Man Sues Coworkers for Share of $99 Million Lottery Winnings

For eight years, Edward Hairston diligently contributed to his lottery office pool—eight long, jackpot-free years. While he was on medical leave, his coworkers played the Mega Millions and won $99 million. Legal issue: Is some of that money rightfully Hairston's?

Absolutely, says Hairston. Case closed! Er, I mean, ha ha, if instant money could only be so instant. No, the 39-year-old Youngstown, Ohio KraftMaid logistics agent is suing 22 of his coworkers to see if the courts will award him the $2 million he (and his lawyer) thinks he deserves. The Lottery Commission's holding onto "his" share, in case the jury presiding over his trial decides to convert those Unlucky Lotto dollars to Lucky ones.

To get some expert legal opinions on Hairston's case, Fox News visited the store that produced the winning $99 million ticket and spoke to random customers. Their verdict: Hairston isn't entitled to any of that money.

"I think he could have sent his money in," said Tracey Root. "He's probably in contact with somebody that he worked with that he could have given the money to stay on top of it."

According to lottery player Jeff Smith, "You've got to pay to play, and if he was part of the group at one time, he was part of the group while he was playing, and to win the lottery, you have to pay in to reap the rewards, so unfortunately, I think he missed out."

Legal issue: Who's better equipped to decide a complicated Ohio lottery case better than an Ohio lottery player? Uhh, maybe a judge who's heard all the facts—though nothing's been proven. Hairston's lawyer says the office pool's "unwritten policy for years" has included covering for absent employees (Hairston missed his payments for June, July, and August, the months he was on leave with a back injury). Shockingly, the lawyer representing the 22 coworkers denies that. Guess we'll know more when Hairston's jury trial begins on December 12.

Similar lottery lawsuits have been filed in the past, destroying social bonds and replacing friendship and love with acrimony. Perhaps office lottery pools are a bad idea. Perhaps lotteries are a bad idea. Perhaps allowing anyone in America to own more than, say, one million dollars at a time is a bad idea. Perhaps we should all do away with our property and live in communal arrangements (just not in Ohio, which isn't all that cool).

[Fox 8, Plain Dealer]