An appeals court has asked the Florida Supreme Court to help resolve a dispute about whether a man is entitled to part of a $1 million lottery prize won by his former longtime girlfriend.
Howard Browning and Lynn Anne Poirier began living together in 1991 and, according to Browning, entered an oral agreement in 1993 that they would split any lottery winnings.
They were still together in 2007 when Poirier bought a lottery ticket and won a $1 million prize. A key part of the legal dispute centers on the oral agreement.
The 5th District Court of Appeal on Friday upheld part of a Seminole County judge’s ruling in favor of Poirier.
That ruling dealt with a state law that bars lawsuits about agreements that take more than a year to carry out, unless those agreements are in writing.
But the court, which ruled 7-2 on the issue, also asked the Supreme Court to take up the question — a process known as “certifying” a question to the higher court.
The appeals court, however, reversed another part of the circuit judge’s ruling in favor of Poirier and sent it back for further consideration.
That part of the ruling dealt with claims by Browning that he gave Poirier the money for the winning ticket and that they jointly purchased it.