A FLORIDA woman had sued her co-workers after she lost out on a $16million lotto jackpot in a pool that she had been in for almost a decade.
Jeanette French claimed that she contributed to a lotto pool with her fellow employees at the Hacienda Hills Country Club in The Villages, about 58 miles northwest of Orlando like she did for nine years.
French’s lawyer, Tom Culmo, told ABC News at the time, in 2010, that prior to this incident, group members would spot others who were unavailable to add to the pot.
“She had communication with one of the other employees who said he would put in a dollar for her,” he said.
Culmo explained: “Employees would routinely cover for each other.
“She paid back the dollar Thursday morning, and she was given the ticket to check to see if they had won.
“After she realized the group won, she gave back the ticket. She wasn’t worried if she handed back the ticket she wouldn’t be part of the group,” he said.
However, the group refused to give French a cut of the winnings, claiming that she did not contribute to the pool.
So, French sued her co-workers and tried to freeze the winnings so no one could get to them.
“We filed an emergency petition for an injunction to prevent the lottery from dispersing the money,” Culmo said.
“Thegranted the injunction. However, as of late last week, the seven other winners retained a lawyer and we have worked out an agreement that will allow the seven winners to collect 1/8th of the winnings per person.”
Culmo explained that the remaining 8th of the pot would remain in a trust account until the issue was resolved.
If French was not included in the pot, each group member would get $1.3million before taxes, as opposed to the $1.1million they would receive if she was included.
One local, Otto Strunk, stood by French.
“I feel sorry for the poor lady,” the Villages resident told the outlet.
“Everybody knows about it. I feel that she was really part of the group, and they should have included her for what it was worth.
He added: “They should have made sure or called her up or done something.”
However, in 2012, it came out that French lost the lawsuit against her co-workers, the Orlando Sentinel reported at the time.