A British woman in a Merseyside office lottery syndicate has missed out on her share of a £28 million (more than $42 million) Euromillions win after taking the day off sick and is now seeking court action to get her hands on what she believes is her share of the winnings.
Morning Sickness Kept Her Home
At four months pregnant, mother-to-be Louisa Whitby was refused her share after the sick day was taken due to morning sickness from her pregnancy on the day the lottery funds were collected, which left her unable to chip into the group lottery syndicate.
Whitby’s attorney has now confirmed that legal action is being launched against the ten colleagues who have taken a share of the win after Paula Satchell, a partner from Paul Crowley and Co. Solicitors, criticized the group’s ousting of Whitby.
“It’s extremely unfair,” stated the lawyer who is representing 31-year-old Whitby. “We will be strongly contesting this. Miss Whitby was part of this syndicate and she should have been given her share.”
A Chip on Her Shoulder
It was also added that Whitby, upon return to her work, had offered to chip in her share before the draw had even taken place, but it is now being suggested that members of the group are against the idea of reducing their equal shares of £2.8 million to £2.5 million each.
“I’ve paid into that syndicate every week for the past two years, but last week I was off work with morning sickness,” explained Whitby. “When I came back in this week, I said I still wanted to pay in, but they said I should just buy some lucky dips with the money instead.”
“I think Miss Whitby has a good case,” added a legal representative. “Her fellow syndicate members should reconsider.”
The other ten members of the syndicate are reported to have quickly resigned their positions at recruitment firm A4E’s Moorgate Point office in Kirkby after news of the jackpot win broke. The company was apparently forced to draft in emergency temporary cover staff just to handle the mass resignations.
“It seems very mean. But it seems there’s still hope,” stated Louisa Whitby’s father, Derek Whitby, when talking about the situation. “Louisa’s a strong girl, but she was very upset about this.”
Anyone with an inkling for goods odds would probably not bet on Whitby winning the case, as it could be as cut and dry as “if you don’t pay, you don’t win,” as solicitor Rex Makin suggests.
“Personally, I don’t think she’d have a chance,” he stated. “She’s not a shareholder in the group that won.”
But regardless of whether or not the courts will rule on the side of Whitby, if her claims to have paid into the syndicate for years are true, and it is in fact morning sickness that caused her to miss out on a share of the winnings, then moral code would certainly dictate giving the poor woman a break and letting her in.
“That money will never buy them happiness. I considered them my friends, but I can never speak to them again,” said the unfortunate Whitby.