Lotto Quebec vs Joel Igergan -- Again

By Ben Hamill - November 08 2015
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Lotto Quebec vs Joel Igergan

If you thought that the story about Joel Ifergan, the Quebec man who missed winning the $13.5 million lottery jackpot by 7 seconds, was finished when the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that he didn’t have a case to sue Lotto Quebec, think again. Ifergan is now trying to launch a class-action suit against Loto-Quebec’s Quick Pick lottery tickets. He may not be able to obtain what he believes is his rightful prize, but he intends to make sure that Lotto Quebec knows that he’s watching them.

History

To review, Ifergan bought two Super 7 tickets on May 23, 2008, just minutes before the 9 oclock deadline (Lotto Max replaced the Super 7 in 2009). According to Ifergan, the convenience store clerk told him that he had one minute to buy his tickets so he proceeded to place the order for 2 tickets at 8:59p.m.

The first ticket displayed the May 23 date, making it eligible for that night’s draw. However, there was a delay of a few seconds in the printing ofthe second ticket. That ticket displayed the winning numbers for that night’s $27-million jackpot but because of the delay, the date on the ticket made it eligible for the following week’s draw which was scheduled for May 30 2008.

According to Ifergan. the delay was caused by Loto-Québec’s central computer. That was unacceptable, Ifergan objected. He said that he should be entitled to half of the jackpot prize and he sued Loto-Quebec to recoup half of the jackpot. The Quebec courts refused to hear the case and the Canadian Supreme court also rejected his attempt to sue Loto-quebec, causing him to lose more than $100,000 in costs.

New Lawsuit

Now Ifergan is back. He has filed a motion in the Quebec Superior Court, asking for authorization to launch a class-action lawsuit against the Crown corporation — the corporation that is responsible for operating the Quebec provincial lottery. In his documents Ifergan alleges that, when you purchase a ticket with randomly-generated numbers, that combination of numbers is subsequently removed from the database of numbers that is available to other lotto customers. This was confirmed by Denis Daly, a Crown executive who said, in the previous court case, that all random generated combinations which have been purchased are removed from the system until the database is “re-shuffled” — which generally happens after three or four additional draws have passed

In his court filing, Ifergan alleges that this mean that millions of possibly winning combinations become unavailable at the end of multiple draws. In other words, those numbers are denied to players who do not select their own numbers, forcing them to rely instead on the Quick Pick tickets.

Class Action

By filing a class action lawsuit, Ifergan hopes to be authorised to act on behalf of Lotto-Quebec clients who bought Quick Pick tickets sold by Super 7 (later Lotto Max) since 2005. The lawsuit leaves open the possibilities of expansion to include other lotteries. According to Ifergan, this system is not in place in other locales in Canada and it’s a disadvantage to Quebec lottery players. By buying a Quick Pick ticket with randomly assigned numbers, players don’t have access to the numbers that have been removed from the system, yet could still be drawn as winners. Ifergan’s lawyer David Bourgoin likens the system to “playing cards, but with a deck that isn’t complete.” Bourgoin said that Ifergan’s motion is based on consumer protection laws. The missing numbers, according to Bourgoin, constitute an “important fact.” This fact should have been — and was not — disclosed to lottery customers. “Before they buy a ticket, (Loto-Quebec) should have to inform people that there’s a chance that they have no chance of winning.”
Ifergan described his case to reporters. He says that “The way it operates puts us, the Quebec consumer, at a disadvantage, against not only consumers in the rest of Canada, but other Quebec consumers who pick their own numbers.

Response

Lotto Quebec issued a statement to respond to the allegations, Loto-Quebec spokesman Patrice Lavoie noted that the allegations have not been proven in court, but in a previous case which was followed along the same lines, Loto-Quebec won in both Appeals Court and Superior Court.

Other Quebec Lottery News

There’s more Lottery News in Quebec, so even if Joel Ifergan isn’t a happy camper, a number of other people are.

In the September 28th draw, a group of people who make their living running games of chance hit the jackpot themselves. Ten croupiers who work at the Casino de Montréal found that their one of their pool’s lottery tickets was a winner. The ten poker dealers will be splitting a Loto-Quebec Maxmillions ticket that’s worth a total of one million dollars. Winners include Jean-Paul Da Sylva, Massimiliano Di Giacomo, Karen Jane Gariepy, Louis Girard, Carina Kingsbury, Martin Lefebvre, Louise Mimault, Anongdeth Phommaline, Richard Ratelle and Érik Rousseau. LouiseMimault is the group organizers — she organizes lottery pools whenever the jackpot is high. She creates a group called "Le groupe à Loulou" and invites anyone who want to join to do so.

This time, MartinLefebvre, the group’s designated buyer, bought 30 tickets at the Casino's store LaBoutique. He made the purchase approximately 90minutes before the cut-off time for wagers. At about 3:00a.m. he realized that the group held the winning ticket. The members of the group, who were all working at the time, began to call each other at their work stations. The entire casino cheered the lucky winners.

Most of the group intends to use their winnings as “mad money” or to pay bills. One of the pool participants, Carina Kingsbury, said that she’s expecially thrilled to be splitting the winnings with her friends — and that the combined win is even better than if she had won it alone. ”You’re sharing with other people that you work with and it’s kind of like sharing a bottle of wine alone or sharing it with a bunch of friends. Even if you have less, you’re with good people and I think it makes it even more special.” Kingsbury plans to use her share of the win to pay off the debt on her car. Then she’d like to take a trip with her two daughters.

 

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