questionswho deserves the cash?


Completely agree with you: The purchaser abdicated their rights when they chose to throw away the ticket (the judge in this case is either a numbnut, or there is more information to this case that substantiates the first person's claim). The more interesting and grey case is the store. I think that they may have a legitimate claim, as they can claim that the second person 'stole' the ticket from their trash. I'd still vote for the second person being the winner of the cash, but it's not a terribly defensible position.

Money makes people think stoopid.


That's funny, I would think the person who threw it away would have the least claim on it. The law may vary on private trash receptacles, but I am pretty sure anything disposed of in a public or commercial trash receptacles immediately ceases to be the property of the person who disposed of it. If the trash can was in the store, the store owner might make an argument that the contents of the trash can were his, but as the judge I would be inclined to find for the person who retrieved it from the trash, as there is no evidence that either the original owner nor the store owner had any intention of making use of the ticket once it was disposed of. Additionally, if it was the store owner who told the original purchaser the ticket was not a winner, then claimed the prize money for himself, I think it would be fair to allege fraud.


I agree with you BUT if I was the guy that threw a million dollar ticket into the trash i'm pretty sure I would sue the finder of the ticket and the owner of the store! (Just being honest)


you don't normally throw something in a trash can and leave the premises if you intend to retain ownership or store it for later retrieval. i know for your house trash, once you place it on the curb for collection, you've given up possession of it and anyone can look in it, take stuff, use it, incrimate you, etc

the store owner should've gone in and taken the ticket themselves first if they intended on claiming it. if they don't regularly go in and look through all their trash for lottery tickets, they can't establish that's what they would've done


The original owner still has a claim because they were told BY AN AGENT of the lottery (store owner) that it was not a winner. Because the scan supposedly revealed it not to be a winner, the original owner can claim negligence on the part of the lottery.


@morriea: agreed. The original owner should not have claim to the money from the ticket once it was disposed of. The store owner told him it was garbage, and it's his fault that the original purchaser threw it away. Instead of suing the finder of the ticket, the original purchaser should sue the store owner for the sum, and perhaps the lottery system for faulty equipment/book keeping. If I was the finder of the ticket and the judge ruled against me, I'd sue everyone involved. Surely, someone would have to compensate me.


Hmmm... I've just been doing some reading to satisfy my curiousity about this and it would appear that it is not possible to (legally) abandon something by mistake. So, while the original purchaser may have tossed the ticket in the trash, since this was done because she mistakenly believed the ticket to have no value (ie. because of a mistake) she never gave up her rights to the value of the ticket (provided that she is later able to be identified as the purchaser of the ticket).

Also, given that the trash was apparently still on the store's property when the initial "winner" pulled the ticket from the trash, the store owner's claim to the winnings is probably more valid than that of the initial "winner."

Of course, I am not a lawyer and all I did was waste about an hour reading a bunch of web sites, so my findings are worth less than a losing lottery ticket. But it does go to show that "common sense" has little to do with legal precident.


Me! or Finders Keepers. Though if they wanted to settle and give me a small bit I'd be happy.


@morriea: Morriea's got it right.

But to add to that, the person who found it in the trash would have no right to it even if the person who threw it in there hadn't bothered to get it scaned.

Anything in the trash can belongs to the store until it "hits the curb" or in this case, the dumpster outside the store. A person or business retains ownership of their trash until they place it for collection.


That's appalling. The judge is out of his gourd!!! But this story smells of BS (at least the cliff note does).

Questions: Why was it registered as a loser then found to be a winner? How did the original purchaser find out about the person who picked it out of the trash? Did they come in roughly the same time? If they did come in at the same time the second person might've seen it tossed and had the wits to keep the fact that it was a winner to him or herself...

I dunno... sounds fishy.


If I was the one who found it in the trash, I definitely would have held on to it long enough so that the original lady would have forgotten the incident and would not have told anyone that I had found the ticket. Unless there was some electronic way that they discovered the original owner- does anyone know?


This whole thing is screwy. Let this be a lesson. If you win the lottery, hire a tax lawyer and don't tell anybody. People are greedy and will do anything to take that money from you.


We can cross the store off the list. First they as the agent selling the ticket can't sell a winning ticket to their own store or owner/leaser of the lottery equipment. To think otherwise would give great incentive for the agent to use fraud on all winning tickets brought into them.

So it comes down to two parties. The person who found the ticket has full claim of that ticket - period. "ALL" governments that I am aware of (mine included) has laws that state once a person disposes of anything into a legal and proper refuse container they give up all ownership to that item. It is why the police can look through your trash legally without a warrant.

But the purchaser still has a valid tort claim with either the store or the lottery system itself as they were told it was not a winner after it was scanned. If we had no guarantee on the scans then it would be worthless and a disclaimer would have to be given out.


I agree with @morriea. I was thinking the exact same thing as I read the OP. The lottery agent told the person that the ticket was not a winner.

What prevents them from telling anyone the ticket is not a winner, having a friend come in and claim the ticket, then sharing the reward later.

Sounds like a scam to me!