An undisclosed settlement has been reached in the Bombardier $50 million lottery dispute, just four days into a civil trial.
The plaintiff in the case, Christopher Bates, claimed he was shut out from the winning lottery pool because he was on vacation, despite being a regular player.
However, his 24 co-workers were expected to argue that the pool was no-pay-no-play, and organized randomly, usually when the prize was upwards of $30 million.
Bates testified during the trial that he got back from his January 2011 vacation and discovered he wasn’t on his regular lottery pool list for a Jan. 21 Lotto Max draw that won five free tickets.
“Why didn’t you put in for me?” Bates said he asked group leader Sherif Morsi.
Morsi said he didn’t because another employee still owed him money, Bates testified.
He said Morsi would not allow him to join the pool for the next draw on Jan. 28, 2011 — where the group won the Lotto Max jackpot.
“Okay, if you guys win the lottery, I’m going to sue,” Bates said he told Morsi. “My lawyer is going to contact your lawyer.”
The defence was expected to say that it was an unwritten rule in this pool that if a group won free tickets and decided to play them, no one else could join the pool.
Bates’s lawyer Michael Cochrane argued that as a regular player, Bates was owed a duty of good faith from his fellow group members.
The terms of the resolution are confidential, Saul Glober, the lawyer representing the 24 Bombardier workers told the Star on Thursday.
His clients, most of whom still work at Bombardier, are very happy with the result and to see an end to the long-running legal saga, he said.
The $2 million held in trust by the court will be paid out to the lawyers for the defendant, he said.
Cochrane also could not comment on the settlement terms.
But, he offered some advice for those playing in group lottery pools.
“You need to pay attention,” he says. “Just throwing $5 in an envelope isn’t enough.”
Some things to watch: paying in a timely way, knowing who is in the group, knowing the expectations of the group leader, and knowing what happens when you win, whether it’s a free play ticket or $20.
Group leaders also need to be aware of their responsibilities, from holding money in trust, to purchasing tickets as agreed, to distributing the winnings, he said.