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Winning lottery ticket for Alabama Waffle House waitress led to lawsuit

Edward Seward walked into a Grand Bay Waffle House nearly 20 years ago, sat down and ate breakfast. That was the day he changed the life of the waitress serving him.Get more news about 菲律宾彩票包网服务 ,you can vist loto98.com

As Seward was paying up, he gave a lottery ticket as a tip, something he often did as one of the regulars. Tonda Dickerson, a then divorced woman in her late 20s, was the recipient on that Sunday, March 7, 1999. The next draw wasn’t until the following Saturday.Dickerson won $10 million in the Florida Lottery. Court documents filed in Mobile County show that she elected to take $375,000 over 30 years rather than the lump sum, a move generally regarded as wise among financial planners and other economics experts. Dickerson would never have to work again. Or so she thought.

She quickly found herself embroiled in multiple legal battles with friends, colleagues, the Internal Revenue Service, and even Seward -- the man that gave her the ticket as a tip.

As a person in South Carolina eagerly awaits their significant chunk of the $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot, before local, state and federal taxes are subtracted, a simple Google of past lottery winners will present you with dozens of examples of how such a life changing win can quickly turn your life upside down.

The man from Georgia that invested his $3 million winnings in a meth ring. Urooj Khan was poisoned a day after winning in $1 million in July 2012. Michigan winner Amanda Clayton was found dead from a drug overdose less than a year after winning $735,000. In March 2012, a New Jersey jury unanimously decided that Americo Lopes had cheated his coworkers out of their share of a $38.5 Mega Millions jackpot lottery pool. Lopes claimed he had won the jackpot on a personal ticket but the panel rejected that theory. The jackpot was ultimately distributed among the five men who were in the lottery pool with Lopes.

And then of course there’s the story of a Larry Payne, the East Alabama man who forgot about a lottery ticket in his truck. With just a few weeks before the ticket was due to expire, Payne lent the truck to his nephew. The nephew found the ticket and told his uncle. They thought it was only worth $600. Excited by the find, Payne’s nephew told his boss. It later transpired the ticket was worth $1 million. The boss claimed that Payne’s nephew had stolen the ticket off her desk. The case went to court and Payne was awarded the winnings. However, the case was appealed by the loser in the case. It has yet to be decided on.

While Dickerson’s story doesn’t involve the same level of tragedy as many other lottery winners, it has plenty of the same drama. Efforts to reach Dickerson were not immediately successful.The biggest problem she faced in claiming her money was her fellow colleagues. In court filings from the time, those colleagues claimed that any winnings from lottery tickets given by customers as tips would be shared equally. But since it was a tip, Dickerson believed it belonged to her.

During a Mobile Circuit Court case in April 1999, a jury took 45 minutes to decide against Dickerson, who denied that she had agreed to split any winnings. Her lawyer described the co-workers as “rats coming out of the woodwork.”

The four co-workers had also received lottery tickets as tips and testified that they and Dickerson had a plan to share the winnings. A couple who regularly dined at the Waffle House in Grand Bay testified that Dickerson told them of the deal. Dickerson, who had turned down a settlement offer that would have given her $3 million of the Florida jackpot, left court without comment, according to past Press-Register reporting.

Dickerson appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, which reversed the Circuit Court on Feb. 18, 2000, ruling that any agreement with the Waffle House waitresses was unenforceable under Alabama law because it ''was founded on gambling consideration.'' And of course, that type of gambling is illegal here

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