Saying a man’s claim that he is entitled to a $63 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot was brought “in bad faith or without reasonable cause,” the California Attorney General’s Office is seeking dismissal of the lawsuit and compensation for defending the state against the case.
Using declarations and exhibits, Deputy Attorney General Neil Houston says in his Los Angeles Superior Court papers that plaintiff Brandy Milliner’s ticket was bought miles away at another 7-Eleven store, not the actual one in Chatsworth where a winning ticket was purchased for the 2015 prize that was never claimed.
“As the undisputed facts of this case clearly show, Mr. Milliner’s claim is highly speculative at best and most likely a fraudulent attempt to secure an unclaimed jackpot,” Houston alleges in his court papers.
The $63 million ticket — the largest California Lottery jackpot ever forfeited — was purchased for the Aug. 8, 2015, drawing at the 7-Eleven store at 20871 Lassen St. in Chatsworth. If the winner had come forward and taken a lump sum payment, he or she would have received $39.9 million before taxes. The winning numbers were 46, 1, 33, 30, 16 plus Mega number 24.
By examining the paper stock on Milliner’s ticket, Lottery officials determined that he bought it at a 7-Eleven store at 4051 Leimert Blvd. in Los Angeles, according to Houston’s court papers.
“Mr. Milliner’s ticket was not even purchased at the same store where the jackpot winning ticket for the Aug. 8, 2015, SuperLotto Plus drawing was sold,” Houston wrote.
Further examination showed that Milliner purchased his ticket on July 10, 2015, Houston’s court papers state. Although Milliner claims he bought the ticket at the Chatsworth 7-Eleven while in the area to pick up a friend from work the afternoon of Aug, 8, 2015, the Lottery records show the real winning ticket was actually bought at that store the morning of the day before, according to Houston’s court papers.
Milliner filed his first lawsuit against the state and the Lottery Commission in February 2016, but allegedly failed to file a claim with the state first. He then filed a second lawsuit two months later after complying with the claims rule, and the two lawsuits were consolidated.
Milliner maintains he tried to claim the prize, but California Lottery officials rejected the ticket, saying it was damaged.
Milliner says that when he initially presented the ticket to the Lottery Commission within the claim period, he was given a form congratulating him on his winnings and explaining that he would receive a check in six to eight weeks from the state Controller’s Office. However, in January 2016, Milliner says he received a letter from the commission stating that after a review of his ticket, the agency determined it to be “too damaged to be reconstructed.” The letter cited a section of the California Lottery Act that explained the commission was unable to process Milliner’s claim, his suit states.
Milliner alleges the commission has “interfered” with his prize by withholding the ticket, refusing to return it and refusing to award him the grand prize.
“Subsequent to the draw, the plaintiff has properly and repeatedly demanded payment of the prize,” the suit says. “To date, however, the (commission has) refused to pay the prize.”
Houston’s court papers include a copy of a note signed by Milliner in which he says he bought the ticket on Aug. 8, 2015, and explains its poor condition.
“The ticket was damaged because it was on top of my dresser and some cologne spilt (sic) on it,” Milliner wrote.
But in a sworn declaration, Randall Forrester, the Lottery’s chief of district sales, says the testing showed Milliner’s ticket was not eligible for the Aug. 8, 2015, drawing.
“The SuperLotto Plus ticket that is at issue in this case was purchased on July 10, 2015, and would therefore have been eligible only for the July 11, 2015 drawing — it was, and is, not eligible for the Aug. 8, 2015, SuperLotto Plus drawing,” Forrester says.
The state’s dismissal motion — which is scheduled for hearing July 12 — also asks that a judge find the lawsuit was brought “in bad faith or without reasonable cause,” justifying a reimbursement to the state of its “reasonable costs of defense.”
The previous largest jackpot to ever go unclaimed was $28.5 million for a SuperLotto Plus ticket sold in Alameda County in 2003.
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