CLEVELAND (CN) – A man wants the Ohio Lottery Commission barred from handing out a $99 million jackpot to his co-workers. He claims he was a member of a work-based lottery pool for eight years, but forgot to send in his $5 monthly contribution when he was out on medical leave – when the group hit it rich.
Edward Hairston, of Youngstown, sued the Ohio Lottery Commission in Cuyahoga County Court. They are the only parties to this complaint.
Hairston, a 14-year employee of Masco Retail Cabinet Group, says he ponied up regularly for eight years to the “Masco Lottery Group.”
He says the group “did not have any written agreement or written rules but the Group operated by agreement pursuant to a number of well-established terms.”
Among them, he says, were that “if a Group member was unable to contribute their monthly $5.00 payment due to absence from work related to illness, vacation or otherwise, other Group members would contribute for, or ‘cover,’ that individual’s monthly payment or the payment would be made out of proceeds from past winnings.”
He claims that the group had covered for missing people in the past, including for him.
Hairston says he took medical leave on May 6. “During his absence,” he says, “he was not reminded to contribute the monthly $5.00 payment nor was he notified that no one was contributing for him or that he was dropped from the Group.”
On Aug. 5, the group hit the Mega Millions jackpot for $99 million.
One day later, he says, “he was told that he had been dropped from the Group prior to the subject lottery drawing.”
Hairston says he “asserts a claim against the Masco Lottery Group and its individual participants to participate in the lottery winnings based on theories of breach of implied contract, equitable estoppel, promissory estoppel, unjust enrichment and breach of fiduciary duty.”
He says the group had a duty to remind him to make his payment and failed to “cover” him according to “well-established” terms.
Neither the group nor its members, however, are named as defendants.
He wants the Ohio Lottery Commission enjoined from handing out the $99 million until the matter can be resolved.
“Without an injunction being issued to and against the Ohio Lottery Commission, ordering them to hold or otherwise deposit the lottery funds into an account subject to an order of a court of competent jurisdiction, until after the facts of this controversy are resolved, he will have no way of preventing disposition of the lottery winnings,” Hairston says.
“There exists a real and present danger that the funds will be distributed to other Masco Lottery Group members and plaintiff Hairston will be irreparably harmed and damaged due to the number of recipients of the proceeds and the fact that it will be exceedingly difficult to recoup or otherwise account for his allocation once the funds have been distributed.”
The complaint does not state how many members are in the lottery pool.
Hairston is represented by Howard Mishkind, of Cleveland.