Individual initiates US$340 million lawsuit against Powerball for erroneously listing his numbers as winning

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23rd February 2024 – (Washington) John Cheeks has instituted legal proceedings against the Powerball lottery, contending that he is rightfully owed a windfall of $340 million due to the posting of incorrect winning numbers which matched his ticket.

The suit, filed in the Superior Court of Washington, D.C., stems from an event that occurred on 7th January, 2023, when the numbers Cheeks had selected—7, 15, 23, 32, and 40, with a Powerball number of 2—were mirrored on the lottery’s official site. Believing he had secured the jackpot, Cheeks attempted to claim the prize, only to be met with rejection.

Cheeks’ legal claim pivots on the assertion that the numbers remained incorrectly displayed on the D.C. Lottery website for a period extending over three days, a lapse he attributes to gross negligence on the part of the lottery’s management. The suit alleges that the defendants, including D.C. officials and the Multi State Lottery Association, promoted the jackpot even after the wrongful posting, purportedly to bolster ticket sales and revenue.

The plaint maintains that past precedents, such as a similar incident in 2013 where Powerball honoured a declared winner, should apply in Cheeks’ case. In refusing to acknowledge the displayed numbers, the lottery’s operators are accused of undermining the integrity and trust inherent in the lottery system.

The defendants, having filed a motion to dismiss the case, have refrained from offering extensive comments. The Office of Lottery and Gaming, along with website agency Taoti, have denied the validity of Cheeks’ claim, suggesting an attempt to exploit a clear error.

Cheeks, through his counsel, is pursuing the full jackpot amount in compensatory damages, alongside additional relief as adjudged suitable by the court, inclusive of costs and attorney fees. He has expressed a preference for the matter to be settled by a jury trial.