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.

#1 Legal Research App

Winner of the prestigious American Association of Law Libraries (New Product) Award, Fastcase for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone is used by more attorneys than any other legal app according to the ABA. Anyone may use the app for free to access Fastcase's comprehensive legal research database on the go.