A lawsuit over a lottery ticket is heating up in Marion County because a woman who claims she won a $500,000 prize said the lottery won't give her the money.
The lottery claims the ticket was invalid due to a misprint, but a judge will now give the woman access to lottery documents.
Attorney Larry Walters said he has half a million reasons for fighting the Florida Lottery.
"The state of Florida launches a lottery. They go into this business — revenue-generating. They issue a ticket that says she's a winner, and they don't pay," Walter said.
She is Annemarie Curcio of Ocala. In 2007, her husband bought her a Florida Lottery "Gold Rush" ticket. A few scratches later, the couple won $500,000.
Curcio thought the ticket would lead to a comfortable retirement. Instead, it has lead to five years of heartache.
The lottery refused to hand over a dime, and it has now taken Curcio's lawyers months to force lotto officials to hand over documents related to the case.
"I don't know what they're hiding. But it must be significant for them to have fought for a year in two courts to stop us from reviewing what should be public record," Walters said.
Walters now wants to know how often there are lottery misprints and whether officials have paid any claims. He said a jury trial will settle things.
"The lottery knew they were issuing misprints. And yet continued to allow it to happen. And now they're taking the position if somebody gets a misprint, we don't have to pay. We think that's wrong, and no other business would be able to get away with it," Walters said.
A lottery spokesman could not be reached for comment. Walters expects the case to go to trial in six to eight months.