LONG BEACH, Calif., July 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A Long Beach man is suing the California State Lottery Commission and a Mobil Gas Station store for failing to honor a winning Scratchers ticket worth $5 million. Ward Thomas filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court last week for fraud and breach of contract claiming the commission failed to operate by its own rules.
The complaint states that on October 16, 2016, Thomas and his 16-year-old son Benjamin went to the store to cash in 12 winning "Deluxe 7's" California State Lottery Scratchers worth $330. A cashier at the Mobil store gave Benjamin five $20 Scratchers tickets and the remaining $230 in cash. During this transaction, the Mobil store never informed Benjamin that he could not obtain state Lottery Scratchers tickets due to his age. Ward Thomas had purchased Lottery tickets from the same Mobil Store in the past.
When Benjamin returned to the car, he gave the Scratchers tickets to his father. When they got home, Ward and his family scratched off the tickets and discovered they'd won the "100X The Money" Scratchers ticket worth $5 million. That night, Ward validated his winning ticket at a 7-Eleven in Long Beach. The next day, Ward and Benjamin drove to the California Lottery Santa Ana District Office and Ward submitted a claim for the winning ticket. At that time, California Lottery officials congratulated Ward as the $5 million winner.
Two months later, the state and the commission improperly denied Thomas' claim for the jackpot on the grounds that his underage son purchased the winning ticket.
"We've been honest with the Lottery about how things transpired," said Ward Thomas. "The California Lottery led us to believe that we had won for several weeks by congratulating us by phone several times. Then we received a brief note almost 2 months later denying our claim and they refused to speak to me by phone after that," he said. "It's not fair that the Lottery exchanged our tickets, but refuses to honor them when we won a larger sum of money."
The lawsuit states there is no signage inside the Mobil store informing customers that they had to be 18 years of age in order to obtain California State Lottery Scratchers tickets.
According to Thomas' attorney, the commission fails to enforce its own rules and neglects to train retailers, who act as agents for the California Lottery.
"We have received calls from prior winners with similar stories who were paid under similar circumstances," said plaintiff attorney Mark Quigley. "We want the Lottery to reconsider its decision and pay the winning ticket to Mr. Thomas because it's the right and fair thing to do."
The plaintiff's legal team includes Mark Quigley and Molly McKibben with Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, which is a Santa Monica plaintiffs' firm dedicated to fighting for the rights of injured consumers across California to improve public safety and demand accountability.
SOURCE Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP