CHATSWORTH (CBSLA.com) — A man has filed a lawsuit claiming he purchased the winning ticket for a $63 million SuperLotto Plus jackpot, but that his claim was rejected by lottery officials because his ticket was "too damaged."
Brandy Milliner is asking that a judge declare him the winner of the prize, according to the lawsuit (PDF) filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit names the California State Lottery Commission and the state of California as defendants.
California Lottery officials, who said they were not aware of the lawsuit Wednesday, began publicly searching for the winner of the prize in early January, saying that surveillance video from the store where the ticket was sold was unreliable.
According to the lawsuit, Milliner presented the winning ticket to California Lottery officials within the claim period and that they issued a form, which stated, in part,"Congratulations on your winnings. You will get your check in the mail 6 to 8 weeks from the State Controller's Office." The form further instructed the recipient on how to proceed if he did not receive the winnings.
The original, winning ticket remained in the possession of California Lottery officials, who gave a photocopy of the ticket to Milliner, according to the lawsuit.
A California lottery official disputed that a letter of congratulations is sent to lottery winners.
"[There] wouldn't be a letter congratulating on him on his win," Alex Traverso, of the California Lottery, said. "The lottery doesn't issue congratulatory letters. We issue checks."
Last month, Milliner said he was notified that the ticket was too damaged to be reconstructed and that the agency was unable to process his claim, citing the California Lottery Act, which states in part: "No prize may be paid arising from tickets or shares that are stolen, counterfeit, altered, fraudulent, unissued, produced or issued in error, not received or not recorded by the Lottery by applicable deadlines."
Milliner, through his attorney, said he would be willing to discuss his lawsuit with KCAL9's Dave Lopez.
But when Lopez arrived at the agreed-upon address in the Mid-Wilshire district, he was told that Milliner was not interested in talking. There was no name on the office's placard.
The deadline to claim the jackpot is 5 p.m. on Feb. 4. Lottery officials said that ticket was purchased in Chatsworth for the Aug. 8, 2015 drawing and has all of the winning numbers: 46-1-33-30-16 and Mega number 24.
If the winner does not come forward in time, the $63 million prize will be the largest jackpot ever forfeited in the state, according to Lottery officials. The largest jackpot that previously went unclaimed was $28.5 million for a SuperLotto Plus ticket sold in Alameda County in 2003.
If the jackpot goes unclaimed, the money will be directed toward state schools, lottery officials said.
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