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$13.6M Lottery Winnings Challenged – Hey, What About Me?

Case Comment – Chamberland v. Provincial (2008 Ontario Superior Court) per Kane, J.



This interesting case involved a group of garbage truck drivers who worked together for the City of Sudbury.  They pooled their money together, contributing approximately $5 to $10 per week in order to buy lottery tickets.


In July, 2005 they won $13.6 million dollars.

The winnings were split between 5 co-workers but 2 more co-workers started lawsuits seeking to be included in the lottery winnings.

This plaintiff, Chamberland, won his case after a 6 day Trial in December, 2008. He is included as the 6th winner of the lottery winnings – so he wins $2.2 M.

The 7th co-worker’s lawsuit is going to Trial this month.

Roughly, this group of co-workers purchased tickets together but Chamberland apparently did not contribute regularly. There was conflicting evidence about whether Chamberland asked another group member to ‘spot’ (i.e. pay on his behalf) the $5 weekly contribution a few days prior to the winning ticket being called. There was conflicting evidence about whether the group had a loose agreement to spot each other at times, as necessary.

Interestingly, one of the defendants had a terrible night’s sleep (he referred to it as a nightmare) a few days before the lottery – he had dreamed about winning the lottery, couldn’t sleep and looked unwell the day after his nightmare. A few days later, he redeemed the winning ticket and initially thought that he had won $13,000, until he counted the zeros in his prize award.

Further, after the group found they had won, they had an extended backyard party and much evidence was given about the nature of the conversation between the plaintiff and the defendants at this party, during which some winners had been drinking heavily, as to whether the plaintiff admitted that he didn’t pay his $5 contribution that week.

After a lengthy review of the various evidence given by a variety of people, Kane, J. found that the group had formulated an unwritten lottery agreement in which they would treat each other fairly and in good faith – including those participants who were part-time group members.

Gregory Chang

Toronto Insurance Litigation Lawyer