A judge has frozen half of a $1.2-million Chase the Ace jackpot at the centre of a lawsuit between a Nova Scotia woman and her nephew.
Barbara Reddick sued her nephew Tyrone MacInnis after the grand prize of a charity fundraiser in rural Cape Breton was divided between the two, leaving them each with $611,319.50.
Ms. Reddick has said she put Mr. MacInnis’s name on the ticket for good luck and agreed to split the money if they won the consolation prize – but not the jackpot.
She sued Mr. MacInnis in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Port Hawkesbury.
Lawyers for both parties said that Justice Patrick Murray granted a preservation order on Monday, freezing Mr. MacInnis’s winnings until the case is resolved.
Ms. Reddick’s lawyer, Adam Rodgers, said the two sides have agreed to a Sept. 17 settlement conference.
Candee McCarthy, who represents Mr. MacInnis, said she had expected the preservation order to be granted.
“The test for the preservation order was a very low one for Ms. Reddick to meet – whether there was a triable issue, that the claim isn’t on its face frivolous or vexatious. So it wasn’t a surprising outcome,” said Ms. McCarthy in an email.
The controversy over the lottery in Margaree Forks, N.S., gained widespread attention after a celebratory photo op ended with Ms. Reddick telling her 19-year-old nephew she intended to take him to court. The scene was caught on video and quickly went viral.
Mr. Rodgers has said the tickets were purchased with his client’s money and there was no contract or agreement of any kind to share the proceeds – even though both of their names were on the winning ticket.
“She agreed to have his name on the ticket for good luck,” Mr. Rodgers said in July. “That’s obviously been a point of contention for some people but that in itself doesn’t create a contract.”
Mr. Rodgers said while his client has managed to “buffer” herself from the public attention, she is bothered by the breakdown in her relationship with her nephew.
“This is a very special person in her life,” he said. “She hopes they can somehow reconcile that relationship in the future.”
Ms. Reddick did not have children of her own and she has supported her nephew financially and emotionally, Mr. Rodgers said.
Chase the Ace has gained increasing popularity in Atlantic Canada in recent years, with rural areas using the lottery to raise money for everything from local fire departments to legions.