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Fla. Lottery fights lawsuit of man who thought he'd won $15 million

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - The Florida Lottery wants a state judge to dismiss a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress from a lawsuit alleging a man was led to believe he'd won $15 million.

James Currey sued the lottery Oct. 2 in Leon County Circuit Court, alleging emotional distress from the mix-up and faulting the lottery for erasing surveillance video. A Nov. 27 motion to dismiss says Currey failed to scratch off the entirety of the ticket, which would have turned a winning 6 into a losing 65.

Before discovering the ticket was a loser, Lottery personnel had him pose for pictures indicating he'd won $15 million. The Lottery says Currey can't pursue emotional distress damages without a physical injury.

"Although Plaintiff seems to suggest that there was a physical component to his injury by claiming that he suffered 'physical and emotional distress,' he does not allege that it was caused by a physical impact," the motion says.

"Instead, Plaintiff alleges that his 'injury' arose out of acts and omissions on the part of the Lottery that led Plaintiff to believe that he had a $15 million lottery ticket, including the Lottery's failure to validate his ticket, as well as the assurances, winning placard and other documents Plaintiff alleges he was given by Lottery personnel.

"None of these allegations qualifies as an impact that satisfies the impact rule."

The Lottery also rejects claims for spoliation of evidence citing a state Supreme Court rule that says such issues are to be addressed through discovery sanctions.

The Lottery is represented by Daniel Nordby and Elise Engle of Shutts & Bowen in Tampa. Currey is represented by John Zielinkski, Richard Smith and Pausha Taghdiri of NeJame Law PA in Orlando.



© 2023, Madison County Record, LLC


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