Woman sued by stepson over €3.3m lotto win wants to sue former Lottery operator for negligence

A woman who was taken to court by her step son for a share in a 2011 €3.3m Lotto win wants to sue the former operator of the National Lottery for alleged negligence.
Woman sued by stepson over €3.3m lotto win wants to sue former Lottery operator for negligence
File image of Mary Walsh

A woman who was taken to court by her step son for a share in a 2011 €3.3m Lotto win wants to sue the former operator of the National Lottery for alleged negligence.

Mary Walsh ultimately settled proceedings brought against her by her step son David Walsh.

Shes claims that she was given negligent advice following the win by the then operators of the Lotto, An Post National Lottery Company, which went into voluntary liquidation in 2014.

In her action she alleges that she was given certain advice by a representative of the National Lottery when she went to collect what she claims were her winnings in 2011.

She claims the advice, where she was told that if she wished to make gifts to anyone those persons should sign the winning ticket if those gifts were to be exempted from taxation.

As a result she claims that she and five others, including David Walsh signed the winning ticket.

That resulted in the proceedings being brought against her by Mr Walsh, and the court also heard that she is the subject of separate but related proceedings from another signatory of the winning ticket Mr Kevin Black, who is her late husband's nephew.

In her proposed action she claims that certain advice given by the operator was negligent, as she alleges the full implications of that advice were never explained to her, and wishes to bring a claim for damages against An Post National Lottery Company.

The company went into liquidation after another entity was awarded the licence to operate the National Lottery.

Represented by John Shortt SC appearing with Martin Durack Bl, Mrs Walsh seeks permission from the High Court to sue the former operator, which she requires because that firm is in liquidation.

The application, which was before Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington, is opposed.

Represented by Garret Byrne Bl the company argues that the application for permission to sue the company should have been brought when the proceedings were initiated in 2016.

Mrs Walsh cannot retrospectively seek to bring her claim against the company, counsel said.

Counsel also said that in light of the High Court judgement, which went against Mrs Walsh and was highly critical of her, she cannot seek to bring her claim against the company.

It was also submitted that leave should not be granted, in what counsel said is a highly unusual case, as it is bound to fail.

In reply Mr Shortt said that his client, who changed solicitors from the time the claim against the Lottery operator was first lodged, should be allowed bring her claim.

Following the conclusion of submissions from both sides the Judge reserved her decision, and said she hopes to give her decision as soon as possible.

In 20117 Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled that Mrs Walsh had to pay David Walsh €560,000 plus his legal costs after finding her stepson was a part owner of and entitled to a one-sixth share of a winning ticket purchased in Ballinasloe, Co Galway in January 2011.

Mrs Walsh appealed that decision to the Court of Appeal.

In 2018 the CoA was informed that the action was “resolved entirely”. As part of the settlement, her appeal was allowed.

Mr Walsh, of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe, had sued Mrs Walsh, of Monksland, Athlone Co Roscommon arguing he was entitled to his share, approximately €560,000, of the win on the grounds his signature was among six written on the back of the winning ticket.

He claimed his late father had told him, shortly after the win, that he would be looked after and would not have to worry about money again.

He claimed he did not get his share.

Mrs Walsh, who was married to David’s father, Peter Walsh, who died in December 2011, denied this and had argued that the winning ticket was hers.

She claimed that David Walsh was offered and accepted her and her late husband’s house in lieu of €200,000 from the win.

David Walsh denied that.

Following a seven-day hearing in 2017, Mr Justice Humphreys rejected Mrs Walsh's arguments and found in favour of David Walsh.

He said Mrs Walsh’s evidence was inconsistent, “not credible”, contained “self-contradiction” and was “unreliable”.

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