Judge Jim Jordan, trial judge of the 160th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas, ruled yesterday that GTECH Corporation enjoys “derivative immunity” and cannot be sued even if it commits fraud. The lawsuit styled Nettles v. GTECH Corporation and the Texas Lottery Commission was filed by consumer advocate Dawn Nettles. Ms. Nettles, is the editor of www.lottoreport.com which is followed by tens of thousands of lottery players on a daily basis. Ms. Nettles alleged that the Texas Lottery Commission sold misleading and deceptive scratch-off tickets for a game known as the Fun 5’s game. GTECH Corporation, the private operator of the Texas Lottery, produced the Fun 5’s game and sold it to the Texas lottery and to four other lotteries in both this country and in Australia.
Judge Jordan earlier ruled that the Texas Lottery Commission cannot be sued for fraud under the doctrine of “sovereign immunity”. A copy of the legal briefs on that issue and the court’s Order granting the TLC’s Plea to the Jurisdiction can be read >>here<<.
In his most recent Order Granting GTECH’s 1st Plea to the Jurisdiction, Judge Jordan dismissed Ms. Nettles’ fraud claims against GTECH based on the legal doctrine of “derivative immunity”. A copy of the legal briefs on that issue can be read >>here<<.
Richard LaGarde, one of the attorneys for Ms. Nettles, stated “We are disappointed in the court’s ruling and respectfully disagree with it. We plan to appeal and we hope to convince the court of appeals that lottery players should not be left without any legal remedy whatsoever if the lottery and its private operator decide to sell misleading and deceptive tickets to Texas citizens.”
The court’s ruling on Ms. Nettles’ case is not binding on the Austin trial court where approximately 1,000 lottery players have filed a similar Fun 5’s lawsuit against GTECH.