AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A Texas judge has ordered Texas Lottery officials to answer questions under oath in the case of Willis Willis, whose $1 million lottery ticket was stolen by a Texas Lottery agent at a Grand Prairie, Texas, convenience store in 2009.
The Aug. 5 decision comes after Texas Lottery officials consistently blocked Mr. Willis' efforts to obtain information about the May 2009 theft of his winning ticket. Attorneys with Austin-based Howry Breen & Herman LLP have filed a lawsuit against the Texas Lottery to help Mr. Willis reclaim his prize.
"For years now, Mr. Willis has tried to get information about how this could have happened, and whether other lottery winners might have fallen prey to the same practice," says Mr. Willis' attorney Sean Breen. "Now, we will finally have answers to these very basic and very important questions."
In the ruling, 353rd District Court Judge Tim Sulak of Austin allowed Mr. Willis' attorneys to continue the discovery process and obtain sworn testimony from lottery officials. Mr. Willis' attorneys have questions about how convenience store clerk Pankaj Joshi was able to claim Mr. Willis' lottery winnings.
A frequent lottery player, Mr. Willis asked Mr. Joshi to check the numbers on his Mega Millions ticket. Mr. Joshi then lied, telling Mr. Willis that he had not won. Mr. Joshi later claimed Mr. Willis' $1 million jackpot and fled to Nepal. Efforts to reclaim the money have been unsuccessful.
"There's no telling how many times other Texas Lottery players have been wronged," Mr. Breen says.
Although the Travis County District Attorney's office, Texas Lottery investigators and a state court have determined that Mr. Willis is the winner, the Texas Lottery maintains that Mr. Joshi is the "winner" and rightful owner of the ticket. Earlier this year, a state district court awarded Mr. Willis $395,000 of his winnings, which authorities had confiscated from Mr. Joshi's bank account.
Based in Austin, Howry Breen & Herman LLP is a trial law firm that represents businesses and individuals in civil litigation throughout Texas and across the country. More information is available at http://www.howrybreen.com/.
For more information on the case involving Mr. Willis, please contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4630, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SOURCE Howry Breen & Herman LLP