/ May 2, 2012

How to (Not) Win the Lottery

As I was perusing the interwebs today, I came across this interesting case of two women in Arkansas named Sharon vying for the same lottery winnings.

We’ll call them Sharon 1 and Sharon 2 (yes, that is a reference to Arrested Development).  Sharon 1 purchased the ticket and checked it using a convenience store computer. The computer indicated she was not a winner so she threw it in a trash can. Along comes Sharon 2 who has an apparent hobby of double-checking discarded lottery tickets, and good thing she does!

She stumbles upon Sharon 1’s lottery ticket and it turns out the computer was wrong and the ticket actually had a $1 million prize. Sharon 2 cashes in the ticket and proceeds to purchase a new truck and give some cash gifts to her kids.

The manager of the convenience store decided to stake a claim to the ticket given that it was her garbage can, and Sharon 1 catching wind of this joins the bandwagon. The store manager loses the case but the judge suggests that Sharon 1 might be the rightful owner. So Sharon 1 sues and wins the case on the grounds that the burden of abandonment was not proved. The author of the article seems to suggest that Sharon 1 simply had a better attorney (who we think probably uses Fastcase). Needless to say, Sharon 2 plans to appeal.

Around the Fastcase office this has been a hotly debated case as each of us have scoured the database for cases and information on “abandonment,” “garbage,” “trash,” etc.  We’re also thinking of starting a Fastcase Abandoned Lottery Ticket Club.

We’d love to know what you think. If we like your answer we’ll cut you in on a share of any winning discarded lottery tickets we find. Check Twitter May 3 at noon to see the results of our poll.

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