Thursday, October 2, 2014

Bombardier workers settle dispute over $50M jackpot

TORONTO - An aircraft mechanic and his fellow Bombardier workers settled their lawsuit Thursday over his share of a $50-million Lotto Max jackpot.

Chris Bates, 54, and his 24 co-workers ended their civil trial four days into the two-week proceedings by reaching an agreement, his lawyer Michael Cochrane said in an interview Thursday.

The terms are covered by a confidentiality agreement.

Bates was on vacation in January 2011 and missed depositing his $5 share one week. He claimed he was then shut out of the subsequent Jan. 28 draw that scored his co-workers the huge jackpot, court heard.

Each player won more than $2 million and another $2 million was held in trust after an Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation investigation.

“Everyone was relieved to be out of the justice system because it’s a stressful environment, even depressing at times,” said Cochrane.

“I have no idea how Bates will celebrate. I hope a message goes out to people who play group lotteries to be careful, keep track of who is in the group, track of the winnings, whether it’s free tickets, $20 or $100,” he said.

“And for group leaders, you have some responsibilities, you’re holding money in trust and when you undertake to buy certain tickets and numbers, you have to meet your obligations. Ontario courts have been prepared to say group leaders should treat each other with a duty of good faith and fairness.

“Group participants should be treated fairly. That means that simply being away on vacation is not a justification for excluding people from participation in the pool,” Cochrane said. “There’s an implied contract and a duty to treat each other fairly.”

Bates, who said he co-founded the lottery pool with a co-worker, gave the leadership of the pool to Sherif Morsi in June 2010.

Morsi wouldn’t allow Bates to join the pool for the next draw in Jan. 28 because they were using free tickets won in the previous draw that Bates missed while vacationing.
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