Teen Sues for a Share in Winning Lottery Ticket
MONTREAL (AP) _ A 16-year-old has gone to court to obtain a share in a $5.5 million lottery jackpot her family won after a welfare recipient found a wallet containing the winning ticket and returned it to its owner.
Louise Lavigueur says she was unable to make her weekly $2 contribution to the family lottery pool because her father, Jean-Guy Lavigueur, locked her out of the house five days before the March drawing.
Since winning the jackpot, her father has said repeatedly, ″If you don’t pay, you don’t win.″
William Murphy, who found Lavigueur’s wallet on the street in March and returned it to him, was given an equal one-sixth share in the Lotto 6-49 winnings by the family.
The winnings totaled $7.6 million Canadian, or about $5.5 million U.S.
On Thursday, Quebec Superior Court Justice Claude Benoit quashed a lower judge’s order that had frozen about $1.3 million Canadian, or $935,000, of the Lavigueur family’s winnings on grounds the family is unlikely to spend the money before a court decides whether Ms. Lavigueur’s claim is legitimate.
The money was ordered frozen after Ms. Lavigueur began the suit against her father, three siblings and an uncle. A court decision on her claim is expected in about a year.
Ms. Lavigueur told reporters after Benoit’s decision that she would not give up her fight.
″I know that I have a right to my share. In the meantime, I’m getting by,″ she said.
Benoit rejected Ms. Lavigueur’s claim that the family had mismanaged the winnings.
″There is a total lack of evidence that her claim has been imperiled,″ the judge said.
″There will be no question in this case of applying laws of paternal, fraternal or family love, which are based on generosity and forgiveness,″ Benoit said.
″The rights of the plaintiff (Ms. Lavigueur) are governed by civil laws,″ the judge said. ″The rest is pathos and theater for the gallery.″
The lawyer for Jean-Guy Lavigueur, Jean-Paul Gaudreau, said his client was happy with Benoit’s ruling.
″But he’s not jumping for joy because he knew all along that he would win,″ Gaudreau said.
Louise’s court-appointed guardian, Guy Trudeau, said any appeal of Benoit’s decision must be filed within four days.
If an appeal is filed, the $1.3 million will automatically be frozen once again.