Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stranger than Fiction, Volume II

Here's a fun little case that was released earlier this year, about a fellow suing OLG because he didn't win enough:  Tal v. Ontario Lottery Corporation.

Now, to be clear, this is not the class-action suit that was attempted on behalf of problem gamblers alleging a failure to take appropriate measures to exclude them from casinos.  That issue is not one to be treated with levity.  The Tal case, on the other hand...well, it could be argued that it wasn't treated with enough levity.

In a nutshell, here's what happened:  Mr. Tal bought a ticket for Lotto 6/49, and matched four of six numbers.  This case was about how much that entitled him to.

Smaller winners have prizes in fixed amounts:  People who match 2/6 + Bonus would get $5.  3/6 got $10.  However, beyond that, prizes were defined with reference to the total prize pool.  They create a "Pools Fund", and 9% of it is allocated to 4/6 winners, to be divided up amongst all the people who matched 4/6.

In the particular draw that Mr. Tal matched 4/6, 9% of the prize pool was just over 1.3 million dollars.  Not bad, but the trouble is that there were more than 20,000 tickets that matched 4/6, with whom Mr. Tal had to share the 1.3 million, with the result that he was paid $66.90.

Mr. Tal, unhappy with his winnings, argued that he shouldn't have to share, but should get the entire 9% of the Pools Fund.

And yes, he actually sued OLG, taking that position.  OLG brought a motion for summary judgment, and the result decision by Justice Stinson, linked above, is perhaps the longest and detailed way of saying "That's absurd" that I've ever seen.

Other Cases Involving the Same Plaintiff

Mr. Tal, not surprisingly, was self-represented in this proceeding.  Figuring that this couldn't have been his first introduction to the Courts, I checked my legal databases for decisions involving him.  And found quite a lot.  The only other one on CanLII is Tal v. Koor, relating to Mr. Tal fighting against the setting aside of a default judgment.  Said Justice Campbell:
 Mr. Tal remains of the view that he is entitled to utilize to his advantage those specifics of the Rules of Civil Procedure that he chooses, without regard to the other obligations on a party mandated by the Rules.
 It is indeed unfortunate that some self-represented litigants think that by reading the Rules of Civil Procedure, they can achieve a result that ignores the overall purpose of the Rules as set out in Rule 1.04, and the discretion that will likely be exercised by judges and masters to achieve that end.
In another database, I found another case, in fact more recent than the OLG case (though one week before the Court hit him with a costs order in excess of $17,000 in the OLG case), in which he tried to sue the OMB for denying him standing to participate in a hearing.  Also summarily dismissed.

Then there's last year's decision in Tal v. Usher (appears related to the Koor case), relating to an eviction of Mr. Tal in 2007.  His action was dismissed as frivolous and vexatious.

Indeed, there is case law online about this same individual going back to 1983 (Re Silver Elms Holdings, relating to a corporation owned by Mr. Tal), in which the Court notes the following:
Although a stranger to the action in the strict sense of the term, Tal was at all material times the president, the sole director and the governing mind of Silver Elm and he had, from the vantage point of the practical immunity of an insolvent company from the discipline of costs, made a practice of defending actions where he had no real defence, of launching appeals and, as illustrated in this hearing, of greatly lengthening trials without ultimately producing a case with any merit.

This blog is not intended to and does not provide legal advice to any person in respect of any particular legal issue, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship with any readers, but rather provides general legal information. If you have a legal issue or possible legal issue, contact a lawyer.

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