COA reverses judgment on contract-rescission claim against lottery

Back to TopE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals will allow lottery scratch-off game players’ claim of contract rescission against the state’s lottery commission to proceed to trial, but the court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the commission on the other claims filed by the players in a class-action suit.

In Jeff Koehlinger, et al. v. State Lottery Commission of Indiana, No. 49A02-1003-CT-247, Jeff Koehlinger and other plaintiffs sued the State Lottery Commission of Indiana for contract rescission, false advertisement, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, restitution, and money had and received. They sued because of misrepresentations on the lottery’s website regarding the odds of winning when purchasing “Cash Blast” tickets. More than 2.5 million tickets had to be replaced before they went on sale because of a manufacturing defect; this caused the lottery’s computer system to overstate the number of unclaimed prizes on the website. After 14 months, lottery officials noticed the error and adjusted for the actual number of unclaimed prizes, which resulted in a 1,260 percent decrease in the number of unclaimed prizes.

Players were upset and wanted the lottery commission to make it right, although the commission never informed players how to initiate an administrative process nor provided information about it.

The trial court denied the class’s motion for summary judgment and granted summary judgment for the commission.

The appellate judges affirmed summary judgment in favor of the lottery commission that it has immunity under the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, and on the quasi-contractual claims for unjust enrichment, money had and received, and restitution. They also affirmed not granting summary judgment for the commission on the basis that the class had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies.

The majority affirmed summary judgment on the negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims. Judge Patricia Riley dissented on this issue because the designated evidence supported a genuine issue of material fact. The commission had a duty to exercise reasonable care not to misinform its customers about the remaining prizes in the Cash Blast game, she wrote. It breached that duty when it didn’t accurately represent those numbers and it even admitted it was a mistake not to catch this reporting for 14 months.

Judge Riley also concurred in result with her colleagues on reversing summary judgment for the lottery commission on the contract-rescission claim and remanding for trial. Some class members had designated evidence that establishes they relied on the misinformation on the lottery’s website when deciding to buy the tickets. The majority also concluded it was reasonable to infer that many of those players suffered prejudice as a result of detrimental reliance.

“If a player can prove to the trial court that he or she relied on the Lottery’s misinformation to his or her detriment, that player will be entitled to rescission,” wrote Judge Cale Bradford.


Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  3. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  4. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  5. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well