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1 million lotto ticket trashed: Men sue for winnings due to error

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A 1 million dollar lotto ticket was tossed in the trash, and the men are now suing the New Jersey Lottery Commission for the winnings. The two men from New York bought a batch of tickets for the lottery drawings, and they checked the winning numbers soon after the 11 p.m. drawing was held on March 23, 2013. They didn't see their numbers listed, so the ticket was thrown away. The Huffington Post reported on this story on June 26.

Salvatore Cambria and Erik Onyango are the men at the center of this story. Back in March 2013, Onyango bought three tickets at a 7-11 in Mahwah. He kept two for himself, and he gave the third ticket to Cambria. This was something the men did regularly. Cambria held the winning ticket. Onyango, a man from Kenya, looked up the numbers after the drawing. He said the following, according to Bloomberg:

"I gave him the numbers that were on my iPhone, only to realize later those were the numbers for the last drawing."

Since he was reading off the numbers from his phone, he did not notice that the date listed on the site was for the previous day. His friend then tossed the ticket thinking they had lost, but Onyango held onto his two tickets. The tickets he held were labeled with ticket numbers for before and after the winning ticket. The winner would have been sandwiched in between, and this is what the men are basing their lawsuit on. The lawsuit against the New Jersey Lottery Commission and Governor Chris Christie.

The men did not hold the big winning ticket for that day, but they had five of the six numbers. The only number they missed was the Powerball. This combination has a million dollar payout, and that is what they are suing for. After they found out that they did have the winning ticket and tossed it, they did try to find it. They went to the garbage dump, but the ticket was on a truck headed to Canada by that point. Cambria admitted to punching a hole in the wall when he learned of the loss, according to the New York Post.

The men did go to New Jersey Lottery Commission with their story and the two other tickets, but they were not helped. They claim that the website was not updated with the right numbers in a timely manner. Eric Logan is their attorney, and he has spoken out about this case of bad luck. He said the following:

"They threw in together for a few bucks on the tickets, like people do. There’s no blood or gore or sexiness -- they just lost a million-dollar lottery ticket. It’s a human tragedy."

The lawyer did reveal that the two men traced their winning ticket to a landfill located in Ontario, Canada. The men even thought of hiring a bloodhound to find their missing ticket, but they have gone forward with the lawsuit instead. Neither the New Jersey Lottery Commission or Governor Christie's office have made a statement about this lawsuit.

What do you think? Do the men deserve the money they would have won if they kept the winning ticket? Or is this lawsuit unfair?



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