Tonda Dickerson v. Sandra Deno et al. Ex parte Tonda Dickerson (Re: Sandra Deno et al.
v. Tonda Dickerson et al.)
SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA
770 So. 2d 63; 2000 Ala. LEXIS 55
February 18, 2000,
The parties to these proceedings dispute whether the holder of a winning Florida lottery
ticket must share the winnings with others because of an alleged prior oral [*64]
agreement they all had made to share the winnings if any one of them was a winner. The
trial court held that the one had to share the winnings with the others.
Assuming, arguendo, that the proof was sufficient to establish an oral
agreement, [**2] was the agreement unenforceable on the basis that it was a contract
made in Alabama and was "founded … on a gambling consideration," as that term is used
Ala. Code 1975, § 8-1-150
We conclude that the agreement constituted a contract "founded … on a gambling
consideration" and, therefore, that it was unenforceable; consequently, we reverse the
judgment of the trial court and render a judgment for the defendant Tonda Dickerson.
The facts are basically undisputed. The plaintiffs--Sandra Deno, Angie Tisdale, Matthew
Adams, and Jackie Fairley--and the defendant Tonda Dickerson were all employees at the
Waffle House restaurant in Grand Bay, Alabama. Edward Seward, who is not a party to
this action, was a regular customer of the Waffle House. On several occasions Seward
would travel to Florida and purchase lottery tickets and upon his return would give the
tickets to various friends and family members, including the employees of the Waffle
House. Seward did not expect to share any potential lottery winnings based on the tickets
he gave away, but he claimed that he was promised a new truck by the employees of the
Waffle House if one of the tickets he distributed there was [**3] a winning ticket.
Several employees of the Waffle House received lottery tickets from Seward during the
several weeks that he gave out the tickets.
A drawing for the Florida lottery was scheduled for Saturday night, March 6, 1999.
During the week before that drawing, Seward traveled to Florida and purchased several
lottery tickets. He placed each individual ticket in a separate envelope and wrote the
name of the intended recipient on the outside of the envelope. On March 6, 1999, before