Linda Sebastian, who is in a work lottery group.
“My group, we’d wipe our whole floor out,” she said with a laugh. “There’d be nobody left in the office.” Sebastian’s boss also belongs to the pool. “I tease him all the time. I say, ‘I’ll meet you at the lottery headquarters.'”
Before you decide to join an office lottery pool you might want to talk things over with your lawyer first. Quite often, those who think they were in a lottery pool and won have wound up in litigation trying to figure out who and who was not in the pool. A law professor at University of Louisville, Russ Weaver, said that a new type of case law has emerged from the common occurrence of lottery pool winnings lawsuits.
“Be very careful in advance,” Weaver warned. “One thing you don’t want to do is end up in litigation. Attorneys will eat up quite a bit of your winnings.”
Weaver made a major suggestion to those who want to enter into a workplace lottery pool. That suggestion is to make photocopies of the lottery tickets that belong to the group and distribute them to the members of the group. This way, you will be able to determine who is in the group and who is not based on the tickets. Weaver said that people need to show proof that they were in the group prior to the drawing.
“Did you make the decision before or after the numbers came out?”
In March, Americo Lopes was ordered by a judge in New Jersey to share his $38.5 million winnings with a lottery pool at his job even though Lopes said he bought the ticket himself. This is just one of quite a few lottery lawsuits over the past couple of years. Some of the lottery winnings do end with happy stories too.
The group known as the “Nukote 22” won $61.5 million from Powerball in September of 2007. One of the winners, Bonnie Bullock, said that even though they won, everyone still returned to work at the Nukote International customer service center in Kentucky.
“We were such a family,” Bullock said. “We had worked together so long and knew each other so well.”
When the group went to claim the money, the company’s executives rushed to the office in Bardstown in fear that everyone was going to quit that day.
“They thought we were going to leave that day,” Bullock said. “They came up from Nashville in carloads. We were customer service — we held the company together. They wanted us to train them in a couple of days. They were shocked we weren’t going to leave. I can imagine it was mind-boggling.”