A man who won a record-breaking $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot earlier this year has taken legal action against the mother of his child, accusing her of revealing his lottery win to his family members. The lawsuit, filed on November 14th in U.S. District Court in Maine, claims that the man’s ex-girlfriend violated their agreement to keep the win confidential, resulting in emotional distress and harassment from his relatives. The lawsuit seeks damages for breach of contract and invasion of privacy.
The Maine resident, who won the Mega Millions lottery in January 2023, received a lump sum payment of $723.56 million, amounting to just over $404 million after taxes. To maintain his anonymity, he had a lottery trust claim the prize on his behalf.
John Doe, the lottery winner, filed the lawsuit against Sara Smith, seeking compensation for her disclosure of his win, which potentially endangered his public identity and safety. According to the lawsuit, Smith signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) on February 8th, agreeing to keep the jackpot secret until their daughter reaches 18 years old in 2032. In return, the winner promised to provide support and ongoing security resources. The NDA aimed to prevent any harm resulting from revealing the winner’s identity, location, assets, and their daughter’s identity to the media or the public.
The documents state that if someone breaches the NDA, the jackpot winner has the right to pursue legal compensation without having to prove actual damages. This could include monetary damages, as well as attorney fees and other expenses incurred due to the breach.
Despite being contractually obligated, the woman failed to inform the winner about breaching the NDA. She disclosed the win to the man’s father and stepmother over the phone, and the winner’s sister later found out through hearsay.
The lawsuit demands that Smith disclose every person she informed about the win and pay a fine of $100,000 for each violation of the NDA, in addition to attorney fees and court costs.
In a related story, a Powerball winner from Michigan, Cristy Davis, is advocating for lottery winners to have the option to remain anonymous. Davis had her identity used without her consent after winning a $70 million Powerball jackpot. She believes that winning the lottery can have unintended consequences, such as being forced to leave a long-time home, change names or phone numbers, and alter one’s way of life. Davis urges for the passage of a law that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, as she believes the lottery does not realize the impact it has on people’s lives.
Lottery tickets can be purchased in-person at gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, and some airport terminals. In certain U.S. states, tickets can also be ordered online through Jackpocket, the official digital lottery courier of the USA TODAY Network. The Jackpocket app allows users to select their lottery game and numbers, place an order, view their ticket, and collect winnings using their phone or computer.
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