The legal squabbling will continue over a winning $1 million lottery ticket that broke up a 16-year romance.
An appellate court here last week ruled a lawsuit filed by Howard Browning against his former lover can continue, despite Lynn Anne Poirier’s claim they never had an agreement to split the winnings.
Poirier bought the winning ticket, for a $1 million Florida Lottery raffle game, but used $20 that Browning claims he gave her.
The couple began living together in 1991 and, Browning claims, entered into an oral agreement two years later to split any lottery proceeds either of them may win.
But, after Poirier bought a July 4, 2007 lottery ticket that won $1 million, she refused to share the prize and eventually had Browning kicked out of the Geneva home they shared, according to the court’s opinion.
Browning filed suit for, among other things, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.
But Poirier countered that no oral agreement ever existed and, even if one did, it was barred from being enforced because oral agreements covering more than one year are unenforceable under a legal doctrine called the “statute of frauds.”
A trial court agreed and dismissed the lawsuit, but last week the Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled the suit can go forward.
Noting that Browning claims the oral agreement was in force as long as they were involved in a romantic relationship, the court ruled “contracts for an indefinite period generally do not fall within the statute of frauds.”
The case was sent back to Seminole County Circuit Court so that a jury can decide whether the oral agreement existed and was enforceable.