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Co-worker suing for share of lottery prize

Mar 22, 2006, 10:21 am

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Canada 6/49

A Sudbury city employee has launched a civil lawsuit claiming he deserves his share of a $13.6 million Canada Lotto 6/49 jackpot won by five co-workers last summer.

In court papers filed at the Sudbury courthouse, Raymond Chamberland, claims he deserved to share in the Lotto 6/49 prize claimed by five fellow employees from the city's waste management department when they claimed the huge lottery jackpot last July 9.

The five employees made national headlines when they claimed $2.7 million each. The five men named in the lawsuit are Ted Hreljac, Jeff McLaughlin, Marc Chartier, Richard St. Martin and Kevin Provincial.

When contacted by Northern Life Monday, Chamberland referred all inquiries to his lawyer Richard Guy.

In a statement of claim filed by Guy at the Sudbury courthouse, Chamberland says he's fully entitled to share in the lottery jackpot as he had joined a pool with the five winners and they had played Lotto 6/49 on a regular basis over several months.

The statement of claim states on the day before the winning numbers were drawn, Chamberland asked Provincial to "spot him" money needed to acquire tickets as part of the regular pool for July 9 draw and Provincial agreed to do just that.

No statement of defense has been filed by any of the five defendants. Four of the five are being represented by Sudbury lawyer Michael O'Hara, who refused to comment on the matter.

"I have no comment and I do not ever comment on any matter that is currently before the courts," said O'Hara. "I've informed all of my clients to not talk about the case as it remains before courts...once the matter is completed and a judicial decision has been made, then the people I represent would be free to talk about it at that time."

A statement of claim does not prove or disprove anything in a civil action, but simply outlines allegations by the claimant against defendants, which have not yet been proven in a court of law.

Chamberland's statement of claim says he had a phone conversation with some of the winners on the day they were traveling to Toronto to claim their prize and Provincial confirmed Chamberland was one of the winners.

Lawyers will return to court April 5 to speak to a motion presented by lawyers for the defendants who are asking the civil action be dismissed.

Guy said he is confident the lawsuit will proceed because Chamberland has a very strong case.

"I can't go into details, but it's our position my client is entitled to his share of the winnings," said Guy. "Defense counsel has presented a motion to strike the statement of claim, but I don't think they will be successful."

The vast majority of civil actions are either dismissed or settled out of court, but Guy said every case must be judged on its own merits.

"I think we could get this case before a judge within two years," he said. "Of course, there's always a chance of a settlement in any civil proceeding...only time will tell what happens."

Disputes over winning lottery prizes are becoming more and more commonplace in Canada.

Two years ago, a London couple made headlines when a woman sued her estranged husband after he waited a year to claim a $30 million prize in a 2003 national lottery.

Just a few weeks ago in Montreal, a 10-year-old girl found a coffee cup in a garbage bin. The cup offered a prize for a new SUV in a popular Tim Hortons promotion. Two other people say they have a claim to the prize.

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