Syndicate Member Sues Colleagues
A lottery syndicate member is to sue her fellow players after it landed a EuroMillions jackpot worth £28,847,237 and failed to share the prize money with her. Louisa Whitby had been playing the lottery game as part of the syndicate at a recruitment company in the Merseyside town of Kirkby, but she was absent from work due to illness on the day that the winning ticket was purchased. That meant she couldn’t pay for her usual ticket and the syndicate won the EuroMillions prize without her.
The syndicate hasn’t gone public with its win, which was achieved on Tuesday 9 July, but we know that it has been described as having ten members. Louisa would have been the eleventh member if she hadn’t been off sick, and that day off has cost her a share of the win that would have been worth £2,622,476. Louisa will now be going to court to try and get a share of the jackpot, though it is unclear whether or not she intends to fight for a share that is equal to or smaller than that of the other players.
There are two things that stand out to us about this story. The first is that it highlights the importance of lottery syndicates having a written agreement which covers matters like this. Whilst you might think that friends and colleagues can always be relied upon to play fair, when a large amount of money comes into the equation it is not uncommon for the individuals concerned to revert to a primal ‘every man for himself’ mentality.
It could well be that syndicate members in this case had a ‘no pay, no play’ agreement, or it could be that Louisa had genuine reason to expect to be included in the lottery despite her absence from work. A written agreement would have made it clear exactly where everyone stood in this situation, and legal proceedings should have been totally avoidable.
Our second observation here is that the ten syndicate members have thus far opted to remain anonymous. Should this case go to court, there is every possibility that the identity of the winners will go on public record and thereby enter the public domain. In light of that possibility, the syndicate may well choose to settle out of court in order to maintain the privacy of the ten members concerned.
We can’t make any objective judgement on the merits of Louisa’s case because we don’t have all of the facts, but we do urge all lottery syndicate members to learn from her experience. If your syndicate doesn’t have a written agreement then we would advise you to make sure it gets one drawn up, and fast - see our Lottery Syndicates article for more information.
Written by Tony SharpeTuesday 16th July 2013
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