A group of Surrey factory workers is suing a co-worker over a $1 million Lotto Max Maxmillion lottery prize they say the defendant must share among them but has not.
The plaintiffs, represented by Henderson and Lee Law Corporation, claim their fellow employee has repeatedly refused to provide them with their “equal shares” of $200,000 each, to a total of $800,000, and are seeking a judgment in that amount as well as aggravated and punitive damages and a garnishing order against the defendants.
Plaintiffs Ding Jiu Du, Haret Dagane, Elwood Prado and Tounkham Homsombath filed their notice of claim on Feb. 15 in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. The defendants Hung Sengsouvanh and John Doe have not yet filed a response and a court date has not yet been set for the untried, unproven claims against them to be heard.
The Now-Leader could not reach Sengsouvanh for comment.
“The Defendant, John Doe, is a party or parties, that the Plaintiffs believe has received monies from the Defendant Hung for the purpose of evading payment of the same to the Plaintiffs,” reads the notice of claim.
The plaintiffs claim Sengsouvanh told them he transferred some of the $1 million to friends or family and allege this was part of a “conspiracy” to deprive them of their share. They also allege Sengsouvanh told them he would use funds from the $1 million prize to pay towards, or pay off, the RBC mortage on his property, buy a new car, and “later learned” he planned to quit his job and travel to Laos.
The notice of claim says the plaintiffs and defendant work at a lighting factory in Surrey owned by Signify Lighting Ltd., where Sengsouvanh, a Fleetwood resident, is the lead hand of the plaintiffs’ team. Some of the plaintiffs have been friends with the defendant for many years, and some are his neighbours.
According to the lawsuit, the workers were contributing cash on Dec. 12, 2018 for a Christmas potluck party, with the organizers asking that each contribute $15. Some had only $20 or $10 bills, which made it difficult to provide the $5 in change to those employees who paid $20.
So one of the plaintiffs proposed that Sengsouvanh and the plaintiffs would each take the $5 of leftover change to buy a $25 ticket for the Dec. 14 jackpot, the court document says, with Sengsouvanh suggesting they pitch in an extra $1 to buy a Extra ticket for a total $26, and he threw in a loonie.
The lawsuit claims Sengsouvanh volunteered to buy the ticket after work and that they verbally agreed that any winnings would be divided equally among the contributors.
“Some of the Plaintiffs had been friends with the Defendant Hung for many years, and all of them had a good relationship at work and trusted him and respected him as their Lead Hand,” the notice of claim states. “It was based on that trust that the Plaintiffs believed that they did not have to put the Contract into writing.”
The lottery was drawn Dec. 14 and the plaintiffs didn’t hear from the defendant on the weekend of the 15th and 16th, nor did he show for work on Monday, Dec. 17, the lawsuit states. The plaintiffs claim they learned through social media that Sengsouvanh won one of the $1 million Maxmillion prizes “using the ticket purchased with the money provided by the Plaintiffs,” but the defendant didn’t win the Extra with the additional loonie he pitched in.
The plaintiffs argue that Sengsouvanh was entrusted with their money to buy the lottery ticket and share any winnings with them equally.
“The Plaintiffs were peculiarly vulnerable to the Defendant Hung because he had sole physical possession of their money to purchase the ticket and subsequently sole physical possession of the BC Lotto Max ticket he purchased,” the lawsuit claims. “Furthermore, as a lead hand the Defendant Hung had a degree of authority and control over the Plaintiffs. He owed the Plaintiffs a fiduciary duty.”
It also alleges Sengsouvanhhas been “unjustly enriched with $800,000.00 of the $1 million prize, to the deprivation of the Plaintiffs,” and that they hold a “constructive trust” in any assets the defendant has acquired using this money.