Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Court of Claims approves Ohio Lottery Commission winning ticket settlement for $710,000

Mahmoud Dabaja. v. Ohio Lottery Commission, Case No. 2012-08567

Nearly four years after winning $2 million in a Lucky Millionaire scratch-off game, a Michigan man settled with the Ohio Lottery Commission for $710,000. The Court of Claims of Ohio approved the settlement on May 22.

According to his December 3, 2012 complaint, just after 3 a.m. on June 20, 2010, Mahmoud Dabaja bought the scratch-off lottery ticket with a $20 bill at a Pilot Travel Center in Toledo.

Besides Dabaja, three additional people asserted claims to the winnings: Dabaja’s ex-wife, his brother, and another man. Dabaja sued the Lottery Commission and the three claimants in the Court of Claims for breach of contract. He also asked the court to declare that he was entitled “to the entire proceeds of the Ohio Lottery Commission Lucky Millionaire prizes, at the exclusion of all others who may claim an interest in the prize.”

The court dismissed the three claimants because they were not proper parties before the court. Plaintiffs can only sue the state in the Court of Claims, not individual defendants.

“The Commission has failed to perform terms and obligations under the contract with the Commission which includes, but is not limited to timely payment of valid prize money and benefits due the Plaintiff after the Plaintiff presented the winning ticket and completed appropriate claim forms to the Commission agent, the Pilot Travel Center, through its cashier/clerk Charlotte Kelly by filling out a Claim Form, providing appropriate identification as required, and the winning ticket, all of which was video/audio taped by the Pilot Travel Center and the video presented to the Commission,” Dabaja’s complaint states.

As for the Lottery Commission, it asked the court in January 2013 to dismiss the case because “Mr. Dabaja cannot prevail in this case because he did not and does not have ‘physical possession of the winning ticket,’ as is required by law.”

Dabaja and his wife were married at the time he bought the ticket, but Fatima Dabaja “disavowed any interest in the winning lottery ticket proceeds” in a consent divorce decree, according to the complaint.

The complaint states that Dabaja’s brother, Mounir, “in an attempt to assist him (Dabaja) in filing for the prize inadvertently applied as the winner of the Lucky Millionaire lottery game.”

The complaint also states that: “Youssef Ali-Ahmad has improperly claimed an agreement exists entitling him to proceeds of the lottery prize through an alleged agreement which includes an inappropriate claim to the lottery prize money.”

The Court of Claims is given original jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil actions filed against the State of Ohio and its agencies.

To access information on other cases visit the Court of Claims website.

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