Criminal Law Indianapolis hair stylists fight over $9.5M lottery ticket

Published on February 26th, 2013 | by Daniel R. Perlman


Indianapolis hair stylists fight over $9.5M lottery ticket

A Marion County judge this week placed a hold on a $9.5 million Hoosier Lotto jackpot lottery ticket after seven stylists at Lou’s Creative Styles accused a co-worker of trying to cut them out of the winnings.

The women said Christina Shaw claimed she bought the winning ticket separately from the tickets she purchased for the group for the Feb. 16 drawing,

“We are concerned that the winning ticket may have been purchased with the group’s money,” said attorney Scott Montross, who is representing the seven women who “routinely” contributed $5 each, as well as Shaw, to buy Hoosier Lotto tickets. “There’s a dispute about it, but until there is something more definitive, we were trying to keep a low profile. But we needed to slow the train down.”

The women had an agreement that whoever bought tickets for the group could not buy tickets for themselves at the same place. The seven women learned from Shaw that she had bought a winning ticket but that it was for herself. According to Montross, Shaw told them, “You didn’t win, but I did.”

Shaw, at the salon Friday, said she had retained a lawyer and refused to comment on the controversy.

“Money changes people drastically and makes them do things they normally wouldn’t do,” said lawyer Eric Kahn, who represented five New Jersey construction workers in a case against a co-worker they said tried to cheat them out of a $24 million Megamillions jackpot.

The lawsuit identifies the plaintiffs as: Lucy Lewis-Johnston, Melanie Ann Bonar; Margie Day-Braugh; Judith Kay Pallatin; Patricia L. Pohlman; Linda Sue Stewart; and Edna M. Thomas.

How the women organized their lottery pool is unclear but Kahn said it is imperative that groups make copies of the tickets and distribute them to all players so there is no uncertainty. Kahn said a formal contract is not needed but the groups should write down the ground rules.

“When you allow one person to control everything the temptation is too great to do the wrong thing,” Kahn said.

Al Larsen, a spokesman for the Hoosier Lottery, said he cannot recall a similar dispute in Indiana.

He said the agency would not offer group lottery players any advice about safeguards because of the lawsuit.

“Our obligation is to pay whoever presents that ticket unless we receive formal orders from a court to suspend our process until things are sorted out,” Larsen said, “and that’s where we are right now.

A hearing is set for Wednesday in Marion Civil Court.

At Kathy’s Hair Fashion, across the street from Lou’s, stylist Michelle Davis, said it is difficult enough to work next to someone during minor disputes. To do so during a major monetary quarrel would be nearly impossible.

She said the hairdressers sometimes pitch in for a lottery ticket but it is very informal and, certainly, no contracts are drawn up.

“This is a very competitive industry and it helps when you get along with the person you are working alongside all day,” she said. “You don’t need anyone being mad at you for whatever reason.”

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Source: IndyStar “Indianapolis hair stylists fight over $9.5M lottery ticket,” February 22, 2013.

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