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COA reverses judgment on contract-rescission claim against lottery

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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.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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