POLITICS

Dispute over $12.6 M lottery ticket will head to full trial, judge rules

06/05/2012 02:36 EDT | Updated 08/05/2012 05:12 EDT
VANCOUVER - A woman's claim for half of a $12.6 million lottery jackpot will go to a full trial, a B.C. Supreme Court judge has ruled.

The Lotto 6/49 ticket was purchased at a Surrey, B.C., market in November 2008 by Maria Fehr, allegedly using a $20 bill given to her by her husband.

But Fehr's business partner at the time, Maria Ganguin, claims the ticket was purchased using funds from their catering business and should be shared between them.

The court heard the two women had an agreement that business funds could be used occasionally to purchase lottery tickets and they would split the winnings.

Ganguin initially conceded the lottery ticket was not purchased with business funds, even signing a waiver in 2008 confirming so at the request of the B.C. Lottery Corporation.

Two years later, Ganguin sued for an equal share over suspicions that Fehr had bought the ticket using money from their coffee truck cash box.

Ganguin's suspicions were based on the fact that Fehr made the purchase while on her coffee truck route.

Fehr and her husband applied for a summary trial, which would resolve the matter quickly based primarily on sworn statements.

In his ruling made last week, Justice Trevor Armstrong noted there was no independent evidence for either claim, but there were small inconsistencies in Fehr's statements.

"Although Ms. Ganguin may have a steep uphill struggle to shake Ms. Fehr’s credibility ... it is my view it would be unjust to deprive Ms. Ganguin of a full trial," said Armstrong.

Armstrong decided that the substantial amount of winnings involved and the relative simplicity of the matter justified settling the dispute with full witness testimony and cross-examination.