Attorneys for over 1,000 Texas lottery players filed a waiver of response letter with the Texas Supreme Court this week. The lawsuit was brought by the lottery players against GTECH (now doing business as IGT). GTECH is the contract operator of the Texas Lottery. The players allege that GTECH knowingly made false and misleading representations on scratch-off tickets in a lottery game known as the Fun 5’s.
GTECH asked the trial court to dismiss the lawsuit because it claims to have “derivative governmental immunity” from suit. In essence, GTECH claims it was only doing what the Texas Lottery Commission wanted it to do and can’t be sued because of its actions. The trial court rejected GTECH’s argument.
GTECH appealed that ruling to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Austin. In a lengthy and scholarly opinion, Justices Bob Pemberton, David Puryear, and Scott Field held that GTECH is not entitled to derivative governmental immunity as to the lottery players’ claim that GTECH committed common law fraud.
GTECH filed a Petition for Review in which it asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the Austin court’s decision. Attorneys for the lottery players filed a Waiver Letter with the Court this week in which they declared that the players are waiving their right to file a response to GTECH’s Petition. The attorneys decided to waive the response for two reasons. First, a waiver of response gets the case in front of the Supreme Court more quickly. If the court is inclined to agree with the Austin Court’s opinion, the waiver may bring about a remand of the case to the trial court more quickly. Second, if even one member of the Supreme Court wants to see a response from the lottery players, the Court will ask for a response. In other words, nothing is lost by filing a waiver. It is possible that the waiver letter may shorten the time it takes to get a response from the Court.
Nobody can predict how long it will take to get a ruling from the Supreme Court. It could happen quickly or, if the Court is busy with other matters, it may take months. As always, we need to be patient and wait to hear from the Justices on the Supreme Court. If they rule in favor of the players, the case will be remanded to the trial court where the attorneys for the players will ask the Court for a trial setting.