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Massihzadeh v. Seaver

Court of Appeals of Colorado, First Division

June 20, 2019

Amir Massihzadeh, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Tom Seaver, in his official capacity as the Colorado Lottery Director, and Colorado State Lottery Division, an agency of the State of Colorado, Defendants-Appellees.

         

          City and County of Denver District Court No. 17CV33699. Honorable Brian R. Whitney, Judge.

         COUNSEL:

          Recht Kornfeld, P.C., Thomas M. Rogers III, Denver, Colorado; Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP, Hermine Kallman, Denver, Colorado; The Law Offices of Robert R. Duncan, LLC, Robert R. Duncan, Denver, Colorado, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

          Philip J. Weiser, Attorney General, Robert H. Dodd, First Assistant Attorney General, Cynthia P. Delaney, Assistant Attorney General, Robert Padjen, Assistant Attorney General, Denver, Colorado, for Defendants-Appellees.

          Judges: Opinion by JUDGE TAUBMAN. Berger and Tow, JJ., concur.

         OPINION

          TAUBMAN, JUDGE

Page 740

          [¶ 1] What transpires when a person, who was one of three lottery winners, turns out to be the only true lottery winner following the discovery of fraud that invalidated the other two tickets? Is the innocent winner entitled to the full jackpot?

          [¶ 2] Plaintiff, Amir Massihzadeh, seeks to resolve this question in appealing the district court's judgment granting the motion to dismiss of defendants, the Colorado State Lottery Division (the Division) and Tom Seaver, in his official capacity as Colorado Lottery Director.[1] We agree with the district court that Massihzadeh's claims are barred by statute.

          I. Background

          [¶ 3] Massihzadeh held one of three lottery tickets containing the combination of numbers matching those drawn in the November 23, 2005 Lotto for a $4.8 million jackpot. After the Division director certified the results and all three tickets became " winning tickets," the Division distributed one-third of the jackpot to each winning ticket holder.

          [¶ 4] Tommy Tipton transferred the second winning ticket to another individual, and a third party, Cuestion de Suerte, LLC, redeemed the third winning ticket. Thus, Massihzadeh, the other individual, and Cuestion de Suerte each received a lump sum of $568,990 — one-third of the jackpot prize after taxes. This was the reduced amount based on the winners' elections to receive a lump sum payout rather than installments paid over the course of several years.

          [¶ 5] According to the 2005 Lottery Division Rules, the Division was required to hold a random drawing of six numbers, certify the drawing and announce the winning combination, and pay the prize. Lottery Rules 10.A.4, 10.A.5, 1 Code Colo.Regs. 206-1 (effective until Dec. 31, 2006). The Division held what it believed was a random ...


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