COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF CALIFORNIA LOTTERY IN SCRATCHERS LAWSUIT
The California Lottery announced today its reaction to Judge Ron Robie's decision to deny plaintiff's request for a writ of mandate.
"The court made the correct decision. The California Lottery Commission, not the court, is charged with running the Lottery and correcting Lottery problems. In this case, the Lottery Commission found the problem and corrected it last year," stated chairman of the Lottery Commission, David Rosenberg.
"As stated previously, the Lottery and its Commission operates in full public view and yet neither the plaintiff nor her lawyers have ever come before it to present their issues. Had they done so, we likely could have avoided this litigation altogether and initiated the new procedures designed to address their concerns earlier. We sincerely apologize for the error which was discovered last spring," said Director of the California Lottery, Joan Wilson.
Immediately after learning of the error, the Lottery put into place tough new procedures that ensure there is always a top Scratchers prize available. At no time did the Lottery ever sell tickets that had no chance of winning a prize. As a good faith measure, a special $1 million drawing will take place in late February.
Although Judge Robie ruled against the plaintiff and nothing remains of the law suit against the Lottery, he made it clear that the Lottery Act provision relied upon the plaintiff did not meet the California Supreme Court's definition of mandatory duty. He stated in his decision:
"Here the Lottery's duty to refrain from false and misleading advertising is unquestionably couched in discretionary language. Section 8880.24 provides that the Commission "shall ENSURE that the Lottery complies with both the LETTER AND SPIRIT of the laws governing false and misleading advertising. … Because the Lottery need only "ensure" compliance and since compliance includes the "spirit" of the law, the Lottery can choose just how to satisfy the statutory objective…"
The Lottery has never claimed that it is exempt from false advertising laws, as has been stated in some media reports. As the judge noted, the Lottery has the discretion as to how it will meet the law. The Lottery's position is that if players have a problem they want corrected, including problems with Lottery advertising, then the Lottery Act adopted by voters provides public access to the Lottery Commission and the Director. Suing for damages is not the way to get action, according to the law. The judge agreed with the Lottery in this matter. "Anyone with any question or comment is invited to come to the regular public meetings of the Commission and help make the Lottery's products the best they can be," Rosenberg added.
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