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Woman sues TV station over lottery numbers error

Feb 27, 2011, 8:25 am

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A Fort Lee, New Jersey, woman who says she thought fortune had smiled on her with a $250,000 winner in a 2009 Mega Millions drawing is suing WABC-TV for allegedly broadcasting the wrong winning numbers and leaving her devastated when she discovered she had won nothing.

Rakel Daniele is seeking $75,000 in damages from WABC-TV, American Broadcasting Co., the Walt Disney Co. and an unidentified "Jane Doe" in a lawsuit that was transferred to federal District Court in Newark last week from state Superior Court in Hackensack.

Daniele's lawyer, Evan Baker, did not return several calls on Thursday and Friday seeking comment.

James Altieri, the Florham Park attorney representing ABC and Disney, said it is "the company's policy not to comment on pending litigation."

According to Daniele's lawsuit, WABC-TV, the ABC network station in New York, broadcast the winning numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the mega ball 12, for the multistate Mega Millions lottery on June 19, 2009.

Daniele held a lottery ticket with the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, with the mega ball 6, the lawsuit says.

Despite the fact that the numbers WABC-TV broadcast were wrong, the suit asserts, it compounded Daniele's alleged pain by "negligently, carelessly, recklessly and/or intentionally" rebroadcasting the erroneous numbers the next day.

The correct Mega Millions numbers for June 19, 2009, were 4, 9, 12, 16 and 46, with a mega ball of 44, according to the Mega Millions website.

Daniele was under the impression that she had won $250,000 as a result of the broadcast, the suit states, adding that she was "severely damaged" by relying on the "false and incorrect" lottery results.

The company should have known the numbers were incorrect, the suit states.

The broadcast and rebroadcast of the wrong Mega Millions numbers went "beyond all possible bounds of decency, and were atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," it asserts.

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